This is a different kind of book than I usually review so first here’s a summary from the Goodreads page: Graduate student Vivienne Charles is afraid of her own desires—ashamed to admit that she fantasizes about being taken by force, by a man who will claim her completely and without mercy. When the magnetic, mysterious Jonah Marks learns her secret, he makes an offer that stuns her: they will remain near-strangers to each other, and meet in secret so that he can fulfill her fantasy.
Their arrangement is twisted. The sex is incredible. And—despite their attempts to stay apart—soon their emotions are bound together as tightly as the rope around Vivienne’s wrists. But the secrets in their pasts threaten to turn their affair even darker…
Reader Advisory: Asking for It deals explicitly with fantasies of non-consensual sex. Readers sensitive to portrayals of non-consensual sex should be advised.
There’s been a lot of hype around this book that I’ve heard over the last few months in romance-landia. So I’ve been looking forward to reading it although hyped books rarely live up to what I’ve heard. However, this one did. This is an intense book that is definitely not for all readers and I think that both the publisher and the author did a great job at absolutely getting that point across in the marketing and when you go to buy the book. There are trigger warnings all over the place and once I read this book I really appreciated that they put those out there regardless of how that would affect giving away any part of the story.
The intensity of this book comes from the frank discussion of rape throughout. Vivienne has rape fantasies that she feels ashamed about but is excited to get to fulfill them with Jonah. There was a lot of frank psychological discussion that stemmed from the fulfillment of these fantasies and the guilt she feels. I found this fascinating at turns and hard to read at others because of the subject. It was extremely well written and it seemed to me very well researched and thought out because I could immerse myself in the book and see Vivienne’s point of view and feel for her. What I really appreciated about Asking For It is that the author doesn’t have Vivienne just dealing with this on her own, Vivienne sees a therapist regularly so we get to see Vivienne get asked the difficult questions that I know I was thinking too. I liked those scenes because it almost felt like I was arguing with Vivienne myself.
Jonah, the hero of the book, has his own issues which aren’t fully explored but are touched on briefly. I liked his character a lot and for a guy who wanted to act out this fantasy I found that surprising. There are a few particular scenes that I wanted to hug him because he was so genuinely sweet. I don’t want to give any additional spoilers away to this book but there is a lot going on – in a good way I think. I enjoyed the book, especially the combination of the psychological aspects and the intensity of the physical aspects.
However, what I wasn’t a huge fan of was the ending. There wasn’t a big cliffhanger or anything – which I do not like at all. But at the end end I was kind of left with a feeling of well that wasn’t an HEA. I went to Goodreads to rate and shelve the book and saw there was a 2nd book and read the synopsis to it which kind of made the end of this one a moot point. So the combination of those 2 things wasn’t a great thing for me. Besides that I would recommend this book if you don’t mind the dark side of it.