Showing posts with label university. Show all posts
Showing posts with label university. Show all posts

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Recommendation: Wrecked - Maria Padian: Sexual Assault in College

In WRECKED, Jenny gets sexually assaulted at a party, but the people around her are too preoccupied with their own lives to get what's going on.

What intrigued me: I usually don't go for novels with themes like these, I wanted to step out of my comfort zone.

Smart and Compelling

WRECKED is an incredibly unique read. It's written in multiple perspectives from people who in some way are connected to Jenny and the rape. Padian cleverly gives all of them their own struggles, their own little problems that make it easy to ignore what's happening outside of that. 

Each storyline is compelling in its own: Haley, who gets benched in her soccer team after a live-threatening concussion; and Richard, who just got dumped by Carrie whom he desperately wants to win back. I was invested in their struggles and it's such a smart way to illustrate what happens in real life as well. People are just preoccupied with their own lives. So smart, such a fantastic metaphor.

WRECKED is essentially a guessing game, even though it seems obvious at first, you'll constantly feel insecure in your perception of what actually happened. It's definitely one of those books that you have to read multiple times to fully get the whole picture.

Literary and Character-Driven

The writing is also extraordinary and another reason why I'm very sure WRECKED will go on to win a couple literary awards in the future. It's very literary, very much character-driven with a very strange, unique narrative voice in each POV. The narration flip flops back and forth between past and present and uses flashbacks to give background information. Normally, this wouldn't work. For Padian it does. I have no idea how. 

Exactly this contributes to the icky feeling I had while reading. There are constantly new thing revealed about the people involved and you never know what to think or whom to trust. I grew especially invested in Richard's storyline, the boy that's so blinded by his love for his ex-girlfriend that he doesn't realize it's an obsession. It's weird to be on the other side of a situation that I'm sure many girls out there have experienced - dating the boy who just doesn't take no for an answer. 

The story in itself is just so compelling and it's absolute word magic to convey this serious topic in such a subtle way, yet make it so obvious that the reader knows what happened from page five on. Just fantastic.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

WRECKED is a very important book that should be compulsory reading at every school. An absolute recommendation if you don't mind YA that's on the literary side.

Additional Info

Published: October 4th 2016
Pages: 368
Publisher: Algonquin
Genre: YA / Contemporary
ISBN: 9781616206246

"Everyone has heard a different version of what happened that night at MacCallum College. Haley was already in bed when her roommate, Jenny, arrived home shell-shocked from the wild Conundrum House party. Richard heard his housemate Jordan brag about the cute freshman he hooked up with. When Jenny formally accuses Jordan of rape, Haley and Richard find themselves pushed onto opposite sides of the school’s investigation. But conflicting interests fueling conflicting versions of the story may make bringing the truth to light nearly impossible--especially when reputations, relationships, and whole futures are riding on the verdict."
(Source: Goodreads)

Can you recommend any good books about sexual assault?

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Friday, July 1, 2016

Recommendation: Last Will and Testament (Radleigh University #1) - Dahlia Adler: Dating the TA and Becoming an Adult

In LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT, party girl Lizzie has to take care of her little brothers and become their guardian after her parents die in an accident. 

What intrigued me: I don't read New Adult often, but when I do, it's because it was recommended. Like this one.

Fantastic voice

LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT had me hooked from the first page. Adler has an uncanny ability to utterly suck you into this novel's world. The writing is super accessible, fun, and easy to read. Adler's characters don't need much introduction, it just jumps right into the action.

Paired with a story that is absolutely not light, but rather heavy in the best, subtle yet gut-wrenching way; LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT has a perfect equilibrium. I love novels with easy writing that tackle dark themes. Though I wouldn't have minded if it had tapped more into the dark places, considering that Lizzie loses both her parents and has to completely change up her life in a relatively short time.

Lizzie's voice is really fantastic. Adler manages to capture her narrative voice at the intersection between teen and adult in a way that I have hardly ever encountered before. Lizzie is sassy, Lizzie is teen, and Lizzie is badass, and incredibly likeable. Lizzie definitely carries LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT and makes it stand out. I immediately found myself identifying with her narration and enjoying it. But the thing that I enjoyed by far the most about Lizzie is the fact that she's a valedictorian who stopped getting good grades in college - for ... well, for no reason really. There are too few characters like her and reading about her experience hit close to home for me. LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT tells the story of a girl growing up, of a girl taking responsibility and charge of her life.

Fresh & fun

I fell hopelessly in love with the love interest Connor, Lizzie's TA who really doesn't like her. Their banter is hilarious and easily my highlight of LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT. I love a good hate-to-love story and Adler absolutely pulls it off. I enjoyed that Adler decided to take it slow with the romance, which contributes to the realistic feel - it doesn't feel forced, but like a natural consequence. A truly organic romance.

It truly is a fresh of breath air to read about characters that I find go completely into the different direction of what I'm used to seeing in this genre. I loved the forbidden-romance aspect, considering this is technically a teacher/student relationship, even if the age difference isn't really that relevant.

LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT is a breath of fresh air, amazes with unique, quirky characters and a fantastic voice. And more importantly such a good read that you will finish this in one sitting like I did. Did I mention that it has a Filipina lead? Cue the choir of angels singing. 

Adler is definitely an author to watch. I'll certainly be reading more books by her.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT is easily among my favorite New Adult contemporaries. A true gem.

Additional Info

Published: December 9th 2014
Pages: 414
Publisher: Smashwords
Genre: New Adult / Contemporary
ISBN: 9780990916802

"Lizzie Brandt was valedictorian of her high school class, but at Radleigh University, all she's acing are partying and hooking up with the wrong guys. But all that changes when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, making her guardian to her two younger brothers. To keep them out of foster care, she'll have to fix up her image, her life, and her GPA—fast. Too bad the only person on campus she can go to for help is her humorless, pedantic Byzantine History TA, Connor Lawson, who isn't exactly Lizzie's biggest fan.

But Connor surprises her. Not only is he a great tutor, but he’s also a pretty great babysitter. And chauffeur. And listener. And he understands exactly what it’s like to be on your own before you're ready. Before long, Lizzie realizes having a responsible-adult type around has its perks... and that she'd like to do some rather irresponsible (but considerably adult) things with him as well. Good thing he's not the kind of guy who'd ever reciprocate.

Until he does.

Until they turn into far more than teacher and student.

Until the relationship that helped put their lives back together threatens everything they both have left."(Source: Goodreads)

What's your favorite NA read?

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