Sex and Violence: A Novel by Carrie Mesrobian (eProof) - Sex has always come without consequences for seventeen-year-old Evan. Until he hooks up with the wrong girl and finds himself in the wrong place at very much the wrong time. After an assault that leaves Evan scarred inside and out, he and his father retreat to the family cabin in rural Minnesota, which, ironically, turns out to be the one place where Evan can't escape other people. Including himself. It may also offer him his best shot at making sense of his life again. From Goodreads
When I first heard about Sex and Violence by Carrie Mesrobian, I was really intrigued, but a little worried it would be quite heavy. And although a serious book, it's nothing like I thought it would be. Sex and Violence is awesome!
Evan Carter is good with the girls. He knows who to go after, and who will give it up, and gets into a lot of girls' underwear. But when he goes after Colette, everything goes wrong. He gets beaten to within an inch of his life by Colette's ex-boyfriend, and the ex of a girl who's interested in him. Mental scars as well as physical ones are left behind, and Evan is a changed boy. His views on girls and sex goes from one extreme to the other - something to be avoided at all costs. When his father moves him to the family cabin in Pearl Lake, the close knit group of seniors who holiday at the lake take him in. As the summer goes by, he has to deal with his now changed ideas towards sex, and his fear.
Despite it's rather unfortunate title, Sex and Violence isn't about sex and violence, but Evan, his mental state and his view on the two. Nor is Sex and Violence graphic, in either area. What happened to him and Colette is absolutely disgusting, and Evan has a lot of demons to battle, but it's a lot more of an internal story. Mesrobian does it really well; Through Evan's narration, you know that what took place is was horrific, too horrific to spend too much time thinking about, without making it seem like she's not writing about it because it's too much. It's Evan that doesn't want to go there in reliving and describing. You get the jist and the after-affects, but he's not in any place to really talk about it.
Because of how badly he is affected, Evan really struggles for a good while to form real relationships with his new "friends" at Pearl Lake. There are a whole group of people who've known each other their whole life, and they welcome Evan into their fold with open arms. They're such a great group of people, some making only brief appearances, yet each character is so well developed, they all make a big impression. It's a great cast of characters, and it's great to watch Evan's relationship of each, and see his changing opinion as time goes by. He's the new guy, and sometimes keeps to himself, and despite not knowing what his issues were, everyone was generally really nice to him in their own way. It's great to see a huge group of just normal teenagers just being nice.
Sex and Violence is a really moving, and I think, powerful novel. I'm sure Colette would have her own story to tell, but to have Evan's story is really different, but important, as he's not just dealing with what has happened to him, but with what happened to Colette too, and his guilt over it. Such a great story, a brilliant debut, and a read I highly recommend! Definitely look forward to what Mesrobian writes next!
Thank you to Michael O'Mara Books for the eProof.
Buy from Foyles:
Published: 31st January 2014 (in paperback on 24th April 2014)
Publisher: Michael O'Mara Books
Carrie Mesrobian's Website