Author: Tammara Webber
Published: May 24, 2012
A girl who believes trust can be misplaced, promises are made to be broken, and loyalty is an illusion. A boy who believes truth is relative, lies can mask unbearable pain, and guilt is eternal. Will what they find in each other validate their conclusions, or disprove them all?
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.
- For this post, Christina is accompanied by her friend Jen (some of you may know her as JenDoesGym), and they both really enjoyed this title. It’s going straight to the top shelf!
***SPECIAL NOTE*** This novel begins with a graphic scene that could be disturbing to some readers, especially those with triggers (or other issues) in regards to non-consensual sex. Even though the crime doesn’t actually happen because it’s stopped prior to taking place, this (as well as other situations in the story) may be difficult for certain readers to digest. Fair warning.
Jen: After having her heart broken by her boyfriend of three years, and becoming a victim of sexual assault, Jacqueline is trying to figure out how to put her life back together. Unexpectedly, two “very different” boys come into her life and she feels an attraction to both of them.
I can’t say enough about how much I loved this book. As soon as I was done, I went right back the beginning to read it again.
Christina: This was my first foray into the newest genre being referred to as New Adult. I thought the age range suited my taste perfectly, and there’s just enough extra something-something as far as sexual content goes to makes me a very happy person.
“His breath in my ear, he ran his tongue along the curved edge, sucking the fleshy lobe and my small diamond stud into his mouth, and my eyes drifted closed while I babbled a weak sound of longing.”
Hmmmm? Am I right?
As far as the story, it was a little difficult to read in spots because of the subject matter, but I loved it overall. Though the running theme seems to be centered around rape and how different women handle it, Webber excels at not making it the sole focus of the book, but still gives it the adequate attention such a subject requires. This book actually has a little bit of everything: humor, angst, romance, and mystery. I still thought about all the characters long after I had closed my Nook, and quickly found myself reading back through all my favorite passages.
- The Characters
~Jacqueline: our protagonist
Jen: I can’t say Jacqueline is the typical college girl, but maybe she is? She is in her second year of college where she followed her high school sweetheart, Kennedy. It was his college of choice, even though it wasn’t the best decision for her as a music major. Not long into the fall semester, Kennedy dumps “Jackie” so he can get a chance to play the field before his lifelong dream of becoming a politician. Jerk? Definitely!
I don’t always agree with Jacqueline’s choices, especially the one where she doesn’t report her assault to the authorities. However, you definitely see Jacqueline evolve from dependent to independent throughout the book. She goes from being Kennedy’s girlfriend to a single woman faced with attempted rape in the matter of two weeks. She somehow pulls herself together from both events. With a little push and support from her roommate and close friend, Erin, Jacqueline begins the steps to becoming a more empowered and independent young woman. And Lucas kinda helps a little bit, too.
Christina: I absolutely agree with all of what Jen said. In the beginning, I wanted to shake her and be like, “Stop being that girl!” But I was never the one to hold on to guys (or to let them hold on to me). If they wanted out, “Hey, their loss.” So, watching her go through this transformation from being obsessed over her ex and the life they did and/or could’ve had to this self-assured, kickass female was very rewarding. I always appreciate character growth, and Ms. Webber developed her wonderfully.
~Lucas: Hello, hotty hero!
Jen: Queue the swoony sighs…….Lucas is our reluctant hero. He’s the mysterious, artistic guy in Jacqueline’s econ class. Jacqueline often finds him staring at her during class, alternating with drawing in his sketchbook (and never paying attention to the professor). Lucas is somewhat aloof, but he is great eye candy with his lean body and mysterious tattoos. Can a certain girl unravel the mystery behind all that body art?
Christina: UNF! Those tattoos were my undoing. (Wait until you hear Jacqueline describe them. You will die.) Oooooh, and don’t forget the lip piercing either. RAWR!
“I felt an impulse to bring my fingertips to his face and trail them over his freshly shaven jaw, the sexy scruff from yesterday gone. His skin wouldn’t redden mine now if he kissed me, hard. I would feel nothing but his mouth on mine—and maybe that slim ring at the edge of his lip…”
He’s exactly the kind of guy that I always find myself drawn to, back in my college days and even now. Except for these days, only looking is allowed, you know? (This is where that “married thing” is an inconvenience, lol.) He’s brooding, but sweet; the artistic type (suffer in silence), but really open and conversational. He manages to somehow be elusive while always being around– hero in waiting, I guess you could say.
