Alright. So Angie reviewed Easy on Tuesday and by that evening I had bought the book, fully intending to hold on to it while I finished off other books I was reading. But then, I read a few pages. By lunch the next day I’d read the whole thing.
The Premise: Jacqueline Wallace is having a horrible sophomore semester in college. After 3 years together, her boyfriend Kennedy dumps her so that he can sleep with other girls. Two weeks after that, his frat brother Buck attacks Jacqueline in a parking lot and tries to rape her. She escapes only because a guy in her economics class was there. Shaken by the assault, all Jacqueline wants to do is to move on and act like nothing is wrong. She doesn’t tell anyone what happened, but Lucas, the boy who saved her knows, and suddenly she’s noticing him everywhere. To add to everything else, Jacqueline has missed two weeks of Economics because she was avoiding Kennedy and if she doesn’t make up the midterm she missed, she’s going to fail the class.
My Thoughts: Since I didn’t really look at any reviews besides the one before beginning Easy, I was genuinely freaked out by the first few pages. I didn’t know what would happen to Jacqueline, and I had a sinking feeling at the pit of my stomach when she walked to her truck and was suddenly pinned down from behind. I was relieved when a savior appeared, but after this incident I still worried since Jacqueline didn’t report Buck for the attempted rape. I’m putting that out there now for anyone for whom this would be uncomfortable with descriptions of sexual assault. My rule of thumb is not to discuss what happens after the first fifty pages of a book, so I won’t say whether things get darker for Jacqueline, but I will say that the first few pages with the attempted assault is at the threshold of what the reader actually gets to “see”.
As can be expected, Jacqueline wants to put the attack behind her. She has a lot of other things to deal with on top of her trauma. Besides getting over her breakup with Kennedy, tutoring upright bass, and working towards her music education major, she has to save her GPA by not failing in Economics. This means getting in touch with the class tutor, Landon Maxfield. As Jacqueline’s busy schedule would have it, she can’t make any of the face-to-face session with Landon, so instead they communicate by email, and what starts off as a formal interaction (“Mr. Maxfield”, “Ms. Wallace”), soon becomes a light flirtation (“I already looked forward to his name in my inbox, our back-and-forth banter”). At the same time, Jacqueline is also noticing someone else — Lucas, the guy who saved her from Buck. He sits in the back of her Economics class, sketching instead of taking notes, makes her coffee at Starbucks (he’s the barista), and shows up at the club to ask her to dance. He’s got a mysterious bad boy edge — lip piercing and tattoos, and girls coming up to him after class. At first seeing him makes Jacqueline relive that night, but after she’s noticed him, she’s drawn in, and it looks like the feeling is mutual.
Minutes before the end of class, I turned and reached into my backpack as an excuse to sneak a look at the guy on the back row. He was staring at me, a black pencil loose between his fingers, tapping the notebook in front of him. He slouched into his seat, one elbow over the back of it, one booted foot casually propped on the support under his desk. As our eyes held, his expression changed subtly from unreadable to the barest of smiles, though guarded. He didn’t look away, even when I glanced into my bag and then back at him.
I snapped forward, my face warming.
If you like romance with that delicious build-up of falling in love, where a couple’s addiction for one another is a force you can feel, this is probably a book you will like. Jacqueline is decidedly pursued over the course of seven weeks by a guy who says and does all the right things. I mean, this guy is good. Things begin with light touches and long stares and progress until the electricity is fairly crackling, but this guy is also respectful and not aggressive (mysterious too). When Jacqueline’s best friend and roommate Erin advises her to “make him chase you” that’s when things get interesting. And here’s when I get contrary. Yes, I was sucked in, but my own cynicism kept rearing its head. The male romantic lead here was too much of a fantasy for me, by all accounts some sort of dream guy, showing up at just the right time to boost Jacqueline’s confidence. I couldn’t stop myself from feeling disbelieving even as I raced to finish the book. It felt like there was so much going on with him that he unbalanced the story a little.
