Sex & Violence

Sex & Violence

4.2 6
by Carrie Mesrobian

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Sex has always come without consequences for seventeen-year-old Evan. Until he hooks up with the wrong girl and finds himself in the wrong place at very much the wrong time. After an assault that leaves Evan scarred inside and out, he and his father retreat to the family cabin in rural Minnesota—which, ironically, turns out to be the one place where Evan


Sex has always come without consequences for seventeen-year-old Evan. Until he hooks up with the wrong girl and finds himself in the wrong place at very much the wrong time. After an assault that leaves Evan scarred inside and out, he and his father retreat to the family cabin in rural Minnesota—which, ironically, turns out to be the one place where Evan can't escape other people. Including himself. It may also offer him his best shot at making sense of his life again.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 08/19/2013
As the title suggests, debut author Mesrobian takes aim at big topics, but what she’s most interested in is the aftermath. Used to being the new guy, 17-year-old Evan may not be much at making friends, but he’s great at finding “left-of-normal” girls to sleep with. When he gets involved with Colette, who’s been labeled a slut by her ex—Evan’s jockish jerk of a boarding school roommate—things go very wrong. Colette is raped, and Evan is badly beaten, which makes his workaholic father finally pay attention. The two move to a lakeside Minnesota town, where Evan is all but forced to engage with a crew of recent high school graduates, when he’d rather lock himself in his room all summer. As Evan heals physically and mentally, he has ample time to consider the part of himself he calls “Dirtbag Evan” and reevaluate his attitudes toward girls and sex. By focusing on Evan, Mesrobian talks about hookup culture in a way that is character-based, not agenda-driven, and showcases a teenager who grows and changes without becoming unrecognizable or saintly. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)
VOYA - Heather Pittman
Evan Carter is always the New Guy. His workaholic father moves them frequently, so Evan does not make emotional attachments. Instead, Evan looks for The Girl Who Would Say Yes. Once yes is said, Evan deletes her phone number, and moves on. Then Evan hooks up with the wrong girl, and they both end up hospitalized, victims of a brutal assault. Hoping to help his son heal, Evan's dad moves them to a summer cabin in rural Minnesota. Evan wants to hide from the world, but on Pearl Lake, neighbors wander in without knocking, expecting you to play board games on someone's porch or go for a swim. Evan is thrust into a group of teens who simply demand his friendship, and he has to go from being Dirtbag Evan to being someone new. This is an excellent book. It offers a realistic, unflinching look at teens and sex. Evan is smart and funny, in a wry, sarcastic way that is authentically adolescent. He definitely was a "dirtbag" in his pre-beating life, and still has some sexually predatory instincts. His journey to being a better person is an extraordinary one, populated with wonderful secondary characters who are all fully drawn and rich. The dialogue is organic, crisp and true. The topics are deep and relevant—sex and violence, of course, but also gender roles, therapy, PTSD, father-son relationships, class rivalry, drug use, and more. This is an amazing story, one that all older teens will benefit from reading. Reviewer: Heather Pittman
Children's Literature - Elizabeth Young
Evan Carter has bounced around from school to school and always was the new kid, never staying a whole year in one school. Things are about to change for Evan—and his father. Evan is the victim of a brutal attack at a private school, resulting in a ruptured spleen, a sprained hand, a torn, deaf ear, several cuts and an aversion to taking a shower. All because he was with a girl—someone else’s girl. Adrian and Evan move back to the family summer camp, to attempt living a calmer, simpler life, and to try to bond in a manner fathers and sons should. The summer before senior year for Evan is spent partying, swimming, working (at times), exploring an abandoned house on an island and coming to terms with the attack. He is also trying to sort out his feelings for girls—Collette, Baker and Jordan, to be specific. See if you can guess which one wins his heart—or if all three do Mesrobian is careful to develop the characters flawlessly, and her portrayal of Evan is sheer talent. However, the language and sexual suggestions are raw and a bit too graphic. There is a degree of sensationalism, which is not always attractive. Readers beware—this is not for the pure in heart, nor is it a presentation of ‘normal’ life for high school males. Most young men who can identify with Evan will probably not read a work of fiction, and therefore it is quite contradictory for readers to really relate to the events and situations presented in this work. No doubt this will be on at least one Banned/Challenged Book list this year. Reviewer: Elizabeth Young; Ages 14 up.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-09-01
An intelligent, wry 17-year-old is brutally beaten in a communal shower by two classmates after he hooks up with one of their former girlfriends, setting the stage for a difficult recovery. Evan knows he's sort of a dick when it comes to girls, but being constantly uprooted to various boarding schools by his emotionally inept dad has caused him to eschew relationships and focus on honing his knack for identifying Girls Who Would Say Yes. After the assault that leaves Evan in the hospital, his father whisks him off to his own boyhood home in Minnesota, where he's uneasily sucked into a tightknit group spending their last summer at home getting high and hanging out before going off to college. Evan's intense, often-discomfiting first-person narration will deeply affect readers, and his darker side is troubling--in an aside about girls with eating disorders, he thinks, "I'd known some of those barf-it-up girls, and they were the worst. So crazy. So clingy. The first to get deleted from my phone." Packed with realistically lewd dialogue that is often darkly funny, this is a pitch-perfect, daring novel about how sex and violence fracture a life and the painstakingly realistic process of picking up the pieces. Evan's struggle is enormously sympathetic, even when he is not. Utterly gripping. (Fiction. 16 & up)

