Title: Sex & Violence
Author: Carrie Mesrobian
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab
Pub Date: 10/28/13
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: This book is an impressive debut in both style and content. As a very character-driven novel, it explores the sexuality and initial thoughtlessness of the main character, Evan, as he recovers physically and psychologically from being beat up in a group shower. Though I wasn’t particularly keen on the prominence of sex in the story, I still read the entire thing and was impressed with the character development, use of a small-town Minnesota setting, and carefully crafted prose style. The author is brave for breaching these topics in a YA novel and did so in a complete and mostly believable way.
Memorable or Forgettable: There are three main things that made this book memorable for me. First of all, the story is an example of the unusual format of having the climax happen in the beginning and spending the following 250 pages exploring its aftermath. Secondly, the title is extremely memorable because it’s so in-your-face and made it difficult for me to find a place where I was comfortable reading the book. I didn’t want my parents, friends, or any strangers to walk by and say, “Wait, you’re reading WHAT?” This factor may make anyone who isn’t intimidated or turned off by the title to be too embarrassed to buy it or check it out. Third, the book made me uncomfortable several times and I found myself questioning certain things about teenage sexuality I had previously just ignored or taken for granted, which isn’t really what I look for in a novel, but might just be the author’s purpose in writing it.
Cover: The cover is rather beautiful for the words it has on it. I was intimidated and confused the first time I saw it, and only read the book because a friend of mine did first. I think to truly reflect the contents it would have to include something more directly involving a lake or cabins, but it’s fine the way it is.
Age Range: 16 through 18 and up
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 2P Only for special interest
tags: coming of age / ya lit