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.