F562F0F6-5ABF-4CD5-8FF3-DEECF06269FC.jpegI received More Than Friends by Monica Murphy from a Goodreads giveaway, which I think is quite lucky as I doubt I’d have read it otherwise. And while this review is going to be quite scathing, I am glad that I read this book and I’ll tell you why. More Than Friends is a deeply problematic book. In fact, this book is so problematic that I find it to be more of an affront than the trash that is Fifty Shades of Grey, and from me that’s really saying something.

Within moments of starting this book, I found myself horrified at the level of abuse romanticizing that Monica Murphy does throughout her novel.

I would be doing an incredible disservice to all the young girls out there unfortunate enough to come across this book if I didn’t take the time to discuss this issue. The main love interest in this book has the makings of an extremely abusive boyfriend.

In the first 20% of the book, Jordan Tuttle ignores Amanda’s lack of consent, has absolutely no respect for her in any real way, treats and refers to her in possessive ways indicative of a predatory and borderline violent need for control, and is blatantly disrespectful to women in general (see: random girl at a party who performed sexual acts for him prior. Tuttle doesn’t remember her name or even have the basic human decency to apologize, but rather makes an incredibly snarky and disrespectful comment instead).

And somehow we, as readers, are supposed to find this behavior romantic.

When Tuttle says, “I’d take more, but you scare easy,” we’re supposed to love him for it. When he’s described as “star[ing] at [her] like [she’s] a rare, exotic animal” we’re supposed to find it romantic. When he glares at her and tightly grips his desk while she’s talking to another boy, we’re supposed to see it as some sort of cute jealousy. Somehow this is supposed to be representative of how much he cares about the main character because a) he’s obsessed with her, and b) he doesn’t give a damn about other girls. For the love of everything good in the world, I need people to understand that this is not romantic.

This is abusive.

What truly frustrates me about Jordan Tuttle’s disgusting behavior is how the author writes the main character’s reactions to it. I don’t care that this creep has liked Amanda since he was thirteen, there is absolutely no excuse for how he treats her. And throughout the awful things he does, not only does Amanda regularly question if she is in the wrong for her reactions to his predatory and coercive behavior, she is manipulated by those around her into seeing his actions as okay. When he kisses her and she pulls away, “trying to escape,” his response is to manipulate her into feeling bad to the point that she proceeds to call herself lame.

When Amanda expresses concerns about his feelings for her, Murphy attempts to manipulate readers into feeling sorry for Tuttle. She suggests Amanda is somehow the bad guy for recognizing his predatory and womanizing behavior and calling him out on it. Jordan Tuttle is presented as a misunderstood guy who genuinely cares about Amanda. Though he “thought [he’d] already show[n her how he felt],” his actions tell an entirely different story. His thoughts show quite clearly that he sees her as an object he wishes to obtain.

Amanda is portrayed as viewing Jordan Tuttle as the bad guy she just can’t help being unreasonably upset with. She is simultaneously described as extremely drawn to him for no real reason. The abusively manipulating behavior of Tuttle is presented as something Amanda misunderstands.

We are regularly coerced into believing that Amanda is being unreasonable for not bending to his every whim. We are made to believe that she is entirely wrong to worry that he doesn’t want to be with her and only her despite his actions. Her own thoughts are disturbingly toxic. She regularly references how “drunk” she is on Jordan and is later criticized for being “rude” to him as a result of her misgivings. Predatory comments are referenced as cute or sweet. The moments of dark, “I should own you” behavior made to imply the level at which he cares for her.

I left this book queasy and terrified.

I already referenced that, at one point, Tuttle is described as glaring and gripping his desk tightly all because Amanda is speaking with a different boy in class at school. And how does the author have her main character respond to this enormous red flag? Amanda immediately wonders whether that means our dear abuser Jordan Tuttle is jealous. Is she creeped out? No. Scared? No. Instead, she calls herself a bitch for wanting to make him jealous.

