BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Going Under by S. Walden
by S. Walden
New Adult Contemporary
Brooke Wright has only two goals her senior year at Charity Run High School: stay out of trouble and learn to forgive herself for the past. Forgiveness proves elusive, and trouble finds her anyway when she discovers a secret club at school connected to the death of her best friend. She learns that swim team members participate in a “Fantasy Slut League,” scoring points for their sexual acts with unsuspecting girls.
Brooke, wracked with guilt over her friend’s death, decides to infiltrate the league by becoming one of the “unsuspecting girls,” and exact revenge on the boys who stole away her best friend. An unexpected romance complicates her plans, and her dogged pursuit of justice turns her reckless as she underestimates just how far the boys will go to keep their sex club a secret.
(This is a New Adult fiction book with mature themes. It contains graphic sex and language and a description of sexual violence.)
MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
Well, first of all I have to say, that this was such a hard book to read, for so many reasons. It deals with such emotional issues as suicide, rape, guilt, sex, and drugs. Even through all this, I stayed in front of the pages until I was done with it, only taking a break from reading once.
The main character, Brooke, is one of the most interesting characters I’ve come across in a book in a while. She’s an 18 year old girl who’s beginning her senior year in a new school because she has a plan in place. A plan to take down the rapist of her best friend, Beth, who recently committed suicide. Besides this fact, Brooke was having an affair with Bath’s boyfriend behind her back–and since she can’t shake the feelings of guilt, she vows to put her energy into her revenge mission in hopes of calming her conscience and the ghost of Beth that haunts her dreams.
What Brooke uncovers goes so much deeper than Beth, and she makes a (probably stupid) decision to put herself right in the midst of the guys behind a “fantasy” sex league. To make matters more complicated, she begins falling for a sweet guy who is interested in her as well, and for more than sex.
The thing I loved most about Brooke was that she was so complicated and conflicted, and that just felt very real to me. Real teenagers have so much going on during any given day, and in a split second the tiniest thing can make their demeanor do a complete 180. Brooke puts on a tough front in school, but with her friends she’s funny and sarcastic. She is an 18 year old girl but still cries out for her daddy in the middle of the night when she has a nightmare. She needs people, and love, more than she wants to admit to herself. When Brooke’s vulnerable side is shown is when she shines the most.
I took away a star for a couple of reasons. First, for me, some of the story was a little unbelievable. I have a hard time believing that so many girls in the school could have been affected by theses guys, and not one came forward before Brooke stepped in. It’s also a bit outrageous that so many guys were participating in the game, but no one knew about it, or had even heard rumors of it. Now maybe it’s because I went to a very small high school, but nothing much stayed secret when I was in high school, much less something as big as this. Second, after the climax of the book, the rest of the story moved too fast for me. I would have liked to see a little more about what happened to Brooke after the events.
I was very satisfied at the outcome, I’m just sad things had to happen to Brooke for the ending to come about. The death of her best friend sent her on a journey that changed her life, just nothing at all in the way she expected.
I’d recommend this read for all high school girls–it was an important story to get out there.
About the Author
S. Walden used to teach English before making the best decision of her life by becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Georgia with her very supportive husband who prefers physics textbooks over fiction and has a difficult time understanding why her characters must have personality flaws. She is wary of small children, so she has a Westie instead. Her dreams include raising chickens and owning and operating a beachside inn on the Gulf Coast (chickens included). When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about it. She loves her fans and loves to hear from them. Email her firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her blog at http://swaldenauthor.blogspot.com where you can get up-to-date information on her current projects.