If Easy was just about the romance, I wouldn’t have liked this book as much as I did. I liked it’s depiction of college. This is not a book where the college setting is just icing — no, this story is permeated by its setting: dorm hallways as hangout areas, lectures with auditorium seating, lugging laundry to the basement, and equal parts study and being with friends. College life is shown with ups (like independence and intense friendships) as well as downs (like rumors and clique culture). The dialogue was particularly good — utterly natural and believable. I always felt like it captured the emotions of the moment.
I also liked Easy for being a story with a positive message. It put the blame of sexual assault where it belongs and had a proactive message to women as well. Those who blame the victim and support the abuser exist here, but are clearly not in the right. I loved the message of sisterhood and of women looking out for one another, and I was really invested in Jacqueline move upwards and forward from what happened. My empathy for Jacqueline made me cheer for all the positive things that came her way. This story wasn’t perfect (see above), but it was a good one.
Overall: An entertaining New Adult contemporary with a pro-female message. I quite happily was swept along by the easy writing style, the banter of the college set, and the electric romance. Even if part of me found Jacqueline’s hero too conveniently perfect to suspend my disbelief (he fell in that uncanny valley between an awesome guy and a god), I liked this one. Definitely worth the $3.99 I spent on it.
Buy: Amazon (kindle) | B&N (nook)
Dear Author – B+
Clear Eyes, Full Shelves – “I’m usually quite wary of self-published books, but Easy was worth the risk.”
Angieville – “Highly recommended, especially for fans of Jessica Park’s Flat-out Love, Jennifer Echols’ Going Too Far, all things new adult, and just substantial, swoony contemporaries in general.”
It’s exciting to see this book gain traction. St. Martin’s Press was going to publish a number of “new adult” books but it never seem to come to fruition. I wonder if this will kick start something?
I agree. It’s nice to see some of the self-published gems get attention!
There have been book bloggers posting about wanting more New Adult. There’s a list on goodreads with a bunch of examples (I wish I could link it here, but goodreads is down for maintenance right now), but as you’d expect it’s not as long a list as you’d want. I hope publishers start producing more books that are in those few years past high school.
OK, goodreads came back up. The New Adult listopia list is here.
Thanks. I just heard about New Adult in the last few weeks and I’m rather fascinated. Never mind that I’m 50. I’ve always loved college!
Joy’s Book Blog
I like to look back at it, but am glad it’s over! 😀 Just like high school. I remember studying for exams. Blergh.
Ha, OMG, Comfort Food is on that list. I shudder to think what teens are reading that thing.
I had to go look up what that book was. Yeah, so the downfall of the listopia lists is that anyone can vote and there’s always someone voting for a book that doesn’t fit the requirements of the list. Why the hell people do this, I have no idea.
I read the first few pages available on Amazon and I freaked out a little too….but it got better. Until the preview ended and I was annoyed because I wanted moar! <.<;
EASY sounds like it'd be something I'd really like. I keep wondering whether I should just get that free kindle app. Hm…
I WISH New Adult would catch fire—I don't mind reading about high school settings in YA but college settings would add a new flavor, so to speak. I think this might be on the goodreads list but Psych Major Syndrome has the MC in college–that was a cute read. 🙂
Oh and LOVELY review<3
Wait, do you not have a nook or kindle?
Agree with you on New Adult. You’re so spot on – there’s some flavor added in the college setting. I think it’s that new independence in the air! 🙂
Nope, I don’t own any type of e-reader. I tried using the nook once (my library has two or three that they lend out) but idk if it was because there wasn’t anything worth reading on it or what but I didn’t enjoy it and ended up returning the thing two days later. I am reconsidering e-readers though. I saw someone at BEA with this tiny kindle and I couldn’t help thinking how nice it’d be to not carry books around (and how cute it looked, lol).
That new independence and all the possible plot points that setting could open! More drama and growing up 😀
They DO look cute. I say check out the kindle at your local best buy, or the nook pocket at your local B&N. There’s a nook with a glow light now that I’m sorta interested in.. even though I have a nook already.
