I'm a closet contemp romance reader. (Well not so much now on goodreads you obviously see what I read). I have chosen to stay in the closet because normally when I finish reading one I feel dirty for having enjoyed the book. Yes, even more dirty than reading monstererotica. There is so much that can be wrong with most contemp romances. Tammmara Webber got it right. I don't feel dirty loving this book. I feel proud to be a fan of this genre. Feel that folks, smell it....that's fresh air. Fresh air is refreshing, cooling, clean and HEALTHY!!! That is what this book is. It is a healthy relationship. Some could argue that Lucas stalks Jackie. I say he wasn't creepy stalking, he most definately wasn't Edward Cullen/Christian Grey stalking. He was crush stalking. Girls do this all the time. You go to restraunts, coffee shops, bars etc that you have seen your crush at before. You just want to run into them and see them. It's harmless.
Lucas doesn't beat up every single person that looks at Jackie. He doesn't encourage her to drop all contact with her friends and family. He doesn't demand all of her time. He doesn't buy her expensive things to get her to sign a sex slave contract. This is a sweet love story. That's not say that this book is all sugar and teddy bears. Both MC's have horrible things happen to them. Lucas has as troubled childhood as Christian Grey. He turns to alcohol and fighting in his teen years like Christian. He cleans his act up in a healthy way though. (I AM NOT ARGUING REAL BDSM IS UNHEALTHY!!! FIFTY SHADES OF GREY IS NOT AN ACURATE DESCRIPTION OF BDSM!) He teaches self defense to women. He does not enjoy beating little brown haired girls that look like his mother. He doesn't intimadate and scare Jackie. He doesn't make her do anything she isn't comfortable doing. And Jackie doesn't DO anything she's uncomfortable doing. She is not a blank slate like Ana Steele. She has back bone. She has a learned her lession about letting a boyfriend dictate where her life goes. I could keep listing all the wonderful HEALTHY things about this book and relationship but in doing so I would be forgetting one very important aspect of this book.
This book addresses a very emotional and taboo topic. Rape. Not simulated rape. Not BDSM. This is not an abusive relationship between two (sorta) consensual adults that is mislabeled something it is clearly not and shoved down our throats as fantasy. It is actual rape. When the book started with a rape scene in the opening chapters I thought 'Oh no, we are going to be told to forget about this. The author is just using this as a tool to bring the two MCs together. Then she will forget about it.' Nope, I was wrong. Tammara Webber did not use this as a tool. She addressed this in a mature and healthy way. I was proud to be a contemp romance fan for once!
When I was in college I was an anthropology major. I focused on Feminist theory. I view the world thourgh a feminist lens. I read with a feminist lens. I want to tell you a little statistic I learned at the University of Iowa. I want you to think of four women you know. Have those women in mind? ONE in every FOUR women are sexually assulted. Physically, mentally and emotionally. ONE in FOUR of us is made to feel worthless, devalued, and had our power stripped away from us. I have a daughter. This is unacceptable to me! Miss Webber has a warning about the sexual content of this book and the use of alcohol. This book is labeled YA-M (NC-17). I however, urge mothers of young women in their teens (15+) to consider using this book as a tool to talk about this with your daughters. Teenagers drink, they have sex, the suffer from bulling and peer pressure. Education is the tool that you need to arm young people with. They need to know what rape is. Rape is power and control. Not sex. They need to know that it is never okay to take someones' power or control away from them. Ever. Thank you Ms. Webber for showing young and old gals that a healthy relationship is sexy. Plus guys with brown hair, tattoos and lip rings have always done it for me.