Author: Tammara Webber
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.
First things first, this books was amazing. Now I say that about a lot of books, but this one I’d actually recommend every female to read. Why? Because this book addresses sexual assault and the idea of guilt. Even if you’ve never experienced it for yourself (which hopefully you haven’t) it’s an eye opener to that side of the world and it’s something that every female should understand. And if this has ever happened to you, please remember, it was not your fault.
Jacqueline is in her second year of university and two months in, her long time boyfriend, Kennedy, dumped her to “play the field”. Unable to face him, she spends the next two weeks avoiding him and skipping economics, the only class they had together. Forced to go to Kennedy’s frat party by her roommate, Jacqueline spends the night watching Kennedy hit on and get hit on by girls. Unable to take it, she leaves the party, only to find herself being attacked by Buck, one of Kennedy’s frat brothers. Lucas, her savior, seemingly goes from being non-existent to being everywhere. As their meetings become more frequent, she decides to use him as her rebound, with the help of her friends. But even with the girly gossip and the thought of having a boyfriend again, the fear of being assaulted still haunts her. And when Buck refuses to give up, Jacqueline finds herself running from him, afraid of what could still happen.
I loved this book for a number of reasons.
1. The message that tells people that it was not their fault. This hits home for many. Victims of rape, especially, misplace their blame and this often causes them to fall into a downward spiral.
“What did I just say? This is not your fault.”
I nodded, staring into my lap, tears stinging my eyes. I wanted to believe it wasn’t my fault, but [she] was hurt after [he] had chewed him out. For me. It felt like my fault. I knew better, but I couldn’t help connecting the dots.
Lucas’s fingers brushed under my chin and turned my face to his. “Not. Your. Fault.”
I nodded again, holding onto his words like they were redemption.
2. I loved Jacqueline’s rise in strength throughout the novel. She had the support system that many lose after being assaulted. People become introverted after incidents like that, and people often don’t believe them.
“Do you believe me?”
“Jacqueline, how can you—of course I believe you! What kind of question is that?”
Her best friend, Erin, was there for her, encouraged her to take self-defense lessons and that gave her the confidence she needed to stop letting fear take over her life. In a world where it’s so hard to trust people, this book showed the true bond of friendship and how the people you surround yourself with make all the difference.
“Are you saying she should press charges?”
Gasps sounded around the table, and I was so dumbfounded I couldn’t move.
“But this will look so bad for—”
“You know what looks bad?” Katie cut off her VP. “A bunch of women who don’t support each other when a guy pulls some shit like this. I’m sick of it. Less than an hour ago, I told D.J. where he could stick his goddamned fraternal reputation.”
3. Lucas. He is amazing. His side story was absolutely heartbreaking. Is he a little violent? Yes. He is. I am in no way supporting domestic violence, because Lucas was never violent with Jacqueline. He fought people to protect her, he took care of her.
“This morning—that last thing—the ground defense…” He watched me closely, and I tried to look away, anywhere but his eyes, because my face was burning, humiliated, but I couldn’t tear my eyes from his. “I know you don’t believe it would work. I want to show you it will.”
“What do you mean, show me?”
His hands tightened on mine. “I want to teach you exactly how to execute it. Here. With no one else watching.”
It was the replication of the position itself, but also the thought of him watching that had been so unnerving this morning, but he couldn’t know that.
“Trust me, Jacqueline. It works…”
Lucas, although slightly overprotective (with good reason), takes care of Jacqueline. His violence isn’t uncalled for. Lucas is the type of guy that you would want as a boyfriend – someone who listens to your limits and is willing to stand up for you, but allows you stand up for yourself too.
This book was amazing and gave me the longest book hangover ever, so much so I almost didn’t reach my reading goal ’cause of it. Of the one hundred books I read in 2012, this, I think, was the best. Of the books I’ve read my entire life…. Yeah, this might still be the best.
GoodReads Rating: 4.28/5