Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols

Going Too FarTitle: Going Too Far
Author: Jennifer Echols
Publication Date: March 17th, 2009
Publisher: Pocket Books
ISBN: 1416571736
Rating: 2 stars

I read Going Too Far with complete ambivalence. I cannot say that there were a plethora of offensive, glaring faults, but I did not enjoy the story, and upon finishing, I neither had the desire to think further on what I had read, nor was I excited to review it. As such, I read this at least a week ago, and have been putting off the review until now. It might be clear by now that romance is not my preferred genre, and I do not always pay close attention to the synopsis when going into a book, especially if it has come highly recommended. This is what happened with Going Too Far – it’s a straight-forward romance, and romances rarely leave me anything other than bored.

The writing in Going Too Far was smooth and enjoyable, and if Jennifer Echols ever writes something in a genre I’m a bit more fond of, I will certainly give it a try. I had no problem with the prose, nor the main characters and their developments – I found both Meg and John to be realistic and believable, although I wasn’t the biggest fan of John. In fact, I thought it was a bit more interesting when it seemed that John was a much older fellow (but, really, how did Meg get him confused with a middle-aged man?) and that there was going to be a dysfunctional, torrid love affair.

The actual direction of the story – a normal ol’ romance in which the main characters must overcome their inner demons – was just a bit too boring and fluffy for my tastes. I thought John was kind of a douchebag, with his constant berating of Meg and his eventual causing her (on purpose!) to have a panic attack. It never seemed as though he actually cared for Meg and appreciated her flaws – but, instead, put her on some sort of pedestal and had affection for an idealized version of her.

You know how there’s this trope in romance where there’s a dysfunctional sort of guy, and the female love interest just “fixes” him by trying to change his personality to make him easier to be involved with? I kind of felt like John was doing that to Meg. And I LIKED Meg, with her casual sex, her dyed hair, her drunken highness, and her desire to live life to the fullest in case it was snatched away from her. She was flawed and interesting! John was just so straight-laced and he frowned upon everything she did; I’m just not convinced that they were actually compatible.

I did wish there was a bit more depth to the minor characters – like Meg’s best friend, Meg’s parents, the EMT guy, and the antagonistic drug-dealing-son-of-a-lawyer. That, perhaps, would have made me a bit fonder of this book, distracting me from the plot that was just not my style. As it was, though, I felt that the minor characters were just shadows, shallow and lacking, with only hints of something more.

Going Too Far’s plot twists weren’t really twists at all, and I saw them both coming. John’s backstory was obvious from the beginning, and I had suspected Meg’s, as well. And as I didn’t really want John and Meg to get together, I wasn’t rooting for them, and there was little suspense. There was nothing I wanted them to overcome, because the entire time, I was just thinking, “Meg, don’t bake the fruit cobbler, John isn’t for you.”

In the end, I’m not sure I would recommend this book to anyone, although I’m sure some would enjoy it. For me, however, it left me bored, and I didn’t appreciate the relationship, which…well, was the book. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t read a non-romance novel of Jennifer Echol’s were she to write one, however.

[UPDATE: I was recently going through Goodreads, and upon finding this book, I COMPLETELY FORGOT I EVER READ IT. That probably says something.]


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