Friday, May 2, 2014

ARC Review: Tease by Sophie Jordan

Title: Tease (Ivy Chronicles, #2) 

Author: Sophie Jordan 

Rating: 2 Stars

Release Date: May 27th, 2014

In a rare display of symbolism, the cover of this novel is every bit as off-putting as it needs to be. When I first looked at the ARC of this novel, I was originally disappointed as I felt the cover image - with those models looking at the viewer and at each other so oddly - would work against an otherwise excellent novel. Unlike its predecessor, however, Tease is exactly the typical New Adult novel it is projected as. Where Foreplay managed to draw me into the college lifestyle, warm friendships, and a romance that defied stereotypes while playing within them, Tease follows an all too-familiar cookie-cutter formula which has, fortunately or unfortunately, run its course.

Tease follows one of Pepper's best friends, Emerson, as she finally meets a guy willing to get to know the real her beneath her multiple layers of barriers. Frankly speaking, I am not exhausted of this particular plot-line. I think that with maturity and time, there comes a point in every relationship where honesty is needed above "faking" it and considering the state of women's self-esteem all around the world thanks to the media, I am not surprised that this a theme authors keep returning to and readers keep embracing. After all, every character is different and their approach to their growth isn't the same either, appealing to certain types of audiences more than others.

In the case of Tease, though, this wasn't the case. Emerson is estranged from her family, bitter at the world, and uses guys to further the image of her sexual experience. Moreover, she enjoys teasing guys as it gives her a modicum of welcome power of her life. I get that. Where I had a difficult time with this story, however, is in the fact that Emerson's growth is peppered with recycled tropes playing a large role in her agency. Whether it be the alpha-male, Shaw, whose insistence at control forces Emerson to give up her own control and learn to trust and open up to him or the sexual abuse which drives forward her present-day motives, Emerson's story line dulled my senses, causing my eyes to skim over the pages instead of lean in with barely-contained excitement.

Admittedly, my dislike for alpha-males is a personal one and, as far as they go, Shaw is definitely one of the better, nicer guys whose dominance doesn't dictate his every action. Nevertheless, Shaw's personality as a love interest never came alive for me and, moreover, his connection with Emerson seemed purely physical. No, not purely physical, but if Emerson had met a different stubborn, alpha-male she would have likely fallen for him too as his controlling qualities would have forced her to open up under his probing gaze, just as she did with Shaw. Moreover, I am growing a little disgusted by the blatant use of sexual abuse in every single New Adult novel to further the plot line. I am not denying the fact that the percentage of women who experience sexual abuse is high - it is - which makes the chances of all these characters suffering from some type of sexual abuse a realistic statistic, but the manner in which this is explored is never to the full depth and capacity it needs to be. In Tease, this aspect of Emerson's past is a negligible detail, mentioned and utilized to increase the drama of the story line instead of address serious allegations of potential rape and our societal view of it. Emerson's trauma and baggage is big enough to deal with without adding sexual abuse into the mixture, so its presence only clouded an already disappointing story.

For fans of Sophie Jordan, I have a feeling Tease may prove to be a success. Seeing as I've only ever enjoyed Foreplay, I am certainly the first to admit that I went into this with grossly high expectations and have had to pay for those hopes dearly. Perhaps, for me, Foreplay was only a one trick pony. Either way, I won't be lunging for the next book in this series; lesson learned.


  1. I didn't know this one but well I haven't read a lot of NA yet. I'm glad that despite your problem with alpha-male it was ok to have Shaw. I confess I agree with you about the abuses and it would upset me to have that each time... thanks for the review.

    I'm following you on bloglovin.

  2. NA is just so not my thing...and books like this don't help. I love the "in a rare display of symbolism" comment about the cover. She looks so incredibly bored by the whole thing.

  3. What happened with that cover? I mean Sophie Jordan might not be famous for her stories but her covers are always amazing. I really hope they will to the redesign of this one. But back on topic, I'm so sad to hear that this one was a very typical NA book, when I was over the moon to hear that Foreplay was everything but that. Great review, Keertana :)

  4. I'm sorry to hear that you were disappointed with Tease, Keertana, especially after you enjoyed the previous one so much. I have no personal experience with Sophie Jordan's books, but I doubt I'll ever pick this one up. It definitely doesn't sound like my cup of tea, and I really hope you enjoy your next read more.

  5. I actually love to hate alpha males in stories. Mostly because they all (or almost all) grow in the end. :) I know what you mean about the sexual abuse angle. If this one wasn't handled well, then I would really hate it. I do agree with you, it is a issue that needs to be explored well. Hm... not sure if I want to read this as I don't read that much NA, but I may try Foreplay anyway. :)

  6. I enjoyed Foreplay, but I wasn't a huge fan of Emerson in that book, and I figured her story would annoy me, so I've been reluctant to read this one. It sounds like I'm not missing much. I agree that sexual abuse it far too often used in NA and never explored in a satisfying way. Disappointing all around. Sorry this didn't' work for you, Keertana, but I'm glad to have read your thoughtful review!

  7. Is this the same Sophie Jordan that wrote the Firelight series? LOL, I didn't read that either. I probably have one of them somewhere. I am not into NA that much, especially when SA is treated so lightly. Yes it is a serious issue and shouldn't be a trope in NA. Won't be trying this series. I hope some of the authors will get wind of your thoughts and take a different approach to baggage in NA. Excellent review as always Keertana.

  8. I've never read anything by this author, but I think I'd agree with your own assessment. I haven't read much NA lately but all the reviews have me annoyed on how sexual abuse is treated as well.

  9. While I rarely put stock in book covers, I do agree that this one just missed it completely. I'm not much of a NA reader, but I do indulge once in a while. I have yet to check this one out, though.

    Sorry this book wasn't so hot, Keertana.

  10. you know... with all NA books having this same formula it starting to sound like all of us had went through this. Had a messed up life, no longer talk to parents, and whored in college. Really? Cause none of my friends fit this stereotype and neither do is all of this coming from?

  11. Oh Keertana, I agree with this review completely! Like you, I really enjoyed FOREPLAY and was looking forward to this one so much, but this really was a very "typical" contemporary NA novel. It reinforced all the tropes instead of transcending them. Such a disappointment. :(

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  12. I'm really sorry that it wasn't what you expected, but I was a little bit surprised to see NA on your blog. :)
    I agree, every single new adult has family issues, abuse, drugs and addiction... Sometimes authors manage to make it work, but at the most cases it's cliché storyline.

  13. I'm getting tired of these recycled plot lines as well. They're EVERYWHERE. That's why I haven't picked up the first in this series, or The Art of Lainey for that matter, because I can't bring myself to read another fake boyfriend plot. Even though those are supposed to have done it well. I've been taking a break from new adult for a while, as they seem to be the same thing again and again. Sorry this one didn't work for you :(. Also, I agree, that cover is awful.


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