This book was a brave effort on the part of the author, to approach the issue of acquaintance rape, why it happens and how we can help prevent it by educating our children.
While I was searching for more information about the author, I came upon a You Tube video of her talking about a similar event that happened to her in her teens and I realised that this was more than just a novel, this was the author reaching out about something that she felt strongly about - the issue of consent. It also helped that in this book the issue was covered from the point of view of both victim and rapist.
*Spoiler alert - I may have discussed too much of the plot in the following review, please stop here if you haven't read the book.*
Tyler and Amber met as children when Tyler's family moved into the same street. Amber was an only child, with very sociable parents and they immediately welcomed Tyler and his family. The two Mums became best friends and after Tyler's parents separated, Amber's parents invited him and his Mum to join them on holidays.
All through childhood they were each other's closest friends. Tyler was Amber's greatest support when she suffered severe eating disorders, spending a large chunk of time in hospital, and whenever she needed him he was there for her.
Unfortunately Tyler harbored desires beyond just friendship, while Amber considered him to be like a brother. He was struggling to come to terms with Amber's engagement to another student that summer when everything fell apart.
Tyler also had his own issues and suffered with anxiety, largely caused by his awful bully of a father. I was pretty horrified that Amber was so bruised after the event, I suppose Tyler's behaviour with Whitney should have rung warning bells, but he supposedly loved Amber, he proceeded without consent, yes, but did he have to be so violent? It almost adds another dimension to the central issue of the book.
My BG wasn't very impressed with this book, giving ratings as low as 2 stars, they didn't think it was very well written, and in some ways I have to agree; there were parts that didn't quite work.
What bothered me most, was the resolution. Why was it that Tyler was expected to turn himself in, yet Amber was not taken to account for her actions with the gun. By the end of the book, was it right that Amber should be just allowed to walk away and start again?
As an aside to the book, do be sure to search out Amy Hatvany's comments in "The Conversations We’re Not Having With Our Sons", published as a guest post in The Manifest-Station. http://www.themanifeststation.net/2017/03/26/conversation-not-sons/