TRIGGER WARNING: If you are a sexual abuse survivor, the topics in this review and this book may be a trigger for you. I’d advise not reading this book until you’re far enough along in your recovery that you feel like reading about these topics will not have an adverse effect on your progress.
Amy Hatvany’s novel is one that stirs your emotions and grips you until long after you’ve finished reading. I loved the way she approached this story, and decided to look at from both sides – the man who committed the assault, and the victim. What made this story even more compelling was the fact that the two main characters were best friends through out most of their lives, and what becomes of their relationship after the night the assault takes place.
Amber and Tyler have gotten through the roughest times in their lives together. From Tyler’s parents volatile divorce, to Amber’s near-death caused by her eating disorder. It seems like there’s nothing that can come between them. Amber has just finished college and is home for the summer, and for the first time in years, she and Tyler are spending significant amounts of time together. Amber has a serious boyfriend and big aspirations of becoming a trainer for a professional athletic team, putting her degree to work and eventually joining her boyfriend in Seattle where they will begin their lives together. Tyler is an EMT for the fire department, and has never really gotten over his feelings for Amber, although she has made it clear that she only wants to be friends. Tyler sees Amber’s return as an opportunity to make her see that he’s the perfect guy for her, despite the fact that she’s in a serious committed relationship.
When things with Amber’s college sweetheart start to make he reconsider her romantic choices, and lines begin to blur between Amber and Tyler, a night of heavy drinking leads to the unthinkable that will change the course of their lives forever.
Amy Hatvany expertly moves between Amber and Tyler’s point of view, navigating the murky waters of these heavily scrutinized subjects: rape and consent. Anyone who has ever been on either side of a situation where they felt taken advantage of or felt as though they may have pushed too far will identify with the characters in this book. There are some amazingly difficult topics discussed in this book, but in my opinion, a thorough discussion of topics like rape are what’s needed in today’s society. Blurred lines and arguments of whether or not someone has truly given consent aren’t easy topics, but it’s necessary to explore them in the way that Amy Hatvany has done in her novel. I implore women and men alike to read this novel, and think about your own experiences and explore your feelings and stance on these topics. This intensely gripping novel forces you to confront your previous judgements and biases on the subject of rape and then forces you to throw them out the window when you find yourself empathizing with the exquisitely written, human, and all-too relatable characters on both sides of this emotionally stirring story.
I personally applaud Amy Hatvany for her exquisitely written and incredibly important novel, It Happens All The Time. Everyone should read this book! Out on March 28th.
More reviews coming soon!