Crossing the Line by Simone Elkeles
“To escape his abusive stepdad, bad boy Ryan Hess runs from his tiny Texas border town to Mexico. But his plans to keep his head down and stay out of trouble are shattered the minute he meets the beautiful and totally out of his league Dalila Sandoval.
Dalila Sandoval shouldn’t even know someone like Ryan Hess. The daughter of one of the wealthiest lawyers in Mexico, Dalila is focused on studying and planning for her bright future. Ryan is only a distraction from her dreams, but she’s never felt more alive than when she’s by his side.
Ryan and Dalila are wrong for each other in every way. And yet they can’t resist the sparks that fly when they’re together. But their love is like a flame burning too close to the fuse. Something is going to explode. Will their love be strong enough to survive? Or will it burn them both?”
4.25 Stars (yes, I am aware that it is a rather odd amount)
I have read all of the Perfect Chemistry Series and Better than Perfect both written by Elkeles and loved them, so when I saw this book, I had to have it. Elkeles didn’t disappoint with this fast-paced, forbidden romance type story. With this story taking place primarily in Mexico, it gives the story a depth that only specific settings can provide.
Going into this book, I wasn’t planning on reviewing it. I was going to read the book because I wanted too, but as I was getting towards the end (which I’ll discuss later), I knew that I wanted to write a review on it. This book had me hooked from the very first page where it opens up with Ryan at a funeral. We get to see firsthand how his mother, stepfather, and stepbrothers treat him like he is a) worthless, b) ungrateful, and c) just nonexistent. Those are some of the main reasons that cause Ryan to leave his life and his one-man crew in Texas to seek out training from a world famous heavyweight boxer.
Ryan is one of those guys who acts tough to protect himself since his mother told him from a young age that he was a burden and mistake. With that being said there are several ways that he could have ended up. He could be the guy with the hard outer shell who is a total jerk all day every day, but Ryan has a sweet heart for those he trusts. We see this many time when he interacts with Dalila and Pablo. The only bad thing is that Ryan doesn’t know his self-worth, so he is always ready to jump into the line of fire.
Looking from the outside Dalila has a perfect with loving parents, younger sisters, a large mansion, money, and a bright future in which she thinks she wants to be a doctor. But things can be deceiving, Dalila wants to figure out who she is because living her life for her dead brother. Dalila starts to realize this throughout the novel and slowly realizes that even though she misses her brother, he would have wanted her to live her own life.
When Ryan and Dalila first meet each other, they are at a club in Texas to see an alternative punk band. They both felt the attraction but wasn’t sure how to handle it when they get off on the wrong foot. The two also meet several other times in Mexico once Ryan travels down there for training. Each time they meet, they have words to say and aren’t sure if they should act on the attraction. Dalila accepts that she like Ryan. Ryan, on the other hand, struggles with his feeling because he keeps telling himself that he’s not good enough and doesn’t have time for a girlfriend. Once they get on the same page of the interest of the other, they have to figure out if fighting for their new relationship is worth it when somebody is trying to hurt Dalila’s family and when Dalila’s parents don’t approve of Ryan.
The drama and lies in this book had me trying to figure out who to trust and not to trust. Dalila questions her relationship with her father when she figures out that he took on a sketchy client and when she asks him about it, he completely shuts her down. This leads to her to think about everything from wondering if her dad is working with a cartel to if she should trust her parents. Ryan has his own troubles with living in the gym since he’s low on money and doesn’t have a job since he’s training all of the time, has made several enemies in Mexico, and trying to figure out where to take his and Dalila’s relationship. Once the lies start to unravel and everybody’s true character is shown it’ll have you thinking back to when certain things happen and think “how could I not have seen that coming.”
With this book, I am thrilled to say that I have finally made a playlist to go along with a book! Don’t get too excited because there are only six songs, but I feel like these songs capture some of the scenes. Since there are spoilers to the reasons as to why I picked the songs, I will explain after I list the songs. Also, there is something I wanted to talk about above, but it was too spoilery so that will follow the explanations of songs.
1. Better Man by 5 Seconds of Summer
2. Boy without a Car by The Vamps
3. Somebody’s Heartbreak by Hunter Hayes
4. Risk it All by The Vamps
5. When it all Goes Wrong by The Hara
6. Stuck in the Moment by Justin Bieber
If you haven’t read Crossing the Line, I highly recommend that you do! Anything below here will contain spoilers, so read at your own risk.