Product Details

Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.20(d)
HL820L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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Sex & Violence 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
BlowPop 11 months ago
This was another book that I'd put under the heading of healing. Because of how it goes into detail of healing after traumatic incidents. I'd definitely say that if you have any issues with the topics of this book, proceed into this book with caution and read when you're in a good place. It hit a lot of points hard for me due to subject matter. And I'm definitely recommending it to my friends with children as something they should have them read and then discuss afterwards with.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“Sex and Violence” was one of those books I wanted to read the second I saw the summary. I’m a sucker for good contemporary YA and the promise of a well-drawn male perspective was too much to pass up. Despite its somewhat melodramatic title, I read “Sex and Violence” in one day. Almost one sitting, too, because I kept being drawn back into the story every time I tried to put it down so I could get my chores done. Evan is used to being the New Guy–in new towns, new schools, and new houses that never feel like home. To make the constant moving more bearable, he hooks up with a different girl, or girls, in each new place he lives. He’s become accustomed to brief, casual intimacy without any consequences, until he is brutally beaten in the dorm showers at his boarding school for fooling around with the ‘wrong’ person. When his dad moves them to his hometown of Pearl Lake, MN, Evan has a chance to build normal relationships with the locals and maybe put his life back together. I love a good ‘recovery from trauma’ story as much as the next person, but one of the things I loved about “Sex and Violence” was that it didn’t conform to most of the trauma story conventions. Evan’s life initially centers around what happened to him, but the more comfortable he becomes in Pearl Lake, the more that trauma fades from the forefront of his mind. Instead of constantly pretending to be normal, Evan’s okay a lot of the time. But when he’s too much in his own head or exposed to a situation with unpleasant triggers, all his memories of the assault come rushing back. The trauma impacts Evan’s life but doesn’t halt it, and that felt like one of the most realistic aspects of the story. The other was Evan’s voice. It sounded so real to me, like if I’d managed to get inside the heads of some of the guys I knew in high school, this was what it might have been like. Equal parts crude and funny, open or withdrawn, no facet of Evan’s personality felt exaggerated or inexplicable. All of the secondary characters were similarly well-sketched, and it’s a testament to Mesrobian that none of them fell victim to cliche or caricature. My only sort of complaint with the novel is that its pacing tended to drag between the bigger plot points. It never took the easy way out with its many difficult questions, and because of that unflinching realism, I felt that the tension could’ve been higher overall. Otherwise I’d recommend “Sex and Violence” to just about anyone. A quiet trauma novel compared to many others, but one lending a perspective that desperately needs to be heard.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The thing about SEX AND VIOLENCE is that it’s magic. I don’t know if the book is made of magic, or if magic somehow pours out of the author, but the result is this: you will be reading along, totally swept up in some conversation the characters are having, just having a grand old time, and then BAM! You’ll be hit with a line, just ONE LINE, out of NOWHERE, that is deep and profound and leaves you spinning in circles, and you will look up from the page, and get lost in your own thoughts for about ten minutes, thinking about that line and what it means and how it changes things and maybe even your life. Seriously. I can’t even pinpoint how many times this happened while reading SEX AND VIOLENCE (nor do I want to, and thus, spoil the sense of discovery you’ll feel upon reading), but for those who’ve read the book and are curious, I will vaguely reference a couple of my favorite lines: The part about sex being luxurious for girls—I NEVER thought of things this way, and it was at once funny and profoundly sad, from a boy’s point of view, to have things laid out