Right Guy, Wrong Time [Louise MacGregor]

The thought of her even doubting for a second that I was telling the truth was even harder. I was having trouble convincing myself that it had happened–that that had really happened, to me–

Rape is a trauma. What’s worse is it’s often a trauma the victim has been indoctrinated into blaming themselves for. We question how much we are to blame for what happened to us, what we could have done differently to avoid such an outcome. This moment replays over and over again in our minds, seeping into both mundane and important moments of our lives. We question if it even really happened. We do this even though the only one to blame is the rapist.

It was as though every feeling that I’d done such a good job of ignoring had come rushing down on top of me all at once.

I read this Right Guy, Wrong Time, under a different title, for the first time in 2019. I recall, at the time, thinking this was not a book that I would read lightly. Due to the title, which was jarring and uncomfortable, I went into the read thinking that I would read it as critically as possible.

What I learned was that the situation the main character finds herself in is jarring and uncomfortable.

And it would have to be. This is an incredibly insightful and respectful account of a young woman’s struggle to work with the incredible trauma that comes from having been raped. It follows the delicate mind-work surrounding its aftermath, realizing the truth as it is and coming to terms with it. This book handles the subject matter well, portraying the difficulty of functioning with trauma in a society that just does not take it seriously. A society that is, unfortunately, filled with troubling men and women who feel entitled to the bodies of other people.

I said it before; Right Guy, Wrong Time is, without question, the best portrayal of the aftermath of a rape I have ever read in a novel.

…the exact same feeling of helplessness and hopelessness and fuck fuck fuck.

I have been deeply impressed with the novel as a whole. And I think it’s important to note how direct the novel is in addressing feelings people experience in real life. But it’s also important to recognize that the traumatic themes discussed within this book are very difficult to read. Our main character truly suffers in many ways. The trauma follows her throughout so many moments in her life after the event.

Rape is not something to cover up in something pretty, not meant to be shielded from or ignored. Rather, this is something that we need to discuss and tackle head-on in every single way possible. We need to until we live in a society, and world, that takes these issues seriously on every level. It is not enough to simply acknowledge the event. This trauma does not leave its victims. It permeates their entire lives, from work-life, to friendships, to relationships.

This doesn’t ever fully leave you, even if it sometimes becomes easier to live with.

It was hard not to hate men, sometimes. Not all men–well, not Phillip, at least– but I would walk down the street and look around and wonder how many of those men had made someone feel the way I did.

In its original publication, Right Guy, Wrong Time was marketed as a romantic comedy. At the time, I did not see it that way. And I’m genuinely pleased to see that this was toned down a bit in the new publication. Now, we see this book presented to the world as a realistic look at what recovery looks like after rape.

To me, this novel is kind of a dark and therapeutic book. It’s one that takes a real and deep look at the painful and damaging experience of life after rape trauma. Recovery is not an easy path by any means. While it may not be one you have to take alone, it is one that leaves you with harrowing experiences. The trauma alone allows even the simplest of moments to send you back deep into that dark place.

I do genuinely believe that this is a book that is important for others to read. It’ll be important to survivors of abuse, experiencing someone shedding light on their experiences. And it will be important to men and women who don’t fully understand this trauma. I genuinely believe it has the ability to open eyes. Just what does someone go through after they’ve been sexually assaulted? How does it take over their lives? What mundane and important moments does it seep into?

I was especially impressed and pleased to have seen the inclusion of vaginismus represented in Edie’s story, as well, something I have never seen before.

It’s not a perfect novel. But it is an important one.

I just feel like I’m broken and I’m dragging you along with my brokenness and it doesn’t feel fair because I don’t know if I’ll ever be normal again.

I’ve left this book feeling better for the fact that it exists. I found myself relating, in many ways, to Edie as she struggled through the aftermath of her rape and multiple assaults. I’ve left this book feeling as though, for the first time, I see a character who understands something painful I’ve been through. They understand it on a deeper level than most. And this is something I’ve not had the experience of feeling before.

I’ve also left this book hopeful. I’m hopeful, as the world continues to spin, we’ll one day have a world where people are respectful of boundaries. I’m hopeful there will be a world where survivors of these traumas will find empathy and understanding in their path to recovery.

I know these feelings aren’t all due to this book. Many came from the growth of the #MeToo movement, which the author has admitted fueled some of her writing as she was working on a draft when it began.

