What they say: Brooke Wright has only two goals her senior year at Charity Run High School: stay out of trouble and learn to forgive herself for the past. Forgiveness proves elusive, and trouble finds her anyway when she discovers a secret club at school connected to the death of her best friend. She learns that swim team members participate in a “Fantasy Slut League,” scoring points for their sexual acts with unsuspecting girls.
Brooke, wracked with guilt over her friend’s death, decides to infiltrate the league by becoming one of the “unsuspecting girls,” and exact revenge on the boys who stole away her best friend. An unexpected romance complicates her plans, and her dogged pursuit of justice turns her reckless as she underestimates just how far the boys will go to keep their sex club a secret.
(This is a New Adult fiction book with mature themes. It contains graphic sex and language and a description of sexual violence).
What I say: Going Under covers some pretty controversial topics and in places it's difficult to read, but I think essentially that's exactly S.Walden's point. Sexual violence, particulary in teenagers, is never easy to read or write about but it is a subject which needs to be discussed!
As heroine's go Brooke isn't exactly your average lead - she spent months sleeping with her best friends boyfriend, and at times is hard to like. At first I found her to be extremely selfish, but I later realised that more than anything she's naive. Her guilt over her past actions and Beth's death lead her to change schools to try to expose violent teenage boys. She purposefully puts herself in harms way, never fully understanding the consequences of her actions until it's too late.
As the story progressed I found myself softening towards Brooke and I wanted her to bring the guys to justice. I really liked Ryan, although at times the story was too similar to certain elements in Almost. I also think Brooke was particularly harsh to him all things considered, but I can understand both his actions and her response.
The flashbacks, showing scenes between Brooke and Beth were really sad, it's especially horrible when your already know what's going to happen. The entire book was focused around building to the final confrontation. This was hard to read and I really hope the events are entirely fictional. The issue of consent and release was a tough subject to approach and I think Walden deserves credit for drawing attention to this rarely discussed issue.
A good read, but it doesn't always flow well at times. I felt Brooke needed more development, but her naivety is part of her character. I wasn't one hundred percent convinced by the ending but I think that was mainly because of my uncertainty of Brooke.
3.5 Stars in my Sky!
My fav non-spoilery quotes:
- We're allowed one huge mess-up. I wish I would have saved mined for later on in life. Eighteen felt like too young an age to already use it.
- "Guys want a 'good girl' who's pure and sweet and inexperienced, but then he expects her to be this rock star in bed. It's totally messed up."
- Either way, my feelings were hurt, and my pride along with them. Shouldn't he try to fight for my affections or something?
- My heart still warred with my mind, refusing to forgive, believing he was a monster."