Release Date: January 31, 2017
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Length: 448 pages
Source: eGalley from NetGalley
Seventeen-year-old Violet has always been expected to sit back and let the boys do all the saving.
It’s the code her father, a member of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, raised her to live by. Yet when her dad is killed carrying out Terror business, Violet knows it’s up to her to do the saving. To protect herself, and her vulnerable younger brother, she needs to cut all ties with the club—including Chevy, the boy she’s known and loved her whole life.
But when a rival club comes after Violet, exposing old secrets and making new threats, she’s forced to question what she thought she knew about her father, the Reign of Terror, and what she thinks she wants. Which means re-evaluating everything: love, family, friends . . . and forgiveness.
Caught in the crosshairs between loyalty and freedom, Violet must decide whether old friends can be trusted—and if she’s strong enough to be the one person to save them all.
Protagonists: Chevy and Violet were each other's everything. They were friends since childhood, since before they could even remember, and along the way, they became something more. That is until Violet's father died and she blamed his death on the Reign of Terror, a legit motorcycle club that Chevy hopes to one day join and follow in his family's footsteps. Now they aren't sure what they are, they just know that they aren't together anymore. Violet hates the Terror, and Chevy feels like he's in one big tug of war, and doesn't know which side to choose because either way, someone he loves will get hurt. After a horrifying and scarring event that leaves Violet and Chevy both shaken and with old secrets about the Terror and their families come to light, they need to decide which road to take and what they're willing to give up to keep those they love safe. I was so excited to finally get to Violet's story, since from her debut in Nowhere but Here I found her story to be the most compelling, but what I didn't expect was that I would also be drawn in so deeply to Chevy's plot as well. Both of these characters are a bit broken, Violet's the type of person to not ask for help because she feels as though she can deal with anything that comes her way by herself, and even when she gets in over her head she struggles to appear vulnerable to anyone else. Chevy's mom has never liked or fully trusted the Terror, she was never a part of that life since Chevy was born out of a one night stand, because of that she wants more for Chevy, she wants him to experience life and live a normal life before dedicating himself to the Terror, and Chevy feels an incredible responsibility to continue his family's legacy and join with the Terror as soon as he's eighteen, and his need to please everyone in his family has left him at a stand still in his life. Both these characters are so richly presented and portrayed, every action, speech, and movement for them feels realistic and natural which lends so well to how immersive this series, and this installment especially, is.
Romance: Since I first heard that this book was going to be about Violet and Chevy I was interested in seeing how McGarry was going to handle the romance. We've never seen her tackle a romance between two people that have a long and complicated romantic history before, in fact, it wasn't until Chasing Impossible that we ever had two protagonists who we knew and had any sort of relationship before. I was pretty much already rooting for this couple before I ever began this book, the author had laid the groundwork for their relationship very well in the previous installments in this series, however, I was still anxious to see whether or not that could be translated well once we were in their heads. Granted, I should never doubt Katie McGarry because almost as soon as I began this book I knew I would be just as, if not more, invested and caught up in the romance between Chevy and Violet as any of her other romances. These two characters have so much electrifying chemistry that I never wanted their scenes with each other to end. They understand each other on a level that most others in this series just don't. They know more about each other than they do about themselves and it's so phenomenal to see them lean on each other and try and untangle the complications in their lives and in their relationship.
World Building: Gah! I love the mysteries that this series provides for our main characters but sometimes you wonder if the Riot isn't the true antagonist of this series, but the Reign of Terror themselves. So far with each book in this series there's been a mystery, involving the family of one of the main characters, Emily's parents' history, Razor's mom's death, and well I'm not going to spoil it but there's one more that involves the parent of one of these two characters, and the Terror is keeping some or all of the truth from them under some sort of code that is supposed to protect these kids, but inevitably only leads them to make decisions to find out these truths that put them in danger. The mystery for this installment is fantastic and every step we make toward finding out the truth only makes it more and more intriguing. There's also a lot of danger and darkness to this book, in fact, I would say this is one of, if not, the darkest book Katie McGarry has written so far. I really want to discuss what happens because it's such an interesting, and terrifying avenue to explore, it's something that sets the tone for this book and kicks off the main plot, and it's something that remains with our protagonists throughout the entire story. On a much lighter note, I was extremely excited when McGarry's two series come together in a marvelous way. I won't spoil how, but once I read a specific name from the Pushing the Limits series I nearly hyperventilated and when that avenue is explored later, well I just couldn't handle my emotions at that point.
