Friday, January 31, 2014

Deeper by Robin York

The Basics:
Deeper by Robin York
Book One in the Caroline & West series
Romance, New Adult
Published January 28, 2014
Source: Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Why I picked up this book:

I love romances that develop between friends. There's something much more realistic, to me, about this kind of love story than love at first sight tales.


In this New Adult debut by Robin York, a college student is attacked online and must restore her name—and stay clear of a guy who’s wrong for her, but feels so right.
When Caroline Piasecki’s ex-boyfriend posts their sex pictures on the Internet, it destroys her reputation as a nice college girl. Suddenly her once-promising future doesn’t look so bright. Caroline tries to make the pictures disappear, hoping time will bury her shame. Then a guy she barely knows rises to her defense and punches her ex to the ground.
West Leavitt is the last person Caroline needs in her life. Everyone knows he’s shady. Still, Caroline is drawn to his confidence and swagger—even after promising her dad she’ll keep her distance. On late, sleepless nights, Caroline starts wandering into the bakery where West works.
They hang out, they talk, they listen. Though Caroline and West tell each other they’re “just friends,” their feelings intensify until it becomes impossible to pretend. The more complicated her relationship with West gets, the harder Caroline has to struggle to discover what she wants for herself—and the easier it becomes to find the courage she needs to fight back against the people who would judge her.
When all seems lost, sometimes the only place to go is deeper.

Why I picked up this book:

I love romances that develop between friends. There's something much more realistic, to me, about this kind of love story than love at first sight tales.

My thoughts:

Heartwrenching, heartbreaking.
Grabbed me by the throat.
Couldn't turn away.
Read start to finish without pause.
The story, the characters, everything stayed with me for days afterwards.

Deeper took me completely by surprise. I wasn't expecting such a raw, emotional journey. I wasn't expecting to fall in love with Caroline and West as individuals. I was so satisfied with the book when I finally put it down, but so thrilled when I discovered that there's a sequel due in July. I want to spend more time with these characters.

The narration swaps back and forth between Caroline and West, which allows us to get to know them both as individuals. This is important because they're both on emotional, complex journeys and it would be unfair to West, as normally in this type of story we only get the female's perspective, for us not to know more about him. 

Starting with West, he's above and beyond swoon-worthy. He's real. He's gritty and responsible and deviant and delicious. Caroline is fierce, strong, naive, brave, vulnerable. The two of them together are so sweet and sexy and broken. They have so much to teach each other, to learn together.... I wanted them both to rise up above the challenges they were facing. I was cheering them on as individuals first and as a couple second which is very unusual for me. Don't get me wrong - they are incredible together, in whatever capacity. This book does a fantastic job of capturing the crazy hormonal, tender, harsh, sweet and sexy reality of relationships. 

Though I'm eager to discuss the many issues raised in this book, I'll resist so you can enjoy it all fresh. I will say that the novel does start off really heavy with Caroline the victim of revenge porn, a plot point that is central to the story. It's an issue that the author addresses in her Author's Note at the end of the book, and it's definitely one that I think the book handles well. It made me cry, it made me want to give this book to every teenager that I know. 

Really, I wanted to reach out to anyone in Caroline *or* West's positions and help as much as I can.    

There's a lot in this book that feels really raw. The language is honest, and appropriately explicit, as are the descriptions of sex and sexual longing. Emotionally, everyone's right on the edge and that really comes through in the writing. There's definitely a balance with tender moments, with self-deprecating thoughts and so forth, and I think the book hits the right note as a whole. 

I really, really enjoyed it. A serious contender for Top Ten for 2014!

Bottom Line:

Read this one. Read it. If you're a fan of New Adult, of contemporary romance, of angsty and emotional stories, you're going to love this. I loved it. LOVED it. I'm already reading it a second time, and I added the sequel to my 'must acquire' list. Truly, I think - I hope - you'll love this one too.

5 stars
For fans of contemporary romance, New Adult, angst, guys who rise about being DMBLIs (darkly mysterious, brooding love interests).

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