I am glad to have read it. I think I am better for having read it. Maybe, others will be, too.

| Reader Fox Links |

Right Guy, Wrong Time [Louise MacGregor]

The thought of her even doubting for a second that I was telling the truth was even harder. I was having trouble convincing myself that it had happened–that that had really happened, to me–

Rape is a trauma. What’s worse is it’s often a trauma the victim has been indoctrinated into blaming themselves for. We question how much we are to blame for what happened to us, what we could have done differently to avoid such an outcome. This moment replays over and over again in our minds, seeping into both mundane and important moments of our lives. We question if it even really happened. We do this even though the only one to blame is the rapist.

It was as though every feeling that I’d done such a good job of ignoring had come rushing down on top of me all at once.

I read this Right Guy, Wrong Time, under a different title, for the first time in 2019. I recall, at the time, thinking this was not a book that I would read lightly. Due to the title, which was jarring and uncomfortable, I went into the read thinking that I would read it as critically as possible.

What I learned was that the situation the main character finds herself in is jarring and uncomfortable.

And it would have to be. This is an incredibly insightful and respectful account of a young woman’s struggle to work with the incredible trauma that comes from having been raped. It follows the delicate mind-work surrounding its aftermath, realizing the truth as it is and coming to terms with it. This book handles the subject matter well, portraying the difficulty of functioning with trauma in a society that just does not take it seriously. A society that is, unfortunately, filled with troubling men and women who feel entitled to the bodies of other people.

I said it before; Right Guy, Wrong Time is, without question, the best portrayal of the aftermath of a rape I have ever read in a novel.

…the exact same feeling of helplessness and hopelessness and fuck fuck fuck.

I have been deeply impressed with the novel as a whole. And I think it’s important to note how direct the novel is in addressing feelings people experience in real life. But it’s also important to recognize that the traumatic themes discussed within this book are very difficult to read. Our main character truly suffers in many ways. The trauma follows her throughout so many moments in her life after the event.

Rape is not something to cover up in something pretty, not meant to be shielded from or ignored. Rather, this is something that we need to discuss and tackle head-on in every single way possible. We need to until we live in a society, and world, that takes these issues seriously on every level. It is not enough to simply acknowledge the event. This trauma does not leave its victims. It permeates their entire lives, from work-life, to friendships, to relationships.

This doesn’t ever fully leave you, even if it sometimes becomes easier to live with.

It was hard not to hate men, sometimes. Not all men–well, not Phillip, at least– but I would walk down the street and look around and wonder how many of those men had made someone feel the way I did.

In its original publication, Right Guy, Wrong Time was marketed as a romantic comedy. At the time, I did not see it that way. And I’m genuinely pleased to see that this was toned down a bit in the new publication. Now, we see this book presented to the world as a realistic look at what recovery looks like after rape.

To me, this novel is kind of a dark and therapeutic book. It’s one that takes a real and deep look at the painful and damaging experience of life after rape trauma. Recovery is not an easy path by any means. While it may not be one you have to take alone, it is one that leaves you with harrowing experiences. The trauma alone allows even the simplest of moments to send you back deep into that dark place.

I do genuinely believe that this is a book that is important for others to read. It’ll be important to survivors of abuse, experiencing someone shedding light on their experiences. And it will be important to men and women who don’t fully understand this trauma. I genuinely believe it has the ability to open eyes. Just what does someone go through after they’ve been sexually assaulted? How does it take over their lives? What mundane and important moments does it seep into?

I was especially impressed and pleased to have seen the inclusion of vaginismus represented in Edie’s story, as well, something I have never seen before.

It’s not a perfect novel. But it is an important one.

I just feel like I’m broken and I’m dragging you along with my brokenness and it doesn’t feel fair because I don’t know if I’ll ever be normal again.

I’ve left this book feeling better for the fact that it exists. I found myself relating, in many ways, to Edie as she struggled through the aftermath of her rape and multiple assaults. I’ve left this book feeling as though, for the first time, I see a character who understands something painful I’ve been through. They understand it on a deeper level than most. And this is something I’ve not had the experience of feeling before.

I’ve also left this book hopeful. I’m hopeful, as the world continues to spin, we’ll one day have a world where people are respectful of boundaries. I’m hopeful there will be a world where survivors of these traumas will find empathy and understanding in their path to recovery.

I know these feelings aren’t all due to this book. Many came from the growth of the #MeToo movement, which the author has admitted fueled some of her writing as she was working on a draft when it began.

I am glad to have read it. I think I am better for having read it. Maybe, others will be, too.

| Reader Fox Links |

The Do-Over [Jennifer Honeybourn]; Happy Book Birthday!