Not only that, but when this same boy later asks her to be his lab partner, Tuttle rudely interrupts and claims her. In this moment, he is described as “looking intimidating as crap with his arms crossed in front of his broad chest and a glower on his face that could slay a thousand dragons.” Then, to make matters worse, not only does Amanda express a very clear and strong desire to not partner with Tuttle for the lab, she is subsequently forced into it by the teacher’s inept misreading of the situation.

If you meet a Jordan Tuttle.

Listen, if the boy you like acts in the same way as Jordan Tuttle, you desperately need to run immediately as far away from him as you possibly can. This is the beginning of an extremely abusive and unhealthy relationship. In my opinion, the author should be ashamed and disgusted with herself for misleading young women into believing that this sort of behavior is in any way romantic or okay. It genuinely terrifies me that a book was permitted to push actions of ignoring a woman’s right to give consent, predatory and controlling behavior, and manipulations as the romantic actions of a love interest.

For every girl who has developed a deep misunderstanding of what a healthy relationship looks like because they have been subjected to a book that promotes abusive behavior as a sign that he cares, my heart breaks for you. No one deserves to be brainwashed to fall for such horrible and disgusting misrepresentations of romantic relationships. This is not what a healthy relatationship looks like. And no one deserves to be treated so horribly.

If you decide to read this book, and frankly I urge all of you to do so if only for this purpose, I want you to take a serious look at how abusive it is. If you do, please spread the word so that no young girl has to go through an abusive relationship because some moron gave her the idea that harmful and possessive male behavior is romantic.

I’m honestly furious and frankly you should be, too.


| Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Facebook |

12 thoughts on “More Than Friends [Monica Murphy] ***Abuse Romanticizing Book Alert***

    1. …yeah, no. Sorry. You’re entitled to your opinion, of course, but if you actually read into the facts about abusive relationships, it’s unquestionable that this book supports romanticizing abuse.

      And I’m sorry, but that’s disgusting and I cannot support it.


      1. I have read the whole trilogy yes it’s a series. This is actually the second book. But since I doubt you’ll read the third book they do end up together. Amanda forgives Jordan for everything because she helped to change him with love. When I was reading this book I didn’t see anything wrong with the relationship between the two of them but that’s the great thing about media we all see different things and that’s just fine.


      2. Her forgiving him does not equal this book not romanticizing abuse. The fact that she forgives him is the very reason this book DOES romanticise abuse. The whole “chang[ing] him with love” idea is problematic in and of itself because life doesn’t work that way. Factually, he is presented as a character who is abusive and does abusive things. No amount of forgiveness and “changing” that would never happen if these characters were realistic make that okay.

        It’s troubling to me that you didn’t see anything wrong with their relationship (though I suppose it doesn’t surprise me given your username is “Christiangreysuperfan,” another example of an abusive character that is romanticized). That really just points to the bigger problem for why romanticizing abuse in novels, especially YA, is an issue.

        Like the book if you will, but to deny the fact that he acted in abusive ways isn’t okay to me and I will continue to raise awareness on why his behavior is problematic.


  1. This is a great review! I find it so important to consider the audience and what a book teaches them.
    I forgot the title but I remember this awful YA romance in which the boy constantly used his mental health issues to manipulate and punish the girl. It was a series but I had to stop in the middle because it was so sick and toxic. And from a professional point of view really not the way you should handle your partner’s mental health problems.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too. And that’s what bothers me most about these books. I can’t stand when teenagers who likely haven’t been educated on abusive relationships fall into believing that people treating them like this is okay. It will only hurt innocent people in the long run.


  2. wow great rant! I like a good rant 😅😆😆 This doesn’t sound like anything I would read anyway because I’m not a fan of erotic literature (that being said I don’t mind books with bits of eroticism in them) but i think this would be justifiable if there was some sort of consequence like for instance, he loses her and has a measure of catharsis or she finally learns to put her foot down, something like that, because then at least the author is educating her YA audience (I presume?) that such relationships are toxic and have consequences.


    1. I agree completely. If the book eventually calls out the abuse for what it is and takes a stance against it, I could respect it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s