Sex & Violence

Sex & Violence

by Carrie Mesrobian
4.2 6

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Sex & Violence 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
BlowPop More than 1 year 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.