Monday, April 3, 2017

Book Review: It Happens All the Time, by Amy Hatvany

He grunted and moaned as he stabbed himself inside me, not sounding like himself. This was some other man, some animal, not the boy I'd known and loved. He was a stranger violating my body, a monster taking what he wanted and not caring about the carnage left in his wake. 

This was me, having led him on to the point where he thought that it was okay to keep going, even after I told him to stop. 

This was me, opening my eyes and staring at the ceiling, my soul floating up above my body, trying to deny that I was being raped by my best friend. 

Wow, this was a great book. To be honest, I was asked to participate in a book tour for it, so I downloaded the e-galley and planned to read it in a few weeks; however, NetGalley had a preview of the book up on its site, and I read it and was immediately hooked. I ended up reading the entire book in only two days.

Official synopsis:
Book Review: It Happens All the Time, by Amy Hatvany
From master storyteller Amy Hatvany—whose writing has been hailed as “gripping and emotionally honest” (Stephanie Evanovich, New York Times betselling author)—comes a provocative and compelling novel about two friends whose lives are changed by a drunken kiss.

I want to rewind the clock, take back the night when the world shattered. I want to erase everything that went wrong.

Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have been best friends since they were teenagers—trusting and depending on each other through some of the darkest periods of their young lives. And while Amber has always felt that their relationship is strictly platonic, Tyler has long harbored the secret desire that they might one day become more than friends.

Returning home for the summer after her college graduation, Amber begins spending more time with Tyler than she has in years. Despite the fact that Amber is engaged to her college sweetheart, a flirtation begins to grow between them. One night, fueled by alcohol and concerns about whether she’s getting married too young, Amber kisses Tyler.

What happens next will change them forever.

In alternating points of view, It Happens All the Time examines the complexity of sexual dynamics between men and women and offers an incisive exploration of gender roles, expectations, and the ever-timely issue of consent.
This is definitely an eye-opening book, and everyone should read it. 

Amber and Tyler grow up together, and they are best friends. Tyler has always had a huge crush on Amber, and when she was in high school, he told her that he loved her; she didn't reciprocate his feelings, though, and he knows that to continue to stay in her life, he has to be content with just being her best friend. 

In college, Amber meets Daniel, and after a quick nine months of dating, he proposes; she accepts, even though she feels like the timing is rather fast.

One night, Amber and Tyler go to a party together, where Amber meets Tyler's work partner—Tyler is a paramedic, and saves lives for a living—and his partner's wife. Both Amber and Tyler get drunk, which is unusual for Amber, and Amber kisses Tyler. They go upstairs, but later, Amber changes her mind about what is about to happen; and it's at this point where our story really begins.

Both of them were drunk, during their hookup; but when Amber clearly said to Tyler, "Stop, I don't want to do this," he should have stopped. He didn't.

Tyler is not your typical "rapist." He's known Amber a long time, and is normally very respectful towards her. He loves her, but knows she doesn't reciprocate his feelings. Amber is actually the one who, while drunk, makes the first movie - she kisses Tyler and grinds against him on the dance floor. Tyler takes this as consent.

This was an interesting read, but it was also a hard read. Both of the main characters are highly likable, even though they both have issues - Amber has always had mental issues with her weight, even being hospitalized once because she stopped eating in order to become more and more skinny. Tyler was actually there for Amber, moral support-wise, during the episode where she stopped eating entirely, and eventually Amber realized she can eat nutritiously but still eat. Tyler's dad never supported him, growing up; he always made fun of him and hurt his feelings. 

The book starts at the present-day, when an extremely messed-up Amber tells Tyler that they need to talk, and basically kidnaps him at gunpoint. From there, we get flashbacks of how they met, how they became best friends, and what happened when Amber went to college and eventually met Daniel; and how Tyler had to cope with the fact that the love of his life was now engaged. We also see the aftermath of Tyler's decision to still have sex with Amber, and how her life starts to unravel because of it.

4.5 stars out of 5.
It Happens All the Time will be in stores on March 28th. Click here to order from Amazon.

*Disclosure: I received an e-galley of this book from the book tour and from NetGalley. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.


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