Sex and Violence by Carrie Mesrobian
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?
HOW DO YOU GO ON, WHEN YOU CAN’T THINK OF ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER?
Nothing seems natural to Evan anymore. Nothing seems safe. The fear–and the guilt–are inescapable. He can’t sort out how he feels about anyone, least of all himself. Evan’s really never known another person well, and Pearl Lake is the kind of place where people know everything about each other–where there might be other reasons to talk to a girl. It’s annoying as hell. It might also be Evan’s best shot to untangle sex and violence. – Jacket Synopsis
This book is centered around 17 year old Evan Carter. Evan and his father move from town to town never laying down roots and never staying long. Evan is continually the new kid. Evan’s mind seems to focus on one thing, The Girl Who Would Say Yes. The Girl Who Would Say Yes is a girl that is not a “normal” girl but usually an alternative girl that will say yes to sex. That all changes with Collette. Collette doesn’t meet Evan’s typical Girl Who Would Say Yes profile, Collette is what Evan would refer to as a ‘’normal’’ girl, but a relationship starts between the two of them anyways. Unfortunately, Evan ends up being in the wrong place at the wrong time and is severely beaten because of a jealous ex in a community shower in the private school dorms. Evan is beaten so brutally that he loses consciousness and wakes up in the hospital with acute injuries. The worst injury that Evan sustained ended with the removal of his spleen. In light of his son’s experience, Evan’s father feels that it would be for the best if they take a break from their constant travel and return to their family home in Pearl Lake, Minnesota so Evan can recuperate. As Evan’s body heals however, it becomes apparent that the damage was far beyond physical. Traumatized by his assault, Evan develops an intense fear of showers, even when no one is around to hurt him. Evan undergoes therapy, resulting in part of the novel being written through the letters he has to write as part of his recovery. The rest of the novel focuses on Evan’s recovery in Pearl Lake with the locals who can’t seem to mind their own business.
One thing that is continually mentioned in other’s reviews and something that I had noticed as well is the treatment of women in the novel. So many times in books, especially in the YA genre, a girl will find a guy and all her problems are solved. Nothing can go wrong because she caught the eye of a guy from across the room that she has had a crush on since kindergarten; life is great and always will be. Not so in this book, the characters feel more real, like they are actually capable of making logical decisions. I really loved how the characters were represented, I felt like I was reading someone’s diary or in their head. Probably the best part of the book for me was the characters.
Another that that I thought this book captured really well was the sense of community. Evan has moved around from place to place for years and has never really had to deal with anything quite like the community at Pearl Lake. Evan before moving to Pearl Lake would make a decision and not care about the consequences of that decision because he would be out of there before anything happened. With the community at Pearl Lake and the fact that he is still recuperating Evan for the first time in years has to deal with the consequences of his actions and who might be hurt because of it.
I feel I should mention that this book is one of the finalists for the William C. Morris award. For those who don’t know the Morris award celebrates debut authors with impressive new voices in the world of Young Adult literature.
What are your thoughts? Love it? Hate it? Somewhere in between? Do you feel that it is deserving of the Morris nomination? Let us know in the comments below.