By Charlotte Stein
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Publication Date: March 9, 2012
Genre: New Adult/Young Adult-Mature
Evie has lived her entire life under her abusive father’s thumb. He controls everything. Where she goes to college, who she sees, what she does. But when she meets Van—a punk who shows her how different life could be—she realizes how much she’s been missing.
Van offers her excitement, protection, love…and most of all, sex—even if he’s at first reluctant to give her all the things she’s been craving. She wants to explore this new world of arousal and desire, but Van is only too aware of how fragile she is, how innocent…
And how much is at stake, when their love is forbidden.
You absolutely have to ignore that cover. It doesn’t reflect the characters’ age (they’re 19), doesn’t look like them and really doesn’t even fit anywhere in the story. It may look like a typical Ellora’s Cave cover but I don’t know who was thinking it would fit on a Young Adult book. This is only the second book that is a true DNF for me since I started blogging – I stopped at the 55% mark so I can only go so far with my thoughts – but it’s getting some wildly positive reviews and I just wanted to share some of what made me quit reading. Because I like to be contrary, you know.
Evie has been spying on Van buying pot from her neighbor for a while when he finally catches her and goes over to talk to her. She turns into a stuttering mess at the sight of this boy from the other side of the tracks and he becomes the star of her nocturnal sexual fantasies which she can’t decide if she should be ashamed of or not. She becomes a little obsessed with Van, continuing to see him in fits and spurts as their relationship gets serious, he backs off, it advances, and he backs off, claiming he doesn’t want to rush her. I finally gave up at the point where they were in the middle of a “won’t rush you’ that involved oral sex, Evie hopping in bed naked and Van diving in after her after being reluctant about how fast things were moving.
From the moment I opened the book, I felt like there was no context for either character or their situations. It started with Evie spying on the drug dealer next door and moved to Van catching her. No history or interaction with Evie’s family – the synopsis promises some sort of abusive situation with her father and the closest that I got in my 55% was Evie musing about having taken a belt, being made to bike to Bible class and her worrying about her father hearing her nighttime fantasies about Van. Her parents appeared once in that 55%, the rest was mainly Evie and Van spending time at Evie’s house – wouldn’t she be even slightly worried about her parents or sister catching them, ever?
As for Van, halfway through the book, I know he lives in a bad part of the city where Chinese chefs chop the heads off of chickens, he’s got a motorcycle, he draws on his Chucks, gets tattoos and piercings and buys weed. I have no idea if he has family, a job, friends, or if he’s smart or dumb as a stump.
This was more sexually explicit than I thought it would be – for a girl that was “sheltered,” Evie is ready to dive in sex pretty fast. She was the aggressor several times and as a result, I didn’t even find the scenes all that steamy, just uncomfortable and sort of unbelievable.
My Summary: Maybe at the 56% mark something momentous happened that explained it all and was that magic moment where the book came together but I wasn’t willing to keep with this. Van and Evie barely had any conversations so I don’t know why they were a couple. Evie’s parents were barely even in the book so I don’t know why or how she was under their thumb. Other than his tats, piercings and pot smoking, I don’t even know why Van was such a rebel. This promised Rocky Road with extra fudge and delivered Pineapple – it really pained me to not be able to finish it.