Predictability: I don't know how Katie does it, but every time I go into these books I'm always expecting a happy ending, and yet when things get tense, when these characters are put in danger, specifically the narrators, I'm always scared that something will happen this time we might not get a happy ending. That ability to keep your readers guessing even when they feel they know it will end happily is a writing trait I envy. There are quite a few twists to this book, mainly because while it's easy to know these characters so well at this point, they're put into situations that, even thinking you know them so well, you aren't sure what they'll do. These aren't Mary Sue characters that will always do the right thing, these are characters that will act and react like the imperfect human beings they are. Then there are the secrets, secrets that the Riot hold, secrets that the Terror hold and secrets that strangers hold back from our characters that come to light in this book and some absolutely blew my mind. Honestly, looking back on this book I can only think of one thing specifically that I was able to predict before the revelation started.
Ending: Since this is the end of the "Rat Pack" as Olivia liked to call them, as they all have their own books and stories told, I was wondering about the future of this series. Granted, this series doesn't need to continue, but the author writes so many amazing side characters that there always seems like a new character to write about. Going into the ending of this book, it feels like the ending to this series, though. There are definitely more stories that can be told, but if this story was the last one in the "Thunder Road" series I'd be fine with that. The final climax of this book is intense and leads to an ending that feels final. Switching between Chevy and Violet's points of view during the final climax was almost like watching a movie that would have various scenes showing two sides that ended on excruciating cliffhangers. Then there's the cooldown that had so much to it. It wasn't just about whether or not our characters lived happily ever after. There were a lot of things that needed to be said at the end of the story and I loved seeing everything some together toward the end and seeing where everyone ended up.
I have to tell you, I'm still debating in my head whether or not I loved this book or Chasing Impossible more. They're both amazing installments focusing on complex and compelling characters with issues that they have to sort through. I just hope I was able to convey to you how much this installment gripped me. I both love and curse Katie McGarry for making me feel so many emotions in this book! I can't wait to see what Katie will write next, be it a Thunder Road novel, a Pushing the Limits novel, or something completely new I'm sure I'll love it. P.S. If you value your sanity, do not read the excerpt from her new book that's in the end of this book, at least not right away. I did, and now I'm craving that book after only what I assume is part of a chapter.
“Chevy,” Cyrus calls near the entrance, “We need to talk.”
Damned knot in the tug-of-war-rope and I’m starting to feel frayed. Mom doesn’t blink as she waits for me to say something. To tell Cyrus he can wait. To tell her what she wants to hear. But as much as I love her, I’m also drawn to the club. She’s right, I do want both.
“I’ll be back to pick you up later,” I say.
Mom throws the towel she had expertly throttled into the sink behind her, walks to the other side of the bar and the strobe light casts a red haze around her. If I didn’t know her better, I’d buy the flirty smile and the way she giggles in happiness as she leans on the bar to take a drink order. But that’s not her real smile and that’s not her real laugh. It’s part of her job, part of her act, because that’s what working her requires—performing.
With a kick to a barstool, I head for the exit. Cyrus walks out into the night and I follow. Once outside, Cyrus turns to me and his warm breath creates a cloud in the cool night. “We’ve had some trouble tonight with the Riot.”
The Riot would be a motorcycle club north of us in Louisville. They’re pissed at the Terror for myriad reasons, the main one being we’re a legit club and they deal in illegal. They’re also angry at one of our main members, Eli. They feel he stole their daughter and granddaughter from them. Eli didn’t steal a thing. Can’t call someone’s free will in walking away from crazy a crime.
Life sucks for the Riot and I’m fine with that. “Everything okay?”
“Yeah. Everyone’s safe, but we’ve had word that they’ve ridden past the boundary lines we set with them a few months back. It’s all rumor and no one on our side has confirmed it. Could be someone’s overactive imagination, but I’ll feel better knowing you’re off the road.”
I’m under eighteen, still a kid to him. Cyrus used to act this way with my two best friends, Oz and Razor, but both are eighteen and full members of the club now. The babysitting twists my gut, but then again, I’m not ready for the decision eighteen will bring. “How about Violet?”
“I’m on my way now to look for her. She’s also not answering her cell.”
Yeah. A lot of that going around. “If she took Stone to the game, she would have headed straight home. I’ll check on her on my way to Mom’s if you want.”
This gives me the excuse I need to see Violet. Because I won’t be able to sleep without knowing she’s okay. So I can thank her for what she did for me with the note. To gauge whether or not Violet is waving the white flag.
Cyrus lays a hand on my shoulder. “I’d appreciate that. I need to head back to the clubhouse to take care of some business. I’m serious about what I said though. Me and a lot of guys would love to hear about the game.”
I know they would and I’d enjoy being with them, but Mom’s already sore that I walked out on her to talk to Cyrus. “I’m beat. After I check on Violet, I’m crashing.”
Cyrus gives me a fast pat and a hug. We both mount our bikes and start our engines with a growl. My grandfather takes the lead and I follow him as long as I can before taking the path that leads away from him and toward where Violet lives.
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Katie McGarry’s LONG WAY HOME – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:
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About the Author:
Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.
Katie is the author of full-length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON, BREAKING THE RULES, NOWHERE BUT HERE and WALK THE EDGE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine’s 2012 Reviewer’s Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.