I’m glad you felt it was worth the price. And I agree wholeheartedly on the book’s themes. They were so nice to read about.
So worth the price. 🙂 Yup, liked the themes a lot. In particular it was really nice to see women sticking up for one another.
I plan to read this book in the next days and I’m excited for it. Hopefully I will enjoy it as much as you did.
Oh good. I think I saw you mention that on twitter. My guess is you’ll like this one. 🙂
Ha ha, I downloaded this too immediately after reading Angie’s review – only it took me a while to actually get it onto my Kindle and then I had to finish a few things, but it’s been there at the back of my mind as the book to read next. So great to hear you enjoyed it!
Angie’s reviews can be mighty persuasive! Looking forward to seeing how you liked it.
I must have read a different book summary because I wasn’t aware of the near rape. Hmm I skipped over your review and just read your overall thoughts – I’ll try to read this soon since you did mention on Twitter that it’s very easy to get into. So funny that several bloggers started reading this right after Angie reviewed it.
It doesn’t seem to be in the book blurb. I don’t understand the thinking behind that because the story begins with it and it can be triggery for some people. Maybe they want the romance to be the primary focus.. but this is also a message book in my mind.
Anyways, I think you should give this a go. It’s not as wrenching and beautiful as Raw Blue, but it’s definitely a suck-you-in type of story with an intense romance.
“If you like romance with that delicious build-up of falling in love, where a couple’s addiction for one another is a force you can feel, this is probably a book you will like.”
YES! I love that slow build, where the tension is so thick you can practically wade through it when reading:) I’m also really excited that this is set at college, it’s nice to have characters who are a touch older than the normal 16-17:) Thanks so much for the review Janicu!
Yup, that is in this book. *nods*. 🙂
A lot of people are commenting on wanting more books with older, college-aged teens. I am not sure why there aren’t more books like that out there.
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Holy crap, Janice! I’m so impressed that you didn’t even buy or start this until after Angie’s review, and yours is already up. That right there says something pretty big as far as I’m concerned. The fact that this is New Adult with a slow build up has me really wanting to check it out. I do get uncomfortable reading about assault, but sometimes I think you have to be uncomfortable to really challenge yourself and your mindset/worldview. Knowing it has a strong female message makes me sure it’ll be worth the discomfort!
That’s right, behold the power! (Actually I think I read it on a Tues-Wed, and then this post came up 6 days later). You should check it out I think. 🙂
These comments make me happy.
I also bought this after reading Angie’s review. The whole new adult thing really appeals to me, being a new adult myself and also desperately wanting to relive college — like I was never one of those students who studied all the time and my GPA did not suffer either (yay photographic memory for things that interest me). So yes, college was like my personal utopia.
Also I am glad you mention the attempted rape, as how authors deal with that sensitive topic interests me and I like reviewing those sorts of books because I can use them as a teaching moment in my review (the steps to take if you are raped, like getting to the hospital and getting the kit done and also getting the STD prevention meds) so yes, thanks for that.
Yes. World, bring me more New Adult please.
Ha, your experience sounds good. I liked college for feeling like I could finally be myself – everyone knew everyone in my town in HS and I always felt like I was under a spotlight there. In college I could blend in — so refreshing.
That’s a good approach to reviewing books that have those moments in them. My deal here is that someone has commented on my livejournal that they wanted to be warned of sexual assault within a story because they do have sensitivity to it, and I’ve always remembered that.
Like you I totally went out and bought this one before I even finished reading Angie’s review. Devoured it in a single sitting if you can believe it and I really enjoyed it. So much more than I was expecting and I just loved the characters, the setting, everything.
And yes!! More New Adult publishers! I’d buy those books in a heartbeat.
Yup. When Angie gets excited over a book I tend to listen. I can believe you read it in one sitting — the only reason I didn’t was that the Husband tends to make sure I get sleep (infuriating man).
Let’s hope that publishers are listening in on all of us discussing how we want more New Adult! 😀
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