"Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather, and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know." - John Keats

"You're not allowed to say anything about books because they're books and books are, you know, God." - Nick Hornby

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Review #2: The Temptation of Lila and Ethan, by Jessica Sorensen

I've written before about "New Adult" and what crap it is, but I keep reading it because I never learn. I want it to be the equivalent of hangover watching Dirty Dancing on TBS while waiting for your roommate's boyfriend to come back with hangover McDonald's with a big fat hangover diet Coke, but it's not. It's not at all. It's like discovering that Dirty Dancing has been replaced with, I don't know, sports or something, and your roommate's boyfriend got you a regular Coke instead of a diet, and now you have to put on a bra and go get one yourself. Not that I ever had that experience in my early twenties. Ahem.

But I'm done. I'm breaking up with "New Adult". (And yes, I'm going to keep using quotation marks because I refuse to recognize this as a real genre.)

Anyway, on to the story. Lila's a poor little rich girl who developed a pill habit thanks to her mom introducing her to them at the age of fourteen, after Lila disgraced the family by sleeping with an older man. And by sleeping with, I really mean date-raped, and being tied up while that happened, which resulted in scars on her wrists, ankles, and belly. Lila's twenty at the time of the story, so all I could think about was that I was pretty sure that rope burn doesn't last six years. Anyway, the tied up rape sex and Lila's crappy parents make her drink and pop pills and have indiscrimate sex with random men.

The story needs a hero and he arrives in the form of Ethan, who rides in in his truck to pick up Lila and save her from the walk of shame. Lila wants Ethan, but Ethan made it clear early on that they are just friends. Ethan doesn't want to have any sort of relationship because his dad used to hit his mom (but now he doesn't and his parents are still together), and because his last relationship was with a heroin addict named London who now has amnesia and can't remember Ethan.

I finished this book yesterday, and I honestly cannot remember the circumstances that finally got Lila and Ethan to Do It, so that should tell you everything you need to know. And I can't remember the sex scenes, so they can't have been that great. It's also part of a series, which I didn't know when I pulled it off NetGalley, and while the last chapter gives Lila and Ethan a conclusion, it also reads like the preview chapter of the next book, and it feels very gimmicky.

A lot of things bother me about "New Adult" - the smelly loser-ish guys, the extra dumb girls, the lack of any kind of decent parental figure, the message that if you just love each other enough, you can survive on minimum wage jobs forever - but what bothers me the most is the writing. It's bad. I don't know how else to say it, other than it's really, really, really bad. I once had a teacher spend several class periods on written language versus conversational language versus street language, and I never forgot that lesson. It's a lesson some of these "New Adult" writers need to learn.

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