*Lyrics belong to the appropriate people*
1. Better Man-
“With your love, your love, I’m a better, better man
With your love, your love, I’m a better, better man
Darling, all of my wrongs, they lead me right to me
Wrapped in your arms, I swear I’d die
For your love, your love, I’m a better, better man
Thought I’d found the highest of highs
You came and topped them all
You shine in the dead of the night”
“You’re the only one, who could lock this wild heart up in chains
You’re the only love, that can make this bad man better”
When Ryan first set off to Mexico, he felt like he didn’t have time for a girlfriend (or any actual friend for that matter), but once he and Dalila started to talk and get to know one another, Ryan slowly started to realize that she was something that made him happy. I feel like after Ryan met Dalila, Ryan started to feel both needed and wanted by somebody. Each time Ryan thought he had Dalila figured out, she would do something and end up shocking him.
2. Boy without a Car –
“And I’m wondering how we got this far
I’m just another boy without a car
Oh how I wish that you could say
You feel the same way
You always got me wanting more
I never met a girl like you before
Oh how I wish that you would stay
With me for another day”
Just the title of the song alone had me at the very beginning because technically Ryan was basically without a car because his Mustang had only a little bit of gas and he barely had enough money for rent and food. Also, each time he interacted with Dalila, he hated to see her leave (even when he refused to admit it to himself) and most of their early encounters had one of them finding reasons to stay longer or find a way to see the other again.
3. Somebody’s Heartbreak –
“I’d love to know just what you’re thinkin’
Every little river, running through your mind
You give and you take, you come and you go
You leave me here wondering if I’ll ever know
How much you care, or how much you don’t
Whatever you need, whatever you want
If you’re gonna be somebody’s heartbreak,
If you’re gonna be somebody’s mistake,
If you’re gonna be somebody’s first time,
Somebody’s last time,
Baby be mine”
I think after both Dalila and Ryan realized how much they liked each other this is how they felt. They wanted to be in the other’s life.
4. Risk it All –
a) “You just know
Sometimes you feel it in your bones
Though we’ve heard that hearts can still beat long
Something’s telling me that you’re the one
I just know
Even if I had a heart of a stone
You could make it bleed all on your own
You could break it but I hope you won’t”
This song goes with the early part of the book when Dalila and Ryan kept running into each other and always felt that connect but didn’t know if they should a) act on it and b) how to handle it if they did go after a relationship.
b) “I’d rather crash, I’d rather crawl
Than never have your love at all
With only bricks to break my fall
For you I’d risk it all”
This is for Ryan because he truly risked it all for Dalila several times and ended up protecting her in the end.
5. When it all Goes Wrong –
a) “Trying to figure out which way to go, but we don’t know”
Toward the last hundred pages, after the crap hits the fan and Ryan find Dalila, they had no idea who they could trust to help them.
b) “Everyone has something to say”
*cough, cough* everyone about Ryan and Dalila’s relationship
c) “We only got one life and it isn’t fair sometimes, but when it all goes wrong don’t let it hurt too long. Nothing lasts forever, but everything gets better with time.”
The very end after Ryan dies, whenever Dalila goes to his grave for Los Dia de Muertos she was still upset, but she was slowly adjusting to life without Ryan.
6. Stuck in the Moment –
a) “Bonnie and Clyde,
Never had to hide like,
Though out a lot of the novel, Dalila had to keep her relationship from her parents because they didn’t approve of Ryan. This caused them to really have to think about where to go and what to do because there were a lot of people ready to rat the two out.
b) “It’s all fun and games,
‘Til someone gets hurt,
And I don’t,
I won’t let that be you”
Ryan, again. He was ready to step away from the relationship several times to keep Dalila safe.
c) “I wish we had another time,
I wish we had another place,
But everything we had is stuck in the moment”
Just the whole situation in general because if Dalila’s dad wasn’t in the middle of his things and if Ryan’s life was different, things could have ended differently.
This is the last thing I want to talk about, and I’ll be done. In books, I hate to see deaths that involve main characters, as it turned me against The Divergent series and a couple of other books. But with this book, I was strangely at peace with Ryan’s death. It could be because there were only 4 or 5 pages after it happened, but I felt like it was written with grace and it wasn’t slapped in the book. So, I applaud Simone Elkeles for being able to write the death of a main character and doing it in a way that didn’t make Ryan seem any less than he was.
Happy reading until next time,