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?
Miss Riki’s Review:
Addressing the aftermath of assault and the consequences of casual sex, this novel doesn’t shy away from the tough topics and reality of teen life. There’s a lot of moral ambiguity in this story, and it should probably come with a trigger warning for some of the graphic content. It’s definitely a young adult novel for a more mature audience, but it is a worthwhile and even valuable narrative on PTSD.
What stands out the most for me in this book is the spot-on narrative voice of Evan. The male POV is extremely well done and I would have never guessed that I was reading a novel written by a female author. He’s an unreliable narrator at best, but his charm lies in his unabashed honesty and fragile temper. Despite his somewhat broken moral compass, as a reader I wanted him to find his way and my heart broke for his traumatic experience. There were definitely times that I wanted to smack him upside the head and tell him to get it together, but ultimately the book is about him finding his way, and there will be obvious struggles in that.
Something this book does really well is showing all of the varying experiences of teen sex. There’s a wide continuum, and the experiences of the teens in this book lie all along that line, from the mundane first time to the trauma of sexual assault. The novel does a good job of opening up a discussion about emotional and physical boundaries and the way that sex can complicate matters. Although it is subject material that is definitely aimed at a more mature young adult reader, it’s valuable.
I’m a big fan of young adult literature that isn’t afraid to uncover the truths about being a teen, and I feel like Sex & Violence was a daring attempt at realism. Be forewarned that it is graphic and at times violent, but still a worthwhile read.