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Don't Judge A Book By It's Cover
on 4 October 2013
How I hate that word and the way it defines me.
Almost raped. Almost over it. Almost normal.
I can almost forget. Way worse, I can almost remember.'
'If you judge a book by it's cover, you might miss out on an amazing story.'
This is soooooo true, in this case...
The cover of this book did absolutely nothing for me, but a few people had mentioned that I should really give this book a chance, so I did.
And it was soooo good! A fabulous, heart warming, page-turning YA romance. I read it in one sitting and couldn't put it down.
Jess Jordan was almost raped. Three years ago. And she's not okay. She has night terrors, she's suffering from PTSD, she doesn't socialise and she's completely forgotten how to be normal.
'Lucky. Lucky. Lucky girl.
But her parents won't entertain the idea of her going off to college, until she can prove that she's normal. That she's making `progress'. So, her little sister writes her a list. `How To Be Normal'
On the list; Get a boyfriend.
Enter Gray Porter.
'Person slaughtered: Me.
Method used: Dimple.
The guy has a dimple. Of course he does. To match the Hollywood chin divot. To make the lump on my forehead pound even harder.
Pointes for Gray Porter: 3,000,000-bajallion, trillion to the millionth power.'
When Jess and Gray both apply for the same internship, rather than go head to head for the one spot they both desperately need to secure their future at college, they come with a plan to benefit them both. And Gray becomes Jess's one way ticket to `normal' for the duration of the summer. Her pretend boyfriend.
'I'm living in fiction. It's perfectly okay to be in love with any and all fictional boyfriends, even if they aren't yours.'
But they're both harbouring huge secrets and furthermore, neither them are all that stoked about the `pretend' part of the arrangement. So, can they overcome their pasts, secrets and their uber crushes? Can Jess ever be `normal' and will Gray ever manage to banish the guilt?
'If only Gray Porter had never wandered into my dreams.
Including the good, waking ones.'
I really liked Jess. Despite her trauma, her demons and all of the crazy, she was a great heroine. She was ballsy, stubborn, a total bitch at first and I really really liked her. Lol. It was clear that she was going to soften and I loved watching her berate herself for helplessly swooning over gorgeous Gray.
"He's so good at his job, that I've fallen for him, the mirage of him being my boyfriend, all of it. Like everyone else. Like an idiot."
And Gray. Awwwwww! SO adorable. I'm a big fan of these contract/arrangement storyline, where an agreement is reached and then both characters find themselves wrestling with real feelings, pushing boundaries and falling in love. And Gray was a perfect example of this. The scene at the skating rink. Super cute! Major butterflies.
"I love it. I mean - it's great. You - how beautiful you look. It threw me off. And you have no idea how much I love peach pie, a-la-mode. Sorry... sue me, dock my pay, but damn, girl. You've turned me into a stuttering fool."
I loved how he was so protective over Jess. He feels he owes her, so he wants to give her the world on a silver platter. And it's swoon-worthy. His `I won't let anyone laugh at you/hurt you/bully you.' attitude melted my heart from the very beginning. And this was another lovely, fluffy `good guys win out' story.
Amongst all of the cutesy, rainbows, ponies and kittens... this book deals with a very serious issue, obviously. The scene where Jess remembers her almost rape had my heart hammering in my chest. Jeez. How traumatic. I like the underlying message in the book aswell. So many books kind of skirt around the issues of underage drinking, the bad decisions we make as teenagers, sneaking off to parties, etc. But these are things so many of us have done, and so many teens are still doing, and the dangers are so very real. Things like this happen every year and even if they are the consequences of bad decisions, the results are certainly never the fault of the victim. Throughout the book, Jess has trouble letting go of the blame she places upon herself for sneaking out to a party and getting herself drunk.
I took two messages from this. The first was the warning against underage drinking, college parties, taking drinks from people you don't know, putting yourself in dangerous situations, etc. which I hope serves as a warning for younger readers.
But the second was that even if a young girl has gotten herself into such a situation, made poor choices and broken all of the groundrules, nobody brings rape, almost rape, harassment or any other kind of unwanted attention upon themselves. The blame liesonly on the shoulders of the attacker.
The heavy stuff all said and done, this is a fabulous book. I would highly recommend it. It reminded me a little of Bully, which I know has been very popular of late. I can't put my finger on why, but I feel that people who liked Bully would most definitely enjoyAlmost. This book is not steamy, but it is a great first love/first kiss, very sweet, yet very gripping, clean YA romance. And I'd really love to see this book get some more recognition.
"I'll make sure you forget every guy but me, Jess Jordan. And that's a promise I mean to keep."
Oh, that voice.'
Steam Rating (out of 5): ♥
Can this be read as a standalone? Yes
Warning. This book includes...
Attempted rape scene
Review by Smitten's Book Blog