Easy by Tammara Webber is about our main character Jacqueline who goes to the same college as her boyfriend, who breaks up with her early sophomore year. She goes to a party with her best friend Erin as the designated driver and she gets sexually assaulted by her ex's frat brother Buck. Her classmate, Lucas, rescues her and their romance starts from there. Jacqueline and Erin take self defense lessons to be able to protect themselves, Jacqueline is having issues keeping her grades up after the break up, and Lucas has some secrets of his own.
I enjoyed this book a lot more than I expected to. After the two pretty bad New Adult books I read this year (Bared To You and Fixed On You reviews) I was starting to go towards the path of giving up on the genre. I liked the idea of a genre with romance with characters older than the typical YA age so it's more mature content but not old enough that I couldn't relate. However, with the last two I had read being books that were definitely not for me I wasn't feeling too confident in Easy. I am happy it (mostly) proved me wrong.
The writing is really well done in this book. I enjoyed a good chunk of the friendships between the characters. Jacqueline and her best friend Erin's friendship was really humorous and sweet. I also enjoyed Jacqueline's teacher Dr. Heller, he seemed sweet and I like his generosity towards her. And there were parts of her relationship I really enjoyed with Lucas. I think their dialogue flowed nicely and the flirtatious nature was believable. The dialogue was great in the whole book and I never thought something sounded fake or forced. I was happy that Lucas wasn't a bossy demanding creep, like the love interests in the other New Adult books I have read. Another thing I was so relieved to see is not only did Lucas make sure he had consent when they got intimate but when she said stop, he did. So many times I have read scenes where a woman says "Stop" and the love interest says "I can't." Like they literally couldn't control themselves when they were around her enough for it to be rape-y. Or even worse, "Make me." Instead, Lucas would constantly bring up that she can say when to stop, and at one point she does say "stop" and he asks if she wants to stop entirely or just not move forward. It was moments like that where I was really relieved. At least one New Adult out there (so far from what I have read) has consent in the love story. Also, I don't think it was [only] because she had been a victim of sexual assault. I completely believe that he would have been the same way with her if she hadn't been attacked. So I was pleased to get that vibe from our love interest.
However, to the character friendships/developments I didn't like starts with Jacqueline's friend Benji. He was basically there as the gay sassy classmate and that's pretty much all we get out of his character. We know he recently came out to his parents, and that he's there for Jacqueline to talk to about her love life. I would have liked a little more out of his character. Another problem I had was with Buck's character. I don't like that he was all evil without knowing his motives behind why he was the way he was. I didn't expect a long history of his back story, and there isn't a past in the whole world that would justify his actions but when he is written as a completely villainous character without some sort of reason he seems less realistic and more like just a plot point.
Finding out Lucas's past and knowing more about who he is the moment Jacqueline meets him helped the reader understand why he seemed experienced with dealing with sexual assault victims. I do think that the scene finding out about his past seemed a bit info-dumpy for me but overall I think it helped us understand his motives and his personality.
I don't know how I feel about Lucas constantly being there to save Jacqueline from Buck's attacks. The first one would be fine if there was a moment where she defends herself without his help. There is a moment where I thought we would get that moment where she protects herself from him but instead at the end Lucas swoops in and finishes the job. I feel like if there was one moment where Jacqueline could have protected herself because of her training from her self defense classes we could have seen her arc of going from someone who couldn't protect herself to someone who now can.
I did enjoy that the scenes of Jacqueline and Lucas being intimate weren't heavily detailed. I don't have a huge problem with detailed sex scenes, however sometimes if there are more than one they not only seem repetitive but it can come off cheesy or a hot mess. I prefer to be able to fill in the blanks myself and that is what is given to us with Jacqueline and Lucas's scenes.
The topic of victim blaming when it came to rape and sexual assault was well written. It was realistic and is something that happens to victims of sexual assault so often. The message that is driven home is that it doesn't matter if the person has had sex with you before, it doesn't matter if alcohol is involved, and it doesn't matter what they're wearing. If they say no, you stop. So that was a good message that I enjoyed seeing being played out in the book. I also thought it was believable that Buck's friends immediately went to his defense because it's hard to believe that someone you see as a friend would do something like sexually assault or rape a person. That kind of blind loyalty is something that is prominent when it comes to the friends and family of the rapist/assaulter.
As a whole, I think this is a good New Adult book to start off with if you're new to the genre like I am. Like I mentioned, I had some problems with the book but my main issues with the genre from previous books I had read weren't the issues I had with this story. Instead of being completely disgusted by something being published, there are just things I would have personally done differently and to me I feel like it would have made it a stronger story. But I am really happy with this book and I hope that more books of this caliber are published in the New Adult genre.