Malin’s #CBR5 Review #120: Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar

3.5 stars

Carly works the evening shift as a cook at a small cafe, so she can spend her days surfing. She’s estranged from her family, and dropped out of university, and keeps herself mostly to herself. The thing she can’t tell her family is that surfing is the only thing that makes sense to her anymore, and that helps her not to dwell on the incident after her high school graduation two years ago, when she got drunk, separated from her friends, and woke up in a strange apartment having been raped by three strangers. Carly doesn’t want to be a victim, and telling people about rape, always makes them pity and see you in a different light – so she doesn’t talk about it, and she allows no one to get close.

While Carly may want to stay isolated, there are people around her who want to get closer. Hannah, a Dutch woman estranged from her husband,lives upstairs from her (but has to keep using her shower because her plumbing is bad) and tries to take Carly salsa dancing and makes her breakfast. Danny, a persistent kid she meets while surfing has synesthesia and won’t leave her alone, even when the colour he sees her as is occasionally unpleasant. He keeps wanting to hang out and discuss surfing movies, and persuades Carly to get him a part time job at the cafe. Lastly, there is Ryan, who stands out from some of the crowd of macho surfer dudes. He doesn’t hide the fact that he’s just out of jail, and that he’d like a chance to get to know Carly better. He wants to turn his life around into something better, and if Carly will let him, he wants her to be a part of that life. The question is if Carly is ready to let him in?

More on my blog.

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Malin’s #CBR5 Review #64: True by Erin McCarthy

2.5 stars

Rory Macintosh is a shy med student, who shares a dorm room with two ditzy party girls. When they discover that Rory is still a virgin, they seem to think this is such a burden for her that they misguidedly go behind her back and pay someone to help her lose it. Said guy is Tyler Mann, a tattooed, struggling bad boy in the EMT program, who just wants to get a job as quickly as possible, so he can save his younger brothers from their drug addict mother. He’s under no illusions that he’s good enough for Rory, but he agrees to her roommates’ dumb plan (never intending to take their money), so he can get closer to her, and get to know her better.

Rory is worried about spending time with Tyler at first, as her roommate Jessica used to hook up with him. When she overhears her roommates talking about their “brilliant scheme”, she’s upset, but also puzzled, as while she’s been spending quite a bit of time with Tyler, he’s not really been obviously trying to get her into bed. Tyler keeps warning her away from him, especially after she finds out about his super dysfunctional home life. Rory’s dad is none too happy about her dating what he sees as a clear delinquent. Then Tyler’s mother does something that can destroy all Tyler’s chances of a decent future, and Rory has to decide what she really wants.

The Mama already reviewed this book. To see my take, go to my blog.

Jess’s #CRB5 Review #4: Easy, Tammara Webber

Tammara Webber’s Easy is sort of a pillar in this weird “new adult” fiction genre that’s slowly blowing up. On one hand, it’s great that authors are filling the void between books about high school romance and full-on adult romance. On the other, these books can be just as dirty as proper adult romance novels (not that is entirely a complaint, though, if that’s your jam). Usually, the characters are college-aged (not necessarily in college); the female protagonist is either a good girl looking to live it up a little, or a former bad girl who wants to be good but can’t fight her innate attraction to trouble; the male protagonist almost always hits every possible “bad boy with a heart of gold” trope there is. Relationship drama that is more or less appropriate to someone 18 to 23 years old then ensues (and is usually much darker than typical YA fare).

So, Easy. Our story opens with Jacqueline as she’s leaving an awkward frat party (she’s just been dumped by the boy she followed to this state school instead of pursuing her talents at a proper music school) and gets sexually assaulted in the parking lot by a winner named Buck. She’s saved by a mystery hot/emo-looking fellow – who turns out to be all-around swell guy with a past, Lucas (He’s an artist! He’s smart! He rides a motorcyle!). Things proceed with the fall-out of Jacqueline’s attack, Buck raping another girl, and Lucas sorting out his crap.

All in all, the book is actually pretty okay for what it is. Webber made the right choices with how she developed Jacqueline and the process of dealing with her trauma (she and friend take self-defense classes, she steps up when the second girl is attacked, but is still full of self-doubt and guilt). Reading this is in the wake of the Steubenville  rape case probably elevated my emotions a little; however, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it along with other upper-YA lit that tackles the same subject.