Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: May 26th, 2015
Standalone/Series: Book one in the Thunder Road Series
Genre: Contemporary – Young Adult
My rating in stars: 3 stars
My rating in words: It was okay
What it’s about:
Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she’s curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.
Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They’re the good guys. They protect people. They’re…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club’s most respected member—is in town, he’s gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it’s his shot at his dream. What he doesn’t count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.
No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.
“This is your family … If you learn to love us then you will forever have our love in return.”
I think I can define this book as the ultimate guilty pleasure read. I did not love it – in fact I hated it quite a bit at some parts – but I still enjoyed it so much that I raced through it and I really want to read the next novels in the series. I tried to wrap my head around it, but I still can’t get it to make sense. All I can say is that this book had a lot of flaws, but it’s still pretty addictive.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
- The main characters (for the first half of the book)
The story is told in dual-perspective from both Emily and Oz’s point of view. Which I normally appreciate, but this time I did not like either of the characters. They were both incredibly frustrating and infuriating. Oz had a bad attitude and was just a big asshole. And Emily was whiny and judgmental. I didn’t care for either of them and so I also did not care about their big romance storyline. At first. Because I must admit, about halfway through, they did change for the better and they both really grew on me.
- The plot
A storyline about a girl discovering her Motorcycle Club family? This could have been really cool and original. But unfortunately the story really suffered from one of my most hated tropes ever: secrets. Why do all these characters always think it’s a good idea to keep big, important things a secret from their loved ones? When will they learn that they are not keeping them safe, they are putting them in more danger by not telling them these kinds of things? Ugh. Throughout the entire book I just didn’t understand why everybody was keeping these things a secret from Emily. While at the same time giving her tiny hints so she could discover these things for herself, putting herself in danger while doing so. IT DID NOT MAKE ANY SENSE. And then when she finally does find out THE BIG SECRET (in a really stupid and dangerous way that could have been avoided if they had just told her), there was no pay-off. Again, nobody seemed to talk about it. Why? I don’t understand!
- The lack of family scenes
For a book that is supposedly about a girl getting to know her strange and weird family, there were surprisingly few family scenes. The focus was so heavily on the romance that it felt like there were hardly any scenes with her family. Emily’s in town to get to know her dad, but then he’s gone most of the time. He’s off doing secret things to keep her safe. And when he is around, there are no meaningful conversations. There are maybe 1 or 2 conversations between Emily and her grandmother, but that’s all! But we are still meant to believe that she grows to love them all. Even though we don’t actually see it happening. This could have been so much better.
Even though these things really did frustrate me, this book was not all bad. So please don’t take my rant the wrong way. I liked this book. I just would have liked it a lot more if they had fixed some of these things. Here is what I did like about it:
- The worldbuilding
No, it’s not a big and intense fantasy world full of dragons and other mythical creatures. It’s just a normal, everyday world. Except it features a Motorcycle Club with its own rules and history. Which is pretty cool and intriguing. I want to find out more about it, which is why I’m interested in reading the other books in this series.
- The secondary characters
We definitely did not get enough of the secondary characters. I really liked them all and I want to know more. I want the story of Meg and Eli. I want the story of Violet and Chevy. I want to find out more about Razor. Which I will, if I read the next book. And okay, the fact that these characters were introduced with just the bare minimum of information is a straight-up marketing ploy to get me to read the next books, I know. I know and yet I fell right for it, because I WANT THE NEXT BOOKS.
- The romance
I was doubting a lot about how I felt about the romance. It could have gone in the dislike section, but I ended up putting it in the like section. The romance had its flaws: the characters were unlikeable in the beginning, the pacing was off and it was a bit cliché at some points. But in the end, I really enjoyed it and I was rooting for these two characters so badly that it deserves some praise. I’m a big sucker for the ‘opposites attract’ trope, and that’s exactly what we got here.
So overall I would recommend this book if you are looking for a light and fluffy summery romance and you are willing to overlook some flaws enough to just enjoy the ride.
“Running is still running. It doesn’t matter if it’s a physical move from one place to another or if it’s to within yourself.”
“There’s a reason why people shouldn’t talk at four in the morning. Exhaustion eliminates the ability to lie. It demolishes the ability to tiptoe around the truth. Emotions are too exposed and real. Heightened to the point of explosion.”
“You both have grown up feeling as if you weren’t properly loved by those who should have loved you the most. People make mistakes. They make wrong choices at the worst moments. Never at any time were you not loved. Know this. Cherish this. Love one another and be courageous enough to live your life and love more. Don’t let fear trap you.”