By Molly McAdams
Series: Taking Chances, Book 1
My Rating: 4 Stars
Have you ever read a book that seems to stay with you days or even weeks after you are finished with it? Molly McAdams’ Taking Chances was one of those books for me. I’ve read a dozen books since I finished this book last month and I still find myself thinking about it as I drive down the road. There is even a song that makes me think of this book, OAR’s Peace. I hear that song and can’t help but think of Brandon dedicating it to Harper. It’s not because McAdams featured this song in the book but perhaps it would have been a fitting song to come up in the book. That seems to be the popular thing to do lately. Every book seems to have it’s own soundtrack. I suppose we can thank Fifty Shades of Grey for this but if there was ever a song that was perfect for a book it’s Peace by OAR. If you read the book, listen to the song after and see if you agree.
Taking Chances is the first book in Molly McAdams Taking Chances series. I haven’t read the next book which appears to be Taking Chances from Chase’s perspective, though I’m not sure how that’s going to work based on what happens in the first book. I’m also not sure if I can actually get myself to relive the events of Taking Chances. Will the second book stay with me for weeks after finishing it? I’m not sure my heart can handle that again.
Taking Changes is about Harper, an 18 year old girl, who has left her career Marine father’s home and moved across the country to find herself in California. She’s led a very protected life, surrounded by her dad’s Marines who looked at her like a sister and sheltered her from the world. Never really learning to be a girl, Harper moves to California hoping to let that life go and to live a little. To experience all the things that she hasn’t experienced in life, and she hopes, maybe meet a boy, have a first kiss and maybe, if she’s very lucky find a boyfriend. (It’s not quite that simple and she isn’t that simple of a character, but she’s been very sheltered and she wants to experience the things other girls her age have experienced). Harper’s roommate introduces her to a world that Harper only ever dreamed about or didn’t know she was missing. For the first time Harper has entered a world of parties, gorgeous guys, being a girl (a hot one apparently), and the temptation of love and attraction. Very quickly Harper finds herself torn between Chase, her roommate’s sexy brother and his roommate, Brandon. Both men find themselves wanting to be closer to Harper and to have her for themselves, but something keeps holding Harper back from moving forward with Brandon, who seems to be the safer choice. She doesn’t realize that thing is Chase (see what I mean about sheltered?). Then one night of weakness will change everything for Harper, Brandon and Chase. Their lives will never be the same and each will have to make choices and accept the repercussions of their actions.
I’ve already mentioned how this book left me thinking about it over and over in the weeks after I finished the book. What is it that makes me continue to think about this book? There are so many things actually. It’s written very simply but McAdams does an exceptional job of developing her characters. I think a book can only stay with you if you have true feelings for what happens to the characters during the book. If you hurt with them and are happy with them then they will haunt you after you have finished reading their story. That’s what this book did for me. I felt Harpers struggles and her pain and loss. I felt Chase’s frustrations and desperation. I felt Brandon’s betrayal yet his desire to be selfless. Each character is good and bad. They make good decisions and bad decisions and struggle to find their path and which is the right road for them to go down. They try to be better people and sometimes fail miserably but somehow find themselves in the end. I like this sort of struggle because it’s so in-line with real life. So often, books aren’t close enough to real life that we can’t relate to it. They aren’t bad because of that, but they are fleeting. The book is read, the story is taken in and then quickly forgotten. Rarely does a story stick with you for extended periods of time. I often have to reread a synopsis to be able to tell a person what a book is about if it’s been a couple of months since I’ve read it. That isn’t the case with this book. I still find myself contemplating Taking Chances. I want to read the next book but I’m not sure if I’m ready for it. I feel like I have to prepare myself for it and it’s ultimate outcome because it can only end one way. That’s not saying this book ended badly. The ending is actually quite perfect but it’s bittersweet as life often is. But if it teaches you one thing, it’s that you have to keep going and you have to take chances or you’ll never move forward in life. You’ll never get past the bad things so that the new things can come into your life. It’s an important piece of advice that can often be hard to remember in dark times.
Ultimately, this book is likely going to be one of my top picks for the year. I highly recommend it for older YA readers, fans of New Adult and even adult readers.