Sarina Bowen is an author I was lucky enough to hear about last year and I’ve read everything she’s written so far and really enjoyed them all. The Ivy Years series is definitely my favorite of hers and this book is the most recent one in the series. This is another cover that I love – the woman on the cover seems to exemplify the heroine, Bella, perfectly.
We met Bella in the last book when her heart was broken by the guy she thought she was in love with turned out to be gay. I liked her in that book – she has a strong sensuality and sexuality both. She’s slept with quite a few men and owns that but also has a lot of guy friends and values those friendships. Bella is the manager of the hockey team on campus, so is used to being surrounded by guys. The hero in the book – Rafe – is broken up with by his long term girlfriend quite unexpectedly. Bella goes through a traumatic experience and afterwards Rafe and she get close.
Once again I loved Bowen’s book. There were a few conventions that were flipped on their heads and I thoroughly enjoyed those parts. The first and the most apparent is that Bella just flat out enjoys sex and her attitude towards it is much more like how a traditional male would act in a book. I don’t see that in many books and if I do the woman has a lot of guilt or she wants or needs sex because she’s “broken” in some way. Not Bella. She enjoys sex and is pretty unapologetic about it. She definitely has qualms here and there but not what I would expect. The other convention flipped is the typical virgin heroine and experienced hero – here the virgin is the hero. Rafe hasn’t exactly been saving himself for religious reasons or anything that specific. But as he explained to Bella he respected his previous girlfriends too much to pressure them and they weren’t ready for that. I think this kind of switching conventions reflects a much truer sign of reality than is present in some romance books.
I’m supposed to be writing a paper about female subjugation. But all I want is for someone to give me a good pounding.
Both slut shaming and bullying are addressed head on in this book and I think these are incredibly important and relevant right now. Not to scare anyone off the book and think that they’re going to read a heavy book! Like any good book it balances important issues, plot and story line very well. I really love Bella’s attitude about so much in this book, she dealt with things in a very realistic way. There are also quite a few funny parts that I loved, many involving Lianne (Bella’s roommate) who I loved and I really hope gets her own book very soon!
If you haven’t read any of Sarina Bowen’s book you really need to! And if you have but haven’t read this book you also really need to!!