Saturday, November 24, 2012

Review: Easy by Tammara Webber

Interested in reading this book? I'm giving away a copy, along with twelve other books!

Review: Easy by Tammara Webber
Rating: ★★★
 
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.



I have conflicted thoughts about EASY. On the one hand, it didn’t make quite the impression on me I was expecting from all the hype. On the other hand, I read it straight through, very much wanting to find out what happened.

Also: IT’S NEW ADULT. I love New Adult because I happen to be one. This is a book set on a college campus dealing with the kinds of issues college-aged kids deal with: rape, relationships, sex, careers, classes, etc. The college world was believable and fun to read about. The heart of the subject matter is sexual assault, and I have to say that Webber explores this issue with a pretty deft hand.

The first scene is Jacqueline escaping a near-rape. It’s a powerful way to open a book, and yet it didn’t impact me like it should. I think the problem was Jacqueline. It took me a long time to connect to her, and I never felt her as deeply as most heroines. I felt like there was a bit of distance between her and me. I didn’t feel her trauma. Most of her anxiety in the ensuing pages is about her ex-boyfriend, her economics class, and figuring out the mystery of Lucas, the guy who saved her from Buck the would-be-rapist.

Jacqueline repeatedly says her passion is music, and talks about how she tutors local middle school students to play the upright bass. But we never see a scene of her playing or tutoring. I never believed she was a musician; it didn’t affect the way she saw things at all.

It took me a while to grow into Jacqueline, but by the end I started to get to know her. A little late, but the book really improved as I read. Some of the characters really popped, like Erin the roommate. She was the best. Lucas was a little too perfect: he draws, he’s a taekwondo master, he’s a straight A student, SPOILER THAT WASN’T A SURPRISE an economics tutor, handyman, barista, tattooed soulful man with a tortured past. Of course, he was swoon-worthy. Their flirting was so much fun. I actually loved that he lied to her, and that they actually did have arguments. I loved the way he supports Jacqueline and cares for her. The love scenes (for sure mature content) were wonderful and made me weak at the knees. Despite my issues with their characters, I loved their romance.

Oh, I so don’t want to sound this negative. I really didn’t hate it, guys. It has a powerful message about women taking control of their lives and not becoming victims. It just got to a slow start for me. A lot of obsessing over a useless ex-boyfriend and not failing econ class. Jacqueline frequently says she’s trying to forget the assault, but I don’t get the impression she’s really struggling with it. She struggles more with not thinking about Lucas or her ex. Once the book really started dealing with the trauma of sexual assault, I liked it a lot more. Jacqueline begins to take more control. She learns self-defense and how to stand up for herself. There are points that made me want to cheer and shout “GIRL POWER!”

But then there’s also a scene where a male character calls a young woman an “alcoholic skank” to her face and it is played as a victory. It was just one moment in a book otherwise filled with good messages, but it hit me wrong. In a book that taught how horrible it is to put blame on rape victims, to claim they were asking for it, to call them sluts, it was just so weird to me that the author would think it appropriate to use a derogative sexual term for laughs.

I also thought the other girls on Jacqueline’s floor were quick to judge when they thought she was hooking up with two different guys. This is college. That is hardly a shocking thing. Nobody on my floor sophomore year would have blinked if someone hooked up with two different people in two weeks. The less-than-stellar reactions of the Greeks to the rape claims were realistic, however. I enjoyed the way Webber portrayed all the different ways people think of rape.

But like I said, the latter half of the book really picks up. There’s action and heartbreak. We get to know the characters better. A scene where a teacher basically monologues all of Lucas’ background is a little convenient, but it’s certainly a powerful story. And like I said, the romance. It is steamy. It is beautiful. It made me fan my myself and reach for the cold water.

This book takes a very healthy view of female sexuality and at times it was just fun to read. There are also resources for sexual assault victims at the back of the book, which I liked. This book felt supportive. It was trying to reach out to girls who feel like their voices have been silenced, and that's always worthy.

