Publisher: Penguin Re-release via Berkley
How we got this book: Purchased
Release date: Out now
A girl who believes trust can be misplaced, promises are made to be broken, and loyalty is an illusion. A boy who believes truth is relative, lies can mask unbearable pain, and guilt is eternal. Will what they find in each other to validate their conclusions, or disprove them all?
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.
*blurb taken from the author’s website here
Lou: I read Easy before Penguin picked up Tammara Webber, and I’m glad that Easy will be available to more readers. Tammara Webber is one of the author stars in this New Adult genre, and I can’t wait to read her next book. Easy straddles the line between late-teen years and the territory into adulthood. Jacqueline is a mature heroine and her POV is incredibly engaging. Easy is not just a romance; it has a strong message throughout the book that drives home the point that it’s NEVER a woman’s fault if she gets sexually assaulted, raped or attacked. No matter what you’re wearing or where you are. And that message is interwoven throughout the plot, and for that alone, I would give Easy a high grade. But I’m going to give Easy a high grade for the romance also, because it’s probably one of my favourites of this year. Jacqueline and Lucas’ romance is sweet, sexy, full of tension and full of promise.
This book almost makes me want to go back and re-live my early twenties. Almost. Can I just have Lucas? As a forty-something, this book transported me back to that time in life where everything was so open with possibility yet terrifyingly frightening at the same time. Every new life experience carried so much more emotional weight because it was the first. Difficult situations felt so much more overwhelming because there wasn’t anything to draw from. The wisdom pool as yet unfilled. I felt the following quote summed this age up perfectly:
I shut my door, leaned against it, and slid to the floor, quaking. Tears skated in tracks down my face and my breath shuddered out, leaving my chest aching. I wanted to run away. To go home. To be ignorant of getting dumped, of having dreams dashed, of constantly feeling too inexperienced and stupid to deal with my own life.*
Who hasn’t felt that way at one time or other?
I loved this story. I loved the main characters. I loved their journey. I LOVED the prose. What a beautiful voice. The way Webber layered this story was inspired. She took us deeper and deeper, pulling us into the character’s lives and histories, coaxing their secrets to the surface, weaving relationships together. How brilliant of Webber to present such an important message about sexual assault wrapped up within a poignant story of empowerment, forgiveness and healing.
Lou: Jacqueline is a heroine that wants to gain back her identity after losing herself after three years of being in a relationship with her boyfriend. She moved colleges to be where her boyfriend is rather than go to the college that would have been the right choice for her. When I first read this book, I did find myself shouting at Jacqueline after Buck’s attack. Why did you not go to the police? Buck can do this to someone else! But after the second read I understood Jacqueline’s resistance.
Oh Lucas Lucas Lucas. There should be a Lucas for everyone. I loved his character, and who knew that poor Lucas would be more emotionally vulnerable than Jacqueline. At first you see Lucas as someone who seems confident and at ease with his life, yet there are a few things that don’t add up. And it’s only when it’s revealed in the end that everything makes sense. And it was so heartbreaking.
MiscJoy: Oh, I know! Webber really created such multidimensional characters. My heart broke for each one at one time or other (well, except for Buck of course). As for the attack in the opening scene, I did the same thing! I questioned why Webber would have Jacqueline not report the incident at the time it happened. However, as the story went on, I learned to trust Webber more and more. Every choice she made in the telling of this story had a purpose. I gave Erin’s response to Jacqueline’s confession a mental high-five and a Hell Yeah! Erin presented an opportunity for them both to feel empowered. We should all be so lucky to have a friend like that. Pure gold.
At first, I thought that Jacqueline should take some time to be on her own after the breakup with Kennedy. But the relationship that she later became involved in held such promise, built over time and developed a foundation upon which each person could be enhanced instead of diminished. How could I not be in support of that kind of relationship? As for the romance? H.O.T. and so very satisfying. For the most part, Webber took a “fade to black” approach when it came to the actual sex, but the foreplay? Fair game and well played.
Lou: I love seeing strong female friendships in romances, and I loved that Erin was a strong female character who supported Jacqueline. Erin even broke up with her boyfriend who refused to believe that Buck attacked Jacqueline. You see, Buck was a ‘nice’ guy and ‘nice’ guys don’t attack females, right? That type of bullshit response was effectively smashed by the author in scenes later on in the book with the sorority sisters. I did think that Jacqueline entered a relationship with Lucas too soon after her break-up, but her relationship with Lucas helped her to find her identity. She became her own person again, and the romance wasn’t so heavy that it came across as all consuming.
Easy came across as a story that could happen in real-life without being over-the-top. There were so many different story threads in Easy, and Tammara Webber managed to interweave them all so it became a pretty seamless story. Lucas’ history was heartbreaking and I would love to see more stories of Jacqueline and Lucas and see how they navigate their relationship.
MiscJoy: I agree. The sense of realism in this story immediately drew me in. The characters stayed with me for days after I finished reading it. There was an interesting shift in the story as Jacqueline found her strength, it seemed to provide the space Lucas needed to deal with his own history.
Easy is an excellent example of a story rich with emotion yet absent of (w)angst. Sometimes I feel like a broken record in my rants against over-angsting stories. I don’t know when or why it happened, but it seems lately that romance authors have somehow equated “emotion” with “angst.” A little angst goes a long way and I don’t seem to have much tolerance for it these days. When I come across a story that finds that delicate balance, I appreciate it so much more.
Lou: Easy is probably one of the top reads in the NA genre, and I can’t wait to see what Tammara Webber comes up with next. Whilst I loved the romance, the message and theme conveyed through the story of female empowerment is what sticks with me the most.
I give Easy an A.
MiscJoy: Absolutely one of my top reads for 2012. I loved this story. It’s rare for me to read a story and not find something to critique about it. I felt that Webber had a reason for each choice she made and to have taken the story in a different direction would have lessened its overall effect. Also? I felt old. I had to look up “PWNED.” *hangs head*
I give Easy an A+.