Monday, December 03, 2012
Easy by Tammara Webber
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 was recommended this book at the SCBWI agents' party and immediately went home, downloaded it onto my Kindle and started reading. It has an explosive opening chapter; Jacqueline is horribly assaulted in a car park when leaving a party. It's traumatic reading and I was massively relieved when Lucas steps in to help her. All she wants to do then is to get back to normal. She tells no one, not even her room mate, and tries to ignore that anything has happened. However, Lucas is there to remind her that it was real and that she had a lucky escape. Instead of crumple and disappear Jacqueline starts to put her life back together again. First off she needs to counteract her absence in economics by doing some catch-up work to prevent being failed by her teacher. Secondly she attends a self-defense class to give her back her confidence and also some skills should she ever find herself in the same situation again.
Lucas is a wonderful character. At first Jacqueline decides that he's not her type with his tattoos and piercings. Her friends convince her that he's perfect rebound material to help her get over the ex. At first attracting him is just a game but they both realise that there's more than a little attraction between them. It's also a lesson in not giving in to first impressions. Lucas questions whether he actually interrupted an attempted rape, Jacqueline isn't sure if she could ever be interested in someone who looks like Lucas - what could they possibly have in common? However, they're drawn to each other and it's this growing relationship that makes Easy such a difficult book to put down.
There's a very strong message through the book that rape victims have a difficult time being believed. Jacqueline is lucky that Lucas was there to help her and that her friends are supportive. However, another character isn't so lucky and I found her treatment by her female peers difficult reading. It's the first time I've read a book where character's say that not being a virgin may make a rape accusation more difficult to prove. I hasten to add that this is appropriately squashed by other characters but it goes to show that this book doesn't hold back on the reality of the harsh words that rape victims can face.
Easy manages a difficult feat of being a magnetic read whilst highlighting serious issues. It entertained and surprised me and I'm eager to read more by this author. As an aside, this is mature YA or New Adult and as such it doesn't hold back on the physical relationship between the main characters nor the realities of rape.