Author: Sophie Jordan
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Fiction
Series: The Ivy Chronicles #2
Trigger Warning - Confrontation Rapist/Abuser, Emotional Abuse, Nudeness, PTSD, Sexual Abuse, Trauma, Trivializing Mental Illness, Underage Drinking
Disclaimer - This book contains erotic content for ages 18+ that may be mentioned below and should be read with discretion. Do not read further if you would like to avoid any discussion on those topics.
Continuing this trilogy with Emerson's story, she could be argued as one of the most stubborn of the girls. When love stares her in the face and demands her attention, she still fights against it. But, thankfully for them, Shaw is even more stubborn than she is. He knows that they are good for each other and expresses it whenever she is in denial, creating a love story between two individuals who don't believe they deserve one another. But they absolutely do. It only takes multiple fights, sexual explorations, and a threat on Emerson's life for them to see it.
In-Depth Review (contains spoilers)
I don't like Emerson as much as some of the other characters. She did not appear as a great friend during Pepper's stories and so I must point out my bias after meeting her in the first book, Foreplay. This story didn't help me change my thoughts on her character much. I still don't prefer her to the other girls, but I understand her better and see her as a slightly better friend than before.
There were similar issues with Emerson's situation as I had with Pepper's trauma in Foreplay, Emerson's trauma wasn't necessarily unnecessary, but it was confusing. She never exactly explained what occurred to her initially. It was simply inferred. But lack of details can cause major issues to story as it did for me here. When Emerson finally clarified that she was indeed nearly raped by Justin, I found myself irritated. It wasn't some grand reveal that changed the storyline. It became more of a detail that I felt I should've been made aware of earlier. I felt as if I was missing a major plot point that effected Emerson's character except that I didn't know what the trauma was and so I didn't know why she acted the way she did. It should've been made clear earlier on that she was very specifically nearly raped rather than just hinting at it and assuming the reader gets it.
But following the line of her trauma, it was interesting how she lashed out over it. Rather than becoming sheltered and withdrawn as Pepper similarly did, she wanted a bad reputation. She didn't want to be caught off guard. Instead she would rather appear extremely experienced so no one would question her. But as romances go, Shaw, naturally, came along to disrupt her flow and give her what she really needed. Someone to depend on. Some who saw through her appearances and saw the real her. So it shows a lot that Emerson shared her well protected first-time with Shaw. Even if she didn't want to admit it, she knew then that he was the one for her.
In the end they are both what each other needs. They both are able to express their desire for one another and that they are each worth so much more than the treatment they had received in the past. Emerson pulled Shaw from his regrets, and Shaw helped Emerson to find comfort in relying on another person.
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