When high school student Taylor Flinn’s parents ship her off to a relative’s house out of state, Jimmy “Clutch” Mason is both crushed and relieved. That wild girl may have his heart, but she’s out of control, and he’s way too old for her flirtatious games. But when she comes back, more grown up than ever and just a few weeks shy of her eighteenth birthday, all bets are off. With a boyfriend in tow and parents who won’t let her anywhere near Clutch, he knows he should stay away. But what his mind tells him and where his heart leads him are two very different things.
The Verdict: Well…that was a waste of money. I really liked Clutch in Freefall, and I couldn’t wait to read his story, but that didn’t work out so well.
Clutch is easy to love, and I certainly liked getting to know his character a bit more. It’s clear he loves his brother, his friends, and his business, but he’d do damned near anything for the barely legal girl whose relentless flirting and wild way have been driving him crazy for years. Taylor’s feelings for Clutch are no less intense, but she’s matured a little and begun putting herself first instead of throwing herself at him constantly. But no amount of clearing her head can do away with how she feels when Clutch is around, and when her parents and older brother forbid her from seeing him, she risks their constant disapproval to go after what she wants.
Unfortunately, I had a little trouble connecting to the characters. Taylor’s a rather flighty high school senior, and while most of the time she was perfect in her wild-child role, there were some odd moments where her declarations of love for Clutch just seemed a little too mature. I certainly understood Clutch much better, and he stayed in perfect character throughout the book, but when he and Taylor finally made a go of things, it felt kind of disconnected. For so many years he’d avoided her for her own good, always showing a protective side, but that seemed to fade a bit when their real relationship started. Given the depth of their feelings for each other and both their headstrong ways, it felt like the drama should have been a bit more volatile. Instead, they both acted so tame with each other.
What ruined it for me, though, was the ending. Sure, it was a happily-ever-after, I suppose, with Clutch facing off with Taylor’s parents and making it clear that he loved her and would take care of her, but it was so abrupt. The moment was over so quickly after all that build-up that it was a huge disappointment. It felt a lot like the author was told that she had a certain number of words left before the book hit its limit, so she just threw out a quick scene to wrap it up and called it done. Clutch is certainly an entertaining read for most of the book, but the characters lacked the depth that Freefall had, and the oddly rushed ending leaves a lot to be desired. The story is now set up for the next book, but while I’m a little curious about the rest of the characters, I don’t think I’ll be continuing unless I find them in the freebies list.