In the end, I liked it. It’s well-written, intelligent, and has a very worthy subject matter. It’s no Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, which will stick with you for the rest of your life, but I think it’s worth a read. I won't be thinking about it tomorrow, and I’m not sure it deserves all the hype it’s gotten, but it may be just me.

18 comments:

  1. I need to get my hands on this book. Now. Lol great review :)

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  2. I've been wanting to read this one for awhile now, and it's still really high up on my TBR... but now I know to look out for these things! Nice review.

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    1. Lots of people really love this book, so you may like it too. I'm glad you'll read it anyway. I never want to discourage people from reading books.

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  3. Excellent review. I'm glad this book deals well with an important subject, but too bad you had trouble making a connection with the main character.

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    1. Yeah, I really wanted to like it more. It was good, but it didn't push it to the next level for me.

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  4. I see this book EVERYWHERE! I'm not fond of the cover, but it does look pretty good. Great review, I really liked it!

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    1. I agree, I actually think the cover is kind of creepy. Considering this book is all about unwanted sexual advances, she really doesn't look too receptive to his kiss.

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  5. Wonderful review! I have been waiting to read this book for a long time.

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  6. I don't know how badly I want to read this book. It doesn't seem that great to me.

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  7. I really enjoyed EASY, but that was just me. I had trouble getting through SPEAK, in all honesty, but I may have to give it another chance down the road. I also like how you try to make it clear that you don't want your thoughts to discourage others from reading a book. It's very rare that I write negative reviews (2.5 stars or lower) and the lowest rating I'll write a review for is 1.5 since 1 stars are books I DNF and I don't write those, so every time I write a review such as that I make it clear that this is my opinion and mine alone and it shouldn't entirely sway yours the way a lot of other reviews try to do. Haha, sorry, little rant, but I love your little comment above about that <3

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    1. I'm like you. I feel total agony trashing a book unless it really offended me. I do NOT want to be the person who convinces someone else not to read a book unless that book will actually damage their brain. Books are so subjective. While I might have had problems with EASY, I can totally see why you and a lot of people loved it.

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    2. Mhm. And I think a lot of other people need to have such an attitude. Example: the first 1.5 I ever gave was to a sci-fi/dystopia called GLITCH. I got some mean comments after that, but hey, we can't all agree! I think a lot more people need to have the same attitudes as us. lol

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  8. Oh~ I've heard a lot about this one and it all seems to be good. Books with so much hype scare me to the point that I will read the bad reviews as well to help ground me into reading it, lol. So it's nice to see you talk about why you did and did not like it~ makes me want to give it a chance to see where it'll fit for me. :) And who doesn't love a steamy romance~ thank you for the lovely review!

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  9. Now I have to be sure to add this to my TBR pile. When something (book/mmovie) has such conflicting reviews I have to read it to figure out my own 'two-cents'. lol

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  10. Hmm, a lot of the points you mentioned that bothered you are things that would frustrate me as well (especially if something is made out to be important, like her being a musician, and then really isn't). I think I'll push this lower on the TBR list . . . I'll probably read it eventually, but even with all the good reviews I have never been excited for this one.

    Thanks for the review!

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  11. Thanks for the review. I don't think I'll add this to be TBR pile. The things you mentioned that bothered you would really bother me. Those kind of things can break a book experience for me easily! So thanks for the honesty :)

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  12. I'm eventually going to pick this one up, it's just lower on my TBR shelf now. There was so much hype about this book that it made me want to pick it up as soon as possible. Your review showed me that certain points would bother me so I'm going to continue reading the books that I've been dying for and then read this one when I get around to it.

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  13. Good review - I really liked this book and especially liked lucas (: lol
    I totally get what you're saying about them author not emphasizing her struggle with the attacks. I never really notice that until you brought it up. But it is so true. I think that was actually part of the reason I liked this book so much - I feel like I can recommend it to anyone to read and they will get the message and be inspired with out going through the extremely emotional angst that some people can not handle.

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