Sex & Violence is a YA book that puts a different spin on what can be a common theme of a damaged boy/girl in YA book-land. It is not just rehashing a popular story arc; it is fresh and creative and most of all a pleasure to read.Sex & Violence by Carrie Mesrobian
Published by Lerner Publishing Group on 1 Oct 2013
Genres: Realistic Fiction, YA Contemporary
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AT FIRST YOU DON'T SEE THE CONNECTION.
Sex 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
My Recap :
Seventeen-year old Evan is always a stranger, always a new boy. His father moves a lot for work and so Evan finds himself time and again starting a new school, never staying long enough to make friends. He is however skilled at finding girls who are happy to say yes before he moves on and that is his main focus in life. Until one day, his actions lead to shocking violence.
My Thoughts :
Over and over this year, I have read umpteen books where a damaged girl/boy meets the love of her/his life and in doing so they are healed and saved. And as a plotline this quickly becomes contrived and repetitive. Sex & Violence thankfully is not in that category. There is no quick fix, no instant remedies.
Evan took an awful beating at the hands of some angry boyfriends and is left with PTSD which is vividly portrayed. At first he seems to be so damaged emotionally and physically that I felt like all the kings horses and all the kings men couldn’t put Evan together again. His mother died when he was young, he has a distant relationship with his father, he has no friends and no one to help him through everything he is now struggling with.
After the attack, his father moves them for the summer to their family cabin in rural Pearl Lake, Minnesota. And it is here that finally Evan starts the long, slow, painful process of healing. He is finally part of a community, he can make friends and even get to know his father a little. He is full of fear though and for once sex is the last thing on his mind.
Evan is a really interesting character, slowly we get to know him through a series of letters that he writes to the girl that was in the attack with him. It’s hard not to feel attached to him, he never hurts anyone, is always upfront about his intentions and makes no false promises to anyone. It’s lovely to see him making friends, real friends like his friendship with Tom which is unlike anything he has ever had before.
Baker, the girl next door, is a great character too. And I initially thought that Baker would be the girl riding in on the white horse to save Evan but I underestimated this book. That is far from the case. There are lots of interesting secondary characters and initially I got intimidated with the large cast that appeared when Evan moved to Pearl Lake but very quickly I got a feel for them all as individuals and didn’t get them mixed up.
With a unique storyline, interesting well developed characters and intelligent writing this book is a great addition to your YA library. As a warning this book features underage drinking, mild drug taking, strong language, sex and violence (but neither of them in a graphic way, more a fade to black) so if you are easily offended, stay away but I think that might be obvious from the title! I also think it would be a shame to avoid the book for these reasons as it is one well worth reading.
Who should read this book?
I’d highly recommend this one to fans of YA books who appreciate thoughtful, unique, realistic plotlines and absorbing characters. And also to all those who like male POV’s as I feel like we get a real insight into the mind of a teenage boy.
Thanks to NetGalley and Lerner Publishing Group for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.