I needed another light read after finishing a very heady book this week. Having acquired a copy of Easy by Tammara Webber a few weeks ago I decided it would be the perfect book to suit my mood. And, since I opened my big, fat mouth about New Adult titles I feel like I have to form a learned opinion of them… by reading them, of course, and not just merely observing them.
This book, thus far, has what are probably my favourite characters in the New Adult genre. That said, the book leaves me with mixed feelings about the execution of the story. I’m a little all over the map about that. Allow me to elaborate…
Jacqueline Wallace never thought that her long term boyfriend, Kennedy, would break up with her. They’ve gone through so much together – high school, her first time, and his rise into the stratosphere of popularity in both high school and college. Now, weeks after the split, Jacqueline has new trials to face. At a frat party on Halloween weekend Jacqueline is assaulted by a man she believed to be a friend. Before the attacker has a chance to rape her a man breaks up the attack, beating her assailant to a pulp. Jacqueline escapes terrified but intact and with the image of Lucas, her saviour, burning in her mind. Before she realizes Lucas suddenly is everywhere – in her economics class (that she shares with her ex), at her favourite coffee shop, even at the parties she reluctantly attends. Jacqueline finds herself drawn to him but the more she gets to know him the more levels she unveils into the heart of a tortured, and tormented, man with his own baggage.
At the onset I was ready to put this book down. There was not enough build up to the rape scene for my comfort. Within two pages of the book the reader is smacked upside the head with it with little to go on about the plot or character development. I feel like this would have benefited from some, oh, I don’t know, build up. Some warning… something? Perhaps, anything to brace the reader. I felt that Jacqueline needed some foundation before this event. The little you have to go on is that she’s a whiny girl too focused on her own self-pity to pay attention to her surroundings at a frat party. Because of this she doesn’t see what could (and does) happen to her when she could have easily prevented it. It doesn’t make her very sympathetic from the get-go.
It sounds like I am going to make the classic bigoted “but” statement here. I am not. I don’t condone rape in any circumstance. Do not misunderstand me in this statement. I am not rape-shaming this character. There are no “but”s in this review. Simply put Webber needed more preface up front to make the incident impacting and she missed the mark. I had no connection to Jacqueline when it happened and I wanted some. That is all.
Luckily, Lucas calls her on this behaviour, or rather her failure to pay attention to any potential threat. He never rape-shames her either which is what made me continue. Because I instantly liked him, not her. He had more character in the first ten pages than she did.
Jacqueline grew on me though. She’s a musician, an upright bassist. She teaches children to play bass and she is not the idiot she appears to be in chapter one. I came to admire her struggles in the way that she had to grow beyond Kennedy, whose relationship she has forged her personality on. Now, as a single girl, Jacqueline expands her universe and quickly grows beyond him, even though she suspects Lucas to be nothing more than a brief fling.
Lucas sucked me in too, particularly so in the way that male romantic leads are designed to. He’s a brooding artist with a motorcycle and troubled past… of course I would like him. In fact I fell in love with him just as Jacqueline does. I sighed over his past and yearned for him and her to come together. Lucas fills her world and creates new singularities, new polar magnetism and new continents. Lucas is infinitely better for her despite his troubled past.
Their story, their ups and downs, their trials and tribulations are what this genre is all about. I get it now. I see the appeal, despite this book’s hit and misses. The beginning is weak, the pacing at the ending is wonky, and there is a predictable plot line involving Lucas and a sight unseen economics tutour, Landon, but beyond that I quite enjoyed this book. And, begrudgingly, I’ll admit am quite enjoying New Adult (despite it’s unfortunate name). It’s not perfect, but it’s refreshing. And I look forward to reading more.
4 out of 5 stars.