Happy book birthday to The Do-Overby Jennifer Honeybourn! Oh, everyone in rom-com land should know better than to choose the hot popular guy over the best friend…

Boy, am I a sucker for these stories. This is like a YA revamp of13 Going on 30 and I amso herefor it. Granted, I’m a little sad that it doesn’t include Mark Ruffalo.

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the do-overA teenage girl gets the chance to redo her past in this smart and charming YA novel by the author ofWhen Life Gives You Demons.

Emilia has always wanted to fit in with the A crowd. So, when Ben, the hottest guy in school, asks her out, she chooses him over Alistair, her best friendeven after he confesses his feelings to her.

Six months later, Emilia wonders how her life would have been different if she'd chosen Alistair instead. Haunted by her mistake, she finds a magical solution that promises to rectify the past. As a result, everything in her life is different. What happens if her second chance is her only chance to make things right?

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The Best Laid Plans [Cameron Lund]; 2020 YA Releases

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TOThe Best Laid Plans by Cameron Lund! I amso crazy excited for this book, excuse me while I go and read itfinally. Meanwhile, you can read my thoughts here?

High school senior Keely Collins takes on firsts, lasts, and everything in between in this sweet, sex-positive rom-com for fans of Meg Cabot and Jenny Han.

It seemed like a good plan at first.

When the only other virgin in her group of friends loses it at Keely's own eighteenth birthday party, she's inspired to take things into her own hands. She wants to have that experience too (well, not exactly like that--but with someone she trusts and actually likes), so she's going to need to find the guy, and fast. Problem is, she's known all the boys in her small high school forever, and it's kinda hard to be into a guy when you watched him eat crayons in kindergarten.

So she can't believe her luck when she meets a ridiculously hot new guy named Dean. Not only does he look like he's fallen out of a classic movie poster, but he drives a motorcycle, flirts with ease, and might actually be into her.

But Dean's already in college, and Keely is convinced he'll drop her if he finds out how inexperienced she is. That's when she talks herself into a new plan: her lifelong best friend, Andrew, would never hurt or betray her, and he's clearly been with enough girls that he can show her the ropes before she goes all the way with Dean. Of course, the plan only works if Andrew and Keely stay friends--just friends--so things are about to get complicated.

Cameron Lund's delightful debut is a hilarious and heartfelt story of first loves, first friends, and first times--and how making them your own is all that really matters.

If this book isn’t on your TBR, take my advice and go add itright now!

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This is Not a Love Scene [S. C. Megale]; 2019 YA Releases

this is not a love sceneEh, I think I had wanted to readThis is Not a Love Sceneby S. C. Meagle at one point in the past, because it was already on my TBR. But after reading the synopsis again, I’m honestly just really not feeling it? And I’m not all that surprised since this is a contemporary novel. The cool thing about it, though, is the fact that this book features a main character who is in a wheelchair, something we unfortunately don’t see enough representation for in books. I’ve seen a little more representation over the years, but much to my own dismay it’s primarily been in contemporary novels. I’d like to see it in some Fantasy in the future.

Lights, cameraall Maeve needs is action. But at eighteen, a rare form of muscular dystrophy usually stands in the way of romance. She’s got her friends, her humor, and a passion for filmmaking to keep her focus off consistent rejection…and the hot older guy starring in her senior film project.

Tall, bearded, and always swaying, Cole Stone is everything Maeve can’t be. And she likes it. Between takes, their chemistry is shockingly electric.

Suddenly Maeve gets a taste of typical teenage dating life, but girls in wheelchairs dont get the hot guyright? Coles attention challenges everything she once believed about her self-image and hopes for love. But figuring this out, both emotionally and physically, won’t be easy for either of them. Maeve must choose between what she needs and what she wants, while Cole has a tendency to avoid decisions altogether. And her failing lungs might not wait for either.

What are your feelings forThis is Not a Love Scene? Does it sound like a book you’re interested in reading? Why or why not? What are your thoughts on this senior film project they’re working on? The love interest? Let me know in the comments below! And, as always, happy reading everyone!

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More Than Just a Pretty Face [Syed M. Masood]; Happy Book Birthday!

Happy book birthday to More Than Just a Pretty Face by Syed M. Masood! Ahhhhh!! This book sounds absolutely adorable. And while I will admit that I am not the biggest fan ofcooking, I honestly can’t wait to pick up this book.

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more than just a pretty faceFor fans of Becky Albertalli and Jenny Han, a sweetly funny YA rom-com debut about falling in love, familial expectations, and being a Renaissance Man.

Danyal Jilani doesn't lack confidence. He may not be the smartest guy in the room, but he's funny, gorgeous, and going to make a great chef one day. His father doesn't approve of his career choice, but that hardly matters. Whatdoesmatter is the opinion of Danyal's longtime crush, the perfect-in-all-ways Kaval, and her family, who consider him a less than ideal arranged marriage prospect.

