by Tammara Webber
My thoughts on this book are mixed. I liked it, I do think it was good - but other people seem to love it, and I just...don't. And I get why they'd like it, but I just don't see why they'd love it. This review is pretty long, so here's a tl;dr version using two pictures:Summary: When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup two months into sophomore year. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she's single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, and failing a class for the first time in her life.
Leaving a party alone, Jacqueline is assaulted by her ex's frat brother. Rescued by a stranger who seems to be in the right place at the right time, she wants nothing more than to forget the attack and that night--but her savior, Lucas, sits on the back row of her econ class, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. Her friends nominate him to be the perfect rebound.
When her attacker turns stalker, Jacqueline has a choice: crumple in defeat or learn to fight back. Lucas remains protective, but he's hiding secrets of his own. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy.
What I wanted and expected:
What I got (at least until near the end of the book):
There was something almost dull about it. There was a plot, but it didn't feel like there was much plot while reading - it felt more like the day to day life of a college student and even the dramatic things didn't have much of an impact. In the last 50-80 pages of the book, it picked up and felt - more, I guess. But up until that point...it was lacking spark or something.
It deals with sensitive subject matter and I do think it deals with it realistically and well. It frustrated me that she didn't initially report what happened to her, but so many rapes/sexual assaults do go unreported, so while it's frustrating to read about, it was realistic. I love the way the other characters react to it - they showed all sides of it: how victim blaming can happen and why it's wrong, how people should/n't react to it, how people seem to react differently when it's someone they know as opposed to some masked stranger with a knife to your throat, how people react differently based on how promiscuous the victim has been in the past....
...Sorry, I can't explain that aspect of the book particularly well because I'm trying to be vague and not give too many spoilers away.
The romance in the book...it was sweet and one of my favourite parts of the book. Lucas was lovely, I liked the way he was with Jaqueline. His character was just a really nice guy.
I'm not explaining my thoughts on this book very well. I think the issue was that...it didn't seem like it had a focus, and because of that, I didn't really connect to it emotionally so while I was reading and liking what I was reading, I wasn't really feeling it.
Books like Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson deal with the topic of rape, and that issue is the focus of the story even when there's other stuff going on, the rape thing feels like the main plot line. Then there are other books where romance is the focus. But this book seemed to be kind of straddling the line between being an "issue book" and being a romance, it didn't feel like it focussed on either (and some books can pull that off and still be fantastic, but it made this one feel lacking in something) and there was so much stuff that just felt like the day-to-day college life that it lacked the power it could've had.
What I'm trying to say: I think the rape subject matter was handled well and the romance was too, but the two of them together, mixed in with all the filler stuff, it felt like the rawness of the serious stuff was kind of dulled and the spark of the romance was dimmed and I finished the book not really sure whether I'd shove it into the romance catagory or the same catagory books like Speak go into, because it dealt with both without feeling like either, but it didn't work too well being a 50-50 mix of both (The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson = a good example of a book that can straddle the line between being a romance and dealing with a serious issue and excelling at both, but this just...didn't).
But, like I said at the start of this review: I seem to be in the minority here. There's plenty of 5 star reviews of it I've seen (which is the reason I read the book in the first place), some people even say it's one of the best books they've ever read, so you may end up agreeing with them.
To sum up: it's a good book, the romance is sweet, it deals with the issue of rape really well and realistically, it just lacked the emotional impact it could've had (and should've had, given the subject matter). I didn't start really empathising with the characters until the last couple of chapters (up until that point, I had just been reading and enjoying reading the book without it making me have any sort of emotional reaction to it - there were two scenes in the whole book that really got under my skin and they were in those last chapters).
It's worth reading, but it's not particularly memorable (and I really mean that - I forgot I had even read it until I saw "review Easy" on my to do list today...even though I finished the book last night). I'd rate it 3 or 3.5 stars out of 5.
(gifs/pictures from tumblr, the computer one is by Hyperbole and a Half and her blog is fab.)