For What It's Worth

Friday, January 3, 2014

Review: Sex & Violence by Carrie Mesrobian


AT FIRST YOU DON'T SEE THE CONNECTION.

17339214Sex has always come without consequences for seventeen-year-old Evan Carter. He has a strategy--knows the profile of The Girl Who Would Say Yes. In each new town, each new school, he can count on plenty of action before he and his father move again. Getting down is never a problem. Until he hooks up with the wrong girl and finds himself in the wrong place at very much the wrong time.

AND THEN YOU CAN'T SEE ANYTHING ELSE.

After an assault that leaves Evan bleeding and broken, his father takes him to the family cabin in rural Pearl Lake, Minnesota, so Evan's body can heal. But what about his mind?

HOW DO YOU GO ON, WHEN YOU CAN'T THINK OF ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER?

Nothing seems natural to Evan anymore. Nothing seems safe. The fear--and the guilt--are inescapable. He can't sort out how he feels about anyone, least of all himself. Evan's really never known another person well, and Pearl Lake is the kind of place where people know everything about each other--where there might be other reasons to talk to a girl. It's annoying as hell. It might also be Evan's best shot to untangle sex and violence.

Goodreads | Author | Amazon

Source: Wendy – The Midnight Garden THANK YOU!!

Review:
That cover. That title. Sex & Violence. You would expect a graphic, in your face, angst filled story. Which is why I avoided it like the plague. I am so over the damaged YA/NA boy who is cured by the sweetest girl and magical orgasms. Only the reviews by two bloggers I trust implicitly – Jen (YA Romantics) and Wendy (The Midnight Garden) convinced me to give it a shot. They promised it was not your typical depiction of sex and they were right.

Sex & Violence is a surprisingly understated story. The violence is brutal, yet brief. The story instead following Evan’s struggle in the aftermath. How he struggles with sex, once so casual and plentiful, yet now connected to an act of brutality. How he can no longer enjoy the pleasure without remembering the pain.

Evan meets several people on his road to recovery and I love how this book explores sexuality for both guys and girls. There isn’t any slut shaming or man-whore labels – just an honest depiction of healthy (& yes, some unhealthy) teenage relationships. Evan is often an unlikeable character. He will have your empathy, of course, but he isn’t going to be your typical YA protagonist that makes you swoon. He is a brutally honest narrator, sharing all his thoughts, both good and bad. That makes him REAL – not the romanticized version that we may prefer. All of his relationships, even if temporary, make an impression and help him come to terms with what happened.

This was one of those books that kind of snuck under the radar emotionally. I wasn’t OMG breathless while I was reading, or even particularly attached to Evan, but when I finished and put the book down I was – WOW - what did I just read? I’m still pondering Evan’s relationships and future, several days later.

I’m glad I read this! If you’re looking for something a little different than a romanticized version of trauma and recovery give this one a try.

15 comments:

  1. Even though this didn't take your breath away, making you think while reading and still think about it later is almost better!

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    1. I think I was expecting it to POW and be very in your face because of the title/cover but it was more subtle than that - and better for it.

      There aren't a lot of books that stay with me these days so it really is a good thing.

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  2. I love the road to recovery theme, and glad it makes you think!

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    1. It was different from anything else I've ever read. I also felt like the male POV was more accurate.

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  3. OMG ...goes to add this book to the reading pile :)

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    1. I *think* you would like it Julie. It was different.

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  4. I really need to pick this one up. The title alone caught my attention, as well as the cover, but I've only heard good things about how the protagonist and the story are dealt with. Definitely glad to hear it passes the test of being a read that goes beyond the usual tropes of angst and then magical-recovery-genitalia as seen in some NA novels. :P

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  5. Hmm, just goes to show that we should never judge a book by its cover nor underestimate the importance of bloggers whose opinions we trust.

    Best wishes for 2013 and happy reading.

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  6. I totally agree--it wasn't as angsty or even angry as I expected it to be from the title and subject. And I was the same wasn't on the edge of my seat while I was reading it, but the story and characters really spoke to me, and I thought about it for a long time afterwards. Definitely expands your expectations of YA, in the very best of ways.

    I'm so glad you connected with it! Fantastic debut, eh?


    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  7. Wow. This sounds so powerful. I love characters who are honest and that you don't like all the time. I think it takes a lot of guts for an author to humanize thier "darlings." I also think that books you keep thinking about say something in themselves.

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  8. Whoa. This sounds like an amazing story that I must read. I love the realistic, honest tone the story seems to have.

    Gorgeous review, Karen!

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  9. Nice review! I had ordered this for my library, but I haven't had a chance to pick it up yet. But now, I'll be grabbing it next week. :)

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  10. I love stories like this with or without magical orgasms (LOL). I find stories like this more psychological than physical and I like that kind of stimulation over the sex. Thats probably why I'm burned out with erotica now, it's always so fricking emotional and sexual it's getting less and less "smart" and I can't stand that.

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  11. Your first few lines mostly sum up why I avoided this, as it doesn't at all sound like my sort of book, but I have to say that I'm very curious now! I haven't read Jen's or Wendy's reviews, but I'll have to check them out. I'm glad to hear this isn't your typical romanticised sex and recovery story.

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  12. I thought it was a beautifully written and really smart book. Glad you liked it -- and that you still trust my recommendations!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

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