When Danyal gets selected for Renaissance Man--a school-wide academic championship--it's the perfect opportunity to show everyone he's smarter than they think. He recruits the brilliant, totally-uninterested-in-him Bisma to help with the competition, but the more time Danyal spends with her...the more he learns from her...the more he cooks for her...the more he realizes that happiness may be staring him right in his pretty face.

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Bookish and the Beast [Ashley Poston]

bookish and the beastAH! I literallyscreamed when I learned thatAshley Poston was coming out with a Beauty and the Beast retelling. While this particular story has often been hit or miss for me with the ones I’ve read, I was pretty sold onBookish and the Beast before I even had it in my hands, let alone started reading. I think it had something to do with the title. Of everything, I fell in love with that title instantaneously. Plus, it helps that I’ve really enjoyed Poston’s prior novels.

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Despite not being a con-goer and typically finding that area of being a fan difficult to relate to, I’ve always been pleasantly surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed each and everyOnce Upon a Con novel so far. Retellings have always been my jam, really, so of course I picked them up. But the truth is that I did not expect to like them as much as I have.

Bookish and the Beast is Poston’s best novel to date.

Set after the ending events of ExcelsiCon,Bookish and the Beast picks up with Rosie Thorne, a young girl who has somewhat recently lost her mother as she enters her senior year of high school. She is prepping for college right alongside her family’s immense financial struggles as a result of her mother’s medical and funeral costs. Upon following a loose dog into what she believes is the abandoned castle home of her neighborhood, Rosie finds herself in the unfortunate circumstance of needing to pay for the damages on a priceless first edition Starflame novel.

Thus begins Rosie working for (sort-of) non other than Vance Reigns to repay her debt.

This novel was pretty phenomenal. From the central couple to each and every piece of the retelling, I loved it. I even loved the Gaston character, at least insofar as he was brilliantly written (the guy was a capital J – Jerk which Poston portrayed so well!). The pacing was fantastic, keeping me thoroughly engaged the entire time. Bonus points for diversity and inclusion re: the LGBTQ community with a non-binary and a bisexual character, none of which felt forced at all.

And I loved Rosie and Vance.

I have to be fair here, however, in admitting something about the book I could see as a potential problem. Poston skipped over a fair amount of the connection building between the two love interests. Basically, we’re meant to accept that they have built up feelings for each other based on a night that they had prior to the majority of the events that take place in the book. The initial connection they have is shown as a sort of brief look into the night they met while leaving out the majority of their conversation. Then we’re met with a flash-forward.

Honestly? I was okay with this.

It didn’t reallytake from the novel for me. As far as I’m concerned, made the couple feel more real than I believe any slow build-up of excess interaction, in the beginning, would have. In my opinion, the decision to leave out the majority of their first night getting to know each other was the right decision. Poston instead just acknowledged that their night happened and delved deep into how it made the characters feel. And it was brilliant.

This take probably won’t work for everyone.

It did work for me, though. I found myself literally on the edge of my seat as I stayed up egregiously late into the night to finish the novel the very day I started it. From fantastic characters to great commentaries, this book had so much to love. The tension between the two main characters was perfect. And while certain events were predictable–it’s a retelling, that’s to be expected–my only complaint comes from Vance’s response to that predictability.

Still, these characters were fantastic.

Vance was not the typical cookie-cutter of bad-boy actor you usually see in the novels. Instead of having some traumatic past to justify his horrific behavior, we see a deeper side to a character who has quite literally dug his own holes and is dealing with the emotional fallout as a result. Rosie is relatable in many ways. What stood out most for me was her story, detailing the struggles women face with unwanted and unwarranted advances from a guy who just won’t take no as an answer.

Garrett, our Gaston, was well written and just the right amount of privileged cringe. Quinn and Annie were the perfect best friends for Rosie, wonderful in a multitude of unique ways. While I wasn’t in love with the adult characters, they were both extremely likable. And, as with Poston’s prior novels, there are a few callbacks to characters from the previous novels, so keep an eye out! Plus, it’s chock full of movie and fan references from just about any fandom you can think of. There was even one poking fun at Disney buying everything!

Bookish and the Beast is set for a publication date of June 16th.

If this book hasn’t been on your radar up until now, I would definitely suggest putting it on your TBR. A wonderful retelling that is definitely now on my list of favorites,Bookish and the Beast is a book that’ll stick with you. Also, look out for the Tom Holland reference! I giggled so much!

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