NB: This review assumes you’ve read Nowhere But Here, the first novel in the series as it contains a spoiler for that novel.
- Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry
Rating: * * * *
Series: #2 Thunder Road
Publisher: Mira Ink
Publication Date: March 2016
One moment of recklessness will change their worlds
Smart. Responsible. That’s seventeen-year-old Breanna’s role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyber-bully’s line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas “Razor” Turner into her life.
Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don’t belong. But when he learns she’s being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it’s time to step outside the rules.
And so they make a pact: he’ll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she’ll help him seek answers to the mystery that’s haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they’re both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they’re going from here.
‘Walk the Edge’, the second novel in the Thunder Road series, is an exciting and enjoyable contemporary romance and one I’d definitely recommend having in your beach bag this summer.
To summarise, it’s the story of Razor, a newly patched-in member of the Reign of Terror Motorcycle Club, and his fiercely clever fellow high school student Breanna. Both Breanna and Razor face their own separate struggles: Breanna is the 5th out of nine children and the responsibility for caring for her younger siblings falls on her because her parents have to work and her elder siblings are rather selfish and gang up against her, and she also was laughed at in middle school for her academic prowess; meanwhile, Razor is haunted by rumours that his mother committed suicide because death was better than a life with him and a visit by a detective at the start of the novel makes him question both these rumours and the things that he’s been told by his father and other members of the Terror about his mother’s death. He’s also watched carefully by the board of his club because they aren’t sure that he is fit to be a proper member. Razor and Breanna also share a joint struggle which drives much of the plot of ‘Walk the Edge’ – someone has got hold of a photo of the two of them in a compromising situation and is threatening to post it online.
Razor and Breanna are both great characters. Both are very likeable because we witness and empathise with the burdens they carry – Razor with his mother’s death and Breanna with being the ‘perfect’ and isolated one of her siblings. Both are weighed down by their troubles. Not only are they each likeable in their own right, but I love the two of them together. Although they appear to be very different on the surface, actually they are very similar and are well-suited to each other – they can relate very well to each other. Their emotional connection is even stronger than their physical one and it develops steadily over the course of the novel. While both can be quite closed off to other people – Breanna can’t talk to her siblings because they’ll just laugh at her and her parents do not talk to her because they think she has everything sorted and can handle things herself, and Razor has a reputation for being tough, hostile and quiet – they open up to each other and feel comfortable around each other. They also have great chemistry together.
There are also lots of other complex and well-portrayed relationships in the novel apart from this central relationship. Friendships are a focus in the novel and I enjoyed Breanna’s relationship with her best friend Addison. Addison is a well-developed character and what I particularly liked is that she’s developed by little bits of extra information slipped in here and there, such as her ill-treatment by her father and also by one of her teachers at school – her development feels very natural and smooth. She’s a very faithful best friend to Breanna and I’m hoping that we see more of her in subsequent books as I really like her.
We also get to see more of Razor’s friendship with Oz and Chevy. I love the three of them together and the fierce loyalty between them all. Razor also has a lovely relationship with Violet, taking care of her when she is upset and always looking out for her. However, I think my favourite of Razor’s relationships has to be he and Pigpen’s relationship. Pigpen in this novel is Razor’s unlikely advisor, an older-brother-type figure who Razor turns when trying to get rid of the image of him and Breanna. Pigpen and Razor’s conversations were at times humorous and at other times poignant and they were a big highlight of the novel for me. Additionally, we discover some very intriguing things about Pigpen’s past in ‘Walk the Edge’ and I’m hoping that these things will be further explored and that his whole story will be revealed soon. In fact, I’d actually really like it if Katie McGarry wrote a whole novel about Pigpen – maybe even a NA novel since he’s quite a lot older than the central Thunder Road characters. I’d love to read his story.
We learn more about the inner workings of the Reign of Terror in this novel and it’s all very interesting. I loved seeing the meetings between members of the Reign of Terror and the details we learn about them – for example how when they embrace they avoid touching the other person’s cut as a sign of respect. There is such a strong bond between all the Terror members and they are very much like a family – at times dysfunctional and rowing, but always loyal and there for each other when it counts. Olivia was at the centre of that family, and I loved this quote about her and the way she felt about Violet, Chevy, Oz and Razor:
‘We weren’t born to her, but we were her children. She loved us when we were unlovable.’
I also really like the way that Katie McGarry has structured this series, with each of the protagonists who are part of the Reign of Terror – Oz and Razor so far – receiving a letter from Olivia after her death and having to decide where to scatter her ashes. It is a lovely and very poignant touch and one that highlights how far that specific character has come and an important realisation that they have made during the course of their novel.
Katie McGarry’s writing is absolutely addictive (as always!). There’s lots of tension in this novel because of the rivalry, which was first explored in ‘Nowhere But Here’, between the Reign of Terror and the Riot motorcycle clubs and because of the constant threat of Kyle posting the picture online and the way that he hounds Breanna about it at school. I really like the way that, as usual with Katie McGarry’s novels, the chapters alternate perspective between the male and female leads because I am always excited to see how the other character is going to react to what went on. Katie McGarry’s writing is always very solid – she’s my go-to writer whenever I want to read a romance – and I feel that she’s completely settled into her style now. I always race through and really enjoy her novels and they keep getting better and better. I really enjoyed her other series, ‘Pushing the Limits’, but I think that this current series is even better!
I am very, very excited for the next book in this series. I have been looking forward to Violet and Chevy’s story since this series began. They are two characters who really stand out for me and I like the fact that, while Oz and Emily and Razor and Breanna met each other in their novels and established a romance, Violet and Chevy have already dated once, so it is a completely different scenario. I also really felt for Violet in ‘Walk the Edge’ because of her experiences with a photo and blackmail. I can’t wait for January and ‘Long Way Home’!