in those specific terms. To have the idea that sex is mostly fun for guys, and girls are the ones who have to worry about a lot of things, totally flipped on its head… Wow. It really struck a cord with me. Because I have thought about how, growing up, guys often think girls have all the power, and girls think guys have all the power, and really nobody feels like they have the power, and how sad that is, but I never thought of it in this specific way, and thank you Ms. Mesrobian for making me see things differently. This is my favorite thing about reading, when someone surprises me, changes my mind. Broadens my perspective. Yes. The other line (out of many) I really loved was the one about Lana rolling over and expecting to be petted, while Baker had places to be, and how interesting that is, how two people will be so different in sexual situations, and, specifically, why? … I mean, what causes one person to be almost entirely submissive and another to be aggressive? Is it personal? Psychological? Society? Upbringing?  Something else entirely? This is the beauty of SEX AND VIOLENCE. Mesrobian never tells you what to think. She just gives you the building blocks to get there on your own. Like with Evan: Evan talks about himself as this fairly manipulative, very calculating guy who’s always scamming on chicks. But is his perception correct? When we think about Evan with Collette, or Mandy, or Baker (or whomever), how manipulative is he?  When Evan blames himself for what happens early on in the book, is he actually at fault? Is the dichotomy of Good Evan and Dirtbag Evan accurate, or are they unrealistic extremes? I’m not giving any answers here; in fact, I’d love your thoughts. I think there’s more than one answer. But I think Evan’s perception of himself vs. his actions may be the most fascinating aspect of an already fascinating book. It made me think about the way boys perceive themselves: specifically, the way Evan perceived the desirous aspects of himself as bad, dirty, dangerous, as if Good Evan was the human façade he wore during the day, and Dirtbag Evan was the uncontrollable werewolf he turned into at night.  And what does that mean for a boy trying to come to terms with his own desires, both physical and emotional? What does that mean for anyone trying to come to terms with their desires, in a world that only frames those desires as dangerous or bad? I seriously feel like I could go on forever with all these questions, but instead, I will leave you with this: SEX AND VIOLENCE is amazing. Read it. Think about it. Come and talk to me.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Carrie Mesrobian has written one of the most realistic novels I have read about a dysfunctional  teenager since Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell. Mesrobian brilliantly, honestly, and unnervingly not only enters the mind of a young man but realistically creates his pained relationship with his father, therapist, and friends. She captures the social merry-go-round of the life of a party-going teen and never loses the reader, never uses cliched characters or turns of plot. I am awed by her ability to write from a first person male point of view as well as capture the slow healing process through showing rather than telling. Interspersed with most chapters is a letter the main character writes. This structural/plot technique feels a bit forced in places but builds well to the book's climax. This book may shock some, but I suspect it will truly engage high school readers. Five stars.
Aaron007 More than 1 year ago
The voice of the male protagonist in this book is the most riveting I’ve read in a long time. Carrie Mesrobian has crafted an ambitious first novel that weaves a young man's painfully authentic interior life with subjects and themes as diverse as lake ecology and feminism. The result is a gripping, tense portrait of one teen guy's struggle with his own emotional scars and demons. There isn't a single false note here. The language is spare, economical, and brutal. The result is a compulsively readable emotional journey that turns the tables on that fuzzy line between victim and perpetrator. This is a space where relatively few YA authors tread, but Mesrobian is unflinching. Her book asks hard questions then fights like hell to find answers that are anything but easy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is this book about sex and violence or a late night HBO show(sarcastically) Not recommended for 13 and under.