What I’m Reading Now: Sex & Violence by Carrie Mesrobian
What’s It About (Jacket Description): 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.
Do I Like It: YES!
Thoughts: This is a book I probably would never have picked up without the Morris nomination, despite the provocative title. Which is why I am so grateful for awards like this that draw my attention to books I might never read otherwise!
I’m only about a third of the way through Sex & Violence, but man is it fantastic. Evan is an easy narrator to connect with. His internal life is fascinating and believable, especially in the wake of his trauma. It’s extra fun getting in his head because he’s not the kind of guy who says a lot, so the behind-the-scenes look is particularly meaningful and important for readers getting to know Evan.
Mesrobian does a wonderful job not only with Evan, but with all the people and places around him. She creates a community so real that I feel like I could go there (and I kind of want to.) Pearl Lake and the people Evan meets there, like teen neighbors Tom, Baker, Kelly, and others, as well as the adults he encounters through his work and his father, are as intriguing and realistic as Evan himself.
All this sounds really dry and reviewer-y when I type it all out, but trust me – this book sucks you in. I was invested almost immediately, and I really feel like Evan is talking to me as I’m reading. I’m so invested in Evan, in his problems and history, in his recovery, and in him figuring out who he is and what he wants. I always end up reading just a little longer than I intend to when I open this book, because I’m desperate to find out what happens next. By the time you read this I’ll be done, so Sex & Violence should be on our shelves with the new books. I highly recommend picking it up!