Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Let's Talk | Blaming the Victim in Say You'll Remember Me by Katie McGarry

Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault  (Unwanted Groping) and Sexual Harassment 


A couple weeks ago, I read Katie McGarry's Say You'll Remember Me. I've read other books my McGarry and enjoyed them, and I thought I would enjoy her newest release. Unfortunately, I was taken aback by how McGarry handled instances of sexual assault and harassment. I am shocked that such blatant victim blaming was allowed in the book, and that the sexual assault and harassment were used as mere plot devices for the two leads to become closer. 

One of the most blatant examples of victim blaming comes halfway through the audiobook, when Ellison, the main character, is sexually groped by a politician at an event. When she leaves the room to take a breath of air, she is chastised by one of her peers, Andrew, for interacting with the man who assaulted her. Andrew tells her that Ellison should have known better, and shouldn't have talked to the assaulter. First, the assaulter approached her, and she didn't know how to get out of the situation, considering that the attacker was in a power of position, and was potentially financing Ellison's father's run for senate. Then, after Andrew leaves, her love interest, Hendricks, comes up. When the approach the topic of Ellison's assault, he says, "That asshole touched you, and you let him." Ellison, in her inner thoughts, concedes to this point, stating how she did not verbally or physically protest the groping. In these interactions, readers are told that it is their fault if they are assaulted. The message in these scenes are clear: Ellison should have known better, and because she didn't verbally or physically protest, she is at fault for her own assault. The way this was handled was, frankly, horrifying. We should never put any of the blame on victims, no matter the situation, and I'm surprised that through rounds of edits that the assault was handled better.

Before this scene, a pattern of sexual harassment and assault against Ellison was established. Early in the book, Ellison goes to a fair. She was supposed to be with Andrew (aforementioned peer), but because they don't get along, they went their separate ways. While she was walking through the fair, she is followed by a pair of college men who taunt her. They first tell her how beautiful she is, and when she doesn't give them any attention, they begin to tell her what they want done to them sexually, and grab their crotches. Ellison eventually gets away from them, only for them to later follow her. At this point, Ellison has met Hendricks, her love interest. Hendricks helps Ellison, and is labeled a hero. From there on, Hendricks wants to continue to be Ellison's hero. When she is sexually assaulted at the aforementioned party, Hendricks' remarks being jealous that Andrew swooped in, claiming that he wanted to be Ellison's hero. This situation is problematic for a few reasons, as detailed below.
  1. Ellison's sexual assault and harassment are plot points that allows Hendricks, the male love interest, to be a hero. The attention is not on what Ellison is experiencing and how the actions of the three men are horrific, but on how wonderful and valiant Hendricks is. This shows that Katie McGarry isn't adding in the sexual assault and harassment to make a statement on today's society, but is adding it in as a plot point to further along the romantic relationship of the two protagonists. 
  2. Hendrick's is labeled as a "hero," for doing something morally just. Men shouldn't be applauded for doing something decent, like interfering when someone is being harassed or assaulted. Yes, it is great that Ellison was able to remove herself from both situations with the help of others, but we shouldn't commend others for doing what should be expected, which is to help in any way they can. 
  3. Since a pattern of harassment and assault was established a the fair scene, and then later when Ellison remarks that she had called her brother in the past when something similar happened to her before, it is even more troubling that Ellison and others put the blame on her. Hendricks says he wants to be her hero, as he was labeled after the fair incident, and yet he blames Ellison the next time something similar happens. By having Hendricks labeled as a hero, readers are more likely to disregard his later response, or even think it is appropriate. 
This past year, there has been a rising conversation on sexual assault, whether in Hollywood, the political sphere, or everyday life. While strides are being made, books like Say You'll Remember Me are flying under the radar despite the problematic content. The novel has a 3.99 average rating on goodreads, and a large majority of the reviews love Ellison and  Hendricks' relationship. As reviewers, I believe it is our responsibility to call out novels for their problematic content, in hopes of bettering the community, the books we read, and the morals they teach. There are young adult novels that have much healthier relationships, and I urge you to look elsewhere if you want to read a contemporary romance. 




Have you read Say You'll Remember Me? What did you think? Let's discuss!

Thanks so much for stopping by, and I'll see you soon with another post!

Happy Reading!

Genni @ Ready, Set, Read!

Monday, July 16, 2018

BOOK REVIEW | Everless by Sara Holland

Title: Everless
Author: Sara Holland
Series? Yes, Everless is the first book in a duology.
Pages: 362
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: I checked out the audiobook of Everless from my local library via Libby. 
In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Mini Book Reviews | Romance!

