Written by: Beth Woodward, CC2K Books Editor
The book Easy by Tammara Webber is part of the emerging “New Adult” genre—books featuring characters between the ages of 18 and 22. I’d never read anything in the genre before, but it seems like a good market to serve. I remember, as a college student, being dissatisfied with my reading choices: young adult books were too young, and adult books featured characters years older than me whose experiences weren’t relevant to mine. The New Adult genre, in contrast, can explore situations unique to college-aged young adults.
As far as my introduction to the genre goes, Easy was a good, if not great, place to start.
The book description, courtesy of Tammara Webber’s website:
When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup two months into sophomore year. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she’s single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, and failing a class for the first time in her life.
Leaving a party alone, Jacqueline is assaulted by her ex’s frat brother. Rescued by a stranger who seems to be in the right place at the right time, she wants nothing more than to forget the attack and that night–but her savior, Lucas, sits on the back row of her econ class, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. Her friends nominate him to be the perfect rebound.
When her attacker turns stalker, Jacqueline has a choice: crumple in defeat or learn to fight back. Lucas remains protective, but he’s hiding secrets of his own. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy.
I’m going to start with a side note that, actually, doesn’t have very much to do with the book: the book description on Webber’s website (which I pulled) is not the same as the description on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. The one on Amazon and Barnes & Noble sounds more enticing, but this one is a much more accurate reflection of what this book is about.
Jacqueline is a college sophomore who gets dumped by her ultra-popular wannabe lawyer boyfriend. She doesn’t deal with the breakup very well. Several weeks afterwards, her friends drag her to a party, where she is assaulted and nearly raped by one of her ex’s friends. She’s rescued by a mysterious boy named Lucas, who subsequently an annoying tendency to pop in and out of her life randomly. Meanwhile, she also starts to develop feelings for her economics tutor named Landon, whom she’s only corresponded with via e-mail.
When the focus shifts abruptly from Jacqueline’s near rape to the love triangle with Landon and Lucas, I worried that the assault would be forgotten altogether, just a convenient plot point to get Jacqueline and Lucas together. But I was, thankfully, wrong about that. The assault seems to come up at unexpected moments, and then later becomes a pivotal plot point in the story.
For better or worse, though, I found myself much more interested in the budding romance of the story. I saw the big “twist” in the love triangle coming a mile away, but it was fun getting there. In addition, the way bits and pieces of Lucas’s dark past come out in the story was enough to keep me turning the pages, wondering about more.
I had a few problems with the story, though. I felt like, in the end, the sexual assault storyline was resolved too easily—especially given everything we’ve heard in the news lately about colleges mishandling rape allegations. In addition, as I said, I felt much more emotionally invested in the romantic storyline than the assault story, and I felt like it should have been just the opposite.
In the end, I felt like it was a good, but not great book. I’m glad to find a book tackling the oft-ignored (and unfortunately, very widespread) problem of on-campus rape and sexual assault. But I thought that the story could have been much more resonant than it was.
I received this book as an e-ARC through NetGalley. Easy is available now.