“I had never noticed Lucas before that night. It was though he didn’t exist, and then suddenly, he was everywhere.”
~Landon: the mysterious tutor
Christina: I loved the email interactions between Landon and Jacqueline; their banter was so cute. It was easy for me to see how they formed a bit of a relationship online. He balanced the right amount of smart without coming across as an all-knowing a**hole. He listened sympathetically to Jacqueline’s situation and never once judged her or formed opinions on some of her stupid-to-me choices, like choosing college for a boyfriend instead of choosing one that catered to her interests and specialized in her field of study.
Jen: Well, their email interactions did start off on the wrong foot. Landon came across a bit condescending and Jacqueline’s knee jerk reaction wasn’t overly mature. However, the two of them quickly fell into a comfortable routine. I liked how the author used email as a way to develop Landon and Jacqueline’s relationship. It was totally believable to me in this age of social media that feelings could bloom through email exchanges. And I could definitely feel things developing between them through their words.
~Erin: Jacqueline’s best friend and roommate
Christina: I actually really enjoyed her the most out of all the characters, aside from Jacqueline and Lucas, of course. She was the perfect secondary character and had some (or all) of the best one-liners in the book. I loved that she was a spit-fire, former cheerleader turned Greek sorority sister, but wasn’t that cliched b*tchy airhead that is usually associated with that type of girl, or at least in literature. She was Jacqueline’s biggest supporter through everything, and I felt like she was integral, mostly for the comedic relief she offered, to the story.
Jen: I agree. Erin was a positive and strong female influence in this story. She was a great friend to Jacqueline, putting her own happiness second to Jacqueline’s. And she gave Jacqueline the extra push she needed where Lucas was concerned. As a former sorority girl myself, I totally agreed with the author’s portrayal of Greek life. It’s the “sisterhood” and “brotherhood” above all else. It’s the definition of a clique if there ever was one.
- The Relationship/Romance:
Jen: I believe the romance was perfect. After her assault, Lucas was very sensitive to Jacqueline. At the same time, he is also clear about his attraction. He asks permission before he touches her which makes him all the more romantic.
The first time they are alone together, Lucas is sketching Jacqueline, one of his favorite pastimes. My stomach still gets all flippy-floppy with the amount of sexual tension between them. And it’s a stellar first kiss.
“His lips were warm and firm, pressing against mine, and when his tongue began a gentle onslaught against the line of my lips, I opened them…he drew me up, scooping me onto his lap…his hand cradling my head, he kissed a path down my neck and into the V of my t-shirt. My head fell back as I tried to form a rational thought.”
Um, yeah. Even I couldn’t think after that! (Christina nods. Yep. No rational thoughts here either.)
Both Jacqueline and Lucas had their own issues that they needed to work through in order to commit to a relationship. There’s also are some extenuating circumstances that keep their relationship at a standstill (or maybe a snail’s pace), until the end of the semester. It only helps to build up the sexual tension between the two of them.
Christina: Holy smokes, you guys, the romance is slow-building but so freaking hot… but also really sweet and swoony, too. Every time these two are around one another, I had butterflies and a serious case of hot flashes because their chemistry sets each page on fire. One of my favorite scenes is when they dance together at a small club. It’s way too big to copy/paste, but once you read this scene, come back and tell me what you thought because… HOT. DAYUM. I’m just sayin’. *fans self*
- The Message
Christina: I loved the women-empowerment message that came through loud and clear by the end. The author definitely makes it clear that no man ever has the right to lay his hands on a female without her permission. I was encouraged by all the ways that the girls banded together to make sure that Buck got everything that he deserved and more. Also, the self-defense class was definitely an added perk and showed just one of the ways in which a woman can take back her life.
Jen: I totally agree with Christina. It was definitely a “girl power” kind of book. And not just with the sexual assault. Jacqueline takes back the control and has the strength to stand up to Kennedy when he tries to manipulate her.
- The Ending
Jen: I would love a sequel, but that’s probably because I was so attached to the characters. Having said that, I feel like the author did the story justice and the ending felt natural. I was happy with the epilogue and had a smile on my face when it was over.
Christina: When you fall in love with characters, it’s always easy to want more time with them, but I don’t think that’s particularly the case for me with this book. The author gave us an incredible peek into their future together by giving us an epilogue, and that was enough for me. I’ll miss the characters, yes, but now I don’t feel like I have to wonder where they’ll end up.