Friday, March 7, 2014

Review: Deeper by Robin York


Title: Deeper (Caroline and West, #1) 

Author: Robin York 

Rating: 2 Stars

I feel as if I've been saying this all too often over the course of the past few days, but...

...what a disappointment.

Deeper is a rather excellent New Adult novel, much the same way Easy is, but it failed to charm and enamor me. Moreover, York uses far too many tropes, forcing my eyes to roll as a knee-jerk reaction. Frankly speaking, the "bone melting" glances, the "weak knees" and the "flash of heat" is all getting a little too boring at this point. Caroline is rendered speechless by West's very presence and West's point of view does little but shake off his manliness, throwing him into a spotlight as a love interest whose every waking thought is consumed by "his girl", a possessive streak that begins long before these two even become involved. West and Caroline meet on the first day of college and for eighteen months, West is literally lusting after Caroline. Do guys really do this in real life? It feels like a rich fantasy New Adult authors have created in order to make their love stories seem more plausible because, surely, if the male love interest is sexually interested in the female protagonist for months before they wind up together it just must be True Love.

Caroline, a victim of sexual abuse after her ex-boyfriend posted naked pictures of her online, isn't a heroine I despised. In fact, her determination to barrel through each day is admirable and her actions - seeking out West for safety - are understandable. But, it all just feels too familiar. Caroline and West develop an easy relationship together, sexual tension aside, but they aren't "friends", a pretense of maintaining distance between them. West, in order to fulfill the typical role of a "bad boy" dutifully sells drugs, an exterior which, of course, hides a true softie. Plus, West is the only guy on campus to see Caroline's situation for what it is: harassment. With these New Adult novels, it feels as if there can only be one good guy, or else we have a love triangle on hand. Every other guy on this nerdy campus calls Caroline a slut or posts dirty remarks in response to her pictures - except West and his roommate, Krishna. It felt contrived, convoluted, and a bit unnatural; as if the reader is being forced to accept and love West. Also, where in the New Adult handbook is it a requirement for the love interest to beat up the crappy ex-boyfriend? I've never seen a fistfight in my life, yet, so I don't know why New Adult is crawling with violent alpha males, but I'm bored of it.

Deeper certainly discusses the issue of sexual abuse in a tasteful manner, shedding light on the atrocities the internet can contribute to. Nevertheless, its characters fit all-too-typical molds, the romance focusing a bit too much on the steam and chemistry than on individual growth or development (which I feel may have been more appropriate for this story), and the bottom line is simply that I am bored and fed up of these overused tropes. York writes them well, using them in a powerful manner, but no matter how well you dress them up, tropes remain tropes, from trust issues to rabbit sex. It seems I've gotten into the habit of reading quality New Adult - books like Unteachable or My One & Only - so Deeper fell into my lap as an unpleasant surprise. While I thoroughly enjoyed Knox's About Last Night and fully intend to pick up her other full-length adult novel (Ride With Me I think...?), York's New Adult fiction isn't my cup-of-tea. It seems that New Adult these days must include romantic "healing" and a heroine who is the victim of sexual abuse, but within those parameters, there are only a fraction of stories to be told. And, here's the thing: they've already been written, time and time again. Freshen up, New Adult.

14 comments:

  1. Aww, I'm sorry this one didn't work for you. Deeper definitely sounds like a combination of Easy and Beautiful disaster and lot like the latter. I'm on the lookout for good New Adult maybe, I should try Unteachable. Wonderful review Keertana!! (:

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  2. I'm so over NA for all the same reasons: the over-aggressive males, the possessiveness, the cliches. This is defo a book I'll be passing on.

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  3. I feel like I'd be angry all the way through this book. Angry at the ex, angry at the way others treat the MC, angry that there's just this One Perfect Bad Boy who sees her and the abuse for what it is...not sure this one's for me. Thanks for the review!

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  4. I do not think this one is for me

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  5. I think I get headache every time I see stupid phrases in a book, like weak knees. What happened with creativity? Anyone? Anyhow I'm so sad to hear this as I hoped that Deeper could be one of the rare books that actually is something special in the whole NA world. Well I'll keep on waiting. Great review, Keertana :)

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  6. You have been having a bit of a rough reading week haven't you Keertana?! You're definitely due for a book that's AMAZING and will render you completely speechless with it's awesomeness. It does sound like this one is a pretty typical NA and doesn't bring anything new or interesting to the genre which is a shame. Thanks for your thoughts!

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  7. Oh, that's really unfortunate. I'm just barely planning to branch out to reading some NA novels, and it disheartens me to see novels that have all the potential in the world fail to charm the reader. I'm so glad for your honest review of this one, Keertana. Thanks!

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  8. It seems it's getting harder to find NA reads that don't use the same cookie cutter plot lines. This is unfortunate and it seems like a lot of readers are tiring of this. I think NA is on a downward slope unless, like you say, they freshen up a bit. There are exceptions out there, but they seem fewer and farther in between. It just feels like I'm reading the same story over and over. I'm switching categories for a while.

    Wonderful review, Keertana! :)

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  9. I really haven't read much NA, but I can also see the reused tropes again and again. Perhaps it's because kids like repetition? Well, they also like novelty as well. I can see why this one got on your nerves. Not sure if this one is for me, but it's not one I'll run to get either. Great review and I hope the next one is good and fresh! :)

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  10. Yeah... no.
    This one seems to be full of tropes and I just cannot take them anymore. My tolerance has basically dropped and I end up pissed when the author tries to create such obvious distinctions between the 'good guy' and the 'bad guys'. It just doesn't work for me. Especially in NA (NA has a certain reputation so it makes me even more picky than I would be otherwise :/)

    I am really sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy this though :(

    Lovely Review, Keertana! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

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  11. I haven't even touched an NA book, and the reason for it? The overused tropes you find tiresome, I find annoying too: broken girl, alpha male, trust issues, too much concentration on the physical part of romantic relationships and not enough on the emotional. So many of the books that fall under this category sound too similar, and I'm just not buying what they're selling. I don't think I'll ever want to read one of these stories --unless there's more substance, and I know not every NA follows the same formula, but it's getting harder and harder to notice a difference. Luckily, there are bloggers like you who are trying to sort it out for the rest of us. I still need to try Unteachable! Thanks for the gentle reminder, and thanks for another insightful and honest review. :)

    Marlene @ The Flyleaf Review

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  12. Like Marlene above, I haven't really read any books in the "New Adult" genre, mostly because I read the premises and know the "signs" that many books in this genre will contain the tropes that you rightly despair of in your review. Thanks for calling it out.

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  13. I'm sad you've been so disappointed by books lately and that this one didn't work for you. I've actually not heard much about it, but I've also become much picker about New Adult titles for fear of these ones that fall into the trap of too many tropes. I've also gotten careful about the sexual abuse story lines. They make me so sad, but on the other hand there are so many that sometimes the feel like they're also falling into patterns. I did just read Faking Normal and really liked it, though. I hope you've succeeded in finding a favorite after reading this book!

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  14. I totally agree. Deeper was such a disappoint. I was expecting to read an absolutely breathtaking novel with a new and captivating premise and I was letdown. I thought it was boring. Great review!

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