Title: Roomies
Author: Christina Lauren
Series? No
Pages: 368
Publication Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: I checked out the paperback edition of Roomies from my local library.

Even though I mostly read Young Adult fiction, I heard a lot about Roomies from other bloggers. It seems like everyone had fun reading it, so I decided to give it a go. Little did I know that Roomies would spur a need inside me to read more romance! Author duo Christina Lauren is wildly popular, and after reading Roomies, I completely understand. The romance between the leads, Calvin and Holland, was palpable and the sex scenes were written very well. There is quite a bit of comedy in Roomies as well, which balanced out the drama interspersed through the novel. Though I don't think I would enter a marriage of convenience, as Holland does to ensure Calvin isn't deported, it did allow for a fun and sexy read! I would recommend Roomies, especially if you are more interested in contemporary romances rather than fantastical or historical romances! 

I give Roomies 4 out of 5 Flowers!




Friday, July 6, 2018

BOOK REVIEW | Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Title: Hunted
Author: Meagan Spooner
Series: No, Hunted is a standalone
Pages: 374
Publication Date: March 14, 2017
Publisher: Harper Collins
Source: I checked out the audiobook of Hunted from my local library via the app Libby.


New York Times bestselling author Meagan Spooner spins a thoroughly thrilling Beauty and the Beast story for the modern age, expertly woven with spellbinding romance, intrigue, and suspense that readers won’t soon be able to forget.

Beauty knows the Beast's forest in her bones—and in her blood. After all, her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering its secrets. So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters out of their comfortable home among the aristocracy and back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas . . . or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance. The Beast.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange creature back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of magical creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin, or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

Thursday, July 5, 2018

BOOK REVIEW | Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian

Title: Stay Sweet
Author: Siobhan Vivian
Series? No, Stay Sweet is a standalone
Pages: 368
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: I listened to the audiobook of Stay Sweet from my local library via Libby.
A summer read about first love, feminism, and ice cream.

Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to Meade Creamery—the local ice cream stand founded in 1944 by Molly Meade who started making ice cream to cheer up her lovesick girlfriends while all the boys were away at war. Since then, the stand has been owned and managed exclusively by local girls, who inevitably become the best of friends. Seventeen-year-old Amelia and her best friend Cate have worked at the stand every summer for the past three years, and Amelia is “Head Girl” at the stand this summer. When Molly passes away before Amelia even has her first day in charge, Amelia isn’t sure that the stand can go on. That is, until Molly’s grandnephew Grady arrives and asks Amelia to stay on to help continue the business…but Grady’s got some changes in mind…

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

June Wrap Up + Updates!

Hi everyone and welcome back to my blog! I'm Genni and today I'll be talking about the books I have read in June as well as share some updates! 

June was a pretty great reading month for me (11 books!) and now I'm only three books behind my goodreads goal! I also enjoyed all the books I read last month. All of them were 3.5 Star reads or more! I've only reviewed three of the eleven so far, so be on the lookout for some more reviews this July!

1) Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Save the Date is Matson's newest release, and I really enjoyed it! It wasn't my favorite, but it was entertaining. There was just a bit too many antics for me, and the book seemed much longer than the couple days it took place in. 

2) Breathe by Sarah Crossan

Review
 
Breathe is the first in a dystopian duology. Though I didn't love the book, it was good enough for me to continue on with the series. I'm planning on reading Resist this first week of July. The characters verged on one-dimensional, but the setting itself was intriguing.

Friday, June 29, 2018

10 Perfect Summer Reads!

Hi everyone and welcome back to my blog! I'm Genni, and today I'll be sharing ten books that I think are perfect for summer. For all my northern hemisphere readers, these books will be perfect whether you are lounging by the pool or are heading in for that miraculous air conditioning. For my southern hemisphere readers, I hope you enjoy these come December!

Without further ado, here are 10 books that I think are perfect for the summer!

Now, I don't know about you but when I think summer reads I immediately think: contemporary. Summer romance, summer jobs, getting ready for college, everything! BUT I do know that some of you don't like contemporary, so I'll make sure that there are some books outside of that genre.

Here are 7 contemporary reads! 

10) Dating You/Hating You and Roomies by Christina Lauren
I had to have a two in one here! I recently read both of these books by Christina Lauren and thought they were the perfect summer reads. They are both romance novels, but have that fun spirit I associate with new adult reads. The chemistry is off the charts, and the plots suck me in!