CC's Reviews > Going Too Far

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
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May 06, 12

Read in May, 2012

Echols tackles teen issues such as underage drinking, drug use, illegal hijinks, and promiscuity while affording main Meg a sense of tenderness and humanity. Unlike many similar titles for young adult readers, Going Too Far invests more energy in developing Meg's character with the promise of restoring hope for a brighter future.

Somewhat conflictingly, Meg is presented as possessing a keen awareness of -- even a pathological strategy to -- her behavior, which does lead to a convenient type of resolution that simply doesn't exist in the real world. Having said that, Meg's association with rookie cop John provides readers an all too simple catalyst to alter her behavior. Echols already provides the reader with a character full of wit, intelligence, and some foresight; Meg doesn't need John to affect her change.

John's character develops slowly through a greater sense of "showing" rather than "telling." For this reason, his passages offer a more well-crafted read. Secondaries Tiffany and Eric are okay, but rather ordinary; no new ground is covered as far as the antagonist/princess archetypes are concerned.

Plot pacing sadly loses its ease around the final quarter. As Meg's issues come to a head and things with John turn...different, the characters morph from seemingly-comfortable-in-their-skin to ho-hum. This, perhaps, is related to Meg's changeable personality and desire to fit in with the crowd, and John's desire to appease Meg. Rather than reaching a climax through an old 8-pointer, Echols' characters dawdle around the "critical choice" phase and make bad decision after bad decision. Taking into account the spontaneous natures of teens, this reviewer felt that Meg's indecision about who she really is (for such an extended amount of time) is the main downer of Going Too Far.

Echols' writing style throughout is witty and rather brilliant. Her prose flows smoothly from the first page to the last, and this reviewer commends the author on such a feat. Her diction, although at times geared to befuddle a teen audience (or not), clearly demonstrates her ability to write, and write well. Three and a half stars.
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