Sex & Violence by Carrie Mesrobian
Seventeen-year-old Evan Carter has been the “new kid” in school for as long as he can remember. Since his mom died, his tech-geek dad has kept them on the move, from one beige condominium to another. While Evan’s never really connected with friends, he’s always had great success with girls.
“I just looked for Girls Who Would Say Yes….A left-of-normal girl doesn’t care what you look like, beyond that you aren’t a hunchback or covered in acne. These chicks have certain quirks. Piercings, tattoos, hair dyed a color never intended by nature.Or–this sounds horrible and would put mothers everywhere on high alert–a really short skirt or low-cut shirt. Because left-of-normal girls aren’t allergic to risk.”
Unfortunately, Evan gets himself into a situation with a girl that has very unhappy consequences for both of them, courtesy of her ex-boyfriend and one of his jock buddies. After his brutal beat-down, Evan’s father actually gets him from the boarding school and moves them to his childhood home, a cabin in rural Minnesota. Even though his badly injured body begins to heal, his emotions are way out of control-he can’t even get himself to take a shower. Everything frightens him and he is actually contemplating suicide at the opening of the story. Add to that the fact that everyone in Pearl Lake is up in everyone else’s business, and Evan was never good with people, even before his terrifying ordeal.
I really enjoyed this book, although I think the title might be off-putting to many potential readers. Evan begins the novel as a snarky, entitled kid, who’s main occupation is “hooking up.” His personality and past are slowly revealed through memories and his dialogue with his therapist, and his post-traumatic-stress symptoms will engage readers who might not have even liked his at first. I recommend this book to readers looking for something different, readers who like stories about characters changing through adversity, and fans of strong male protagonists.