Friday, May 4, 2012

Almost by Anne Elliot


Cross posted from my blog.
Almost. Almost.

How I hate that word and the way it defines me.

Almost raped. Almost over it. Almost normal.

I can almost forget. Way worse, I can almost remember.

I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me. Even though everyone says it wasn't my fault, I feel responsible. How can this messed up life not be partly my deal? I did wrong. I broke all the rules that night. And I'm paying the consequences for my 'bad choices' in this endless time-out. Nightmare. Punishment. Endless time-out.
It's been three years and Jess Jordan still isn't over something that technically didn't happen. She barely even remembers that night, but what she does remember is just enough to give her nightmares every time she falls asleep in the dark. Her solution? Don't sleep at night. Instead, she uses her Jeep to catch catnaps whenever she has some spare time. The silence in the house at night helps convince her parents everything is getting back to "normal," but they're not ready to let her move out at the end of her senior year unless she can prove it. Her sister's solution? Get a job, get some friends, get a boyfriend. So that's what Jess is trying to do--land an internship at the headquarters of Geekstuff.com. The only problem? She's not the only one they're considering.

Three years ago, Gray Porter promised Jess Jordan's parents he'd stay away from her even though that's the last thing he wants to do. Come senior year, though, he is getting a little desperate for money since his chances at a hockey scholarship are out the window. When he hears Geekstuff.com is going to pay their intern $8,000 for a few weeks work, he's determined that intern is going to be him... until he realizes Jess Jordan is the only other candidate left. He's been keeping a secret that's been slowly eating away at him for a long time and Jess is at the heart of it.

It's the last thing she expected when she arrived for the second interview, but when Jess goes home that day she has everything her sister thought she needed to qualify as a "normal" teen: a job, friends, and a boyfriend. So what if she had to offer to work for free just to get the job? So what if her new friends just happened to come with her boyfriend? And so what if her boyfriend--her very cute boyfriend--only agreed because she's paying him $8,000 to play the part for a few weeks? It still counts, right? But Jess doesn't know she's spending time with the one person outside her family who knows what keeps her up at night. What will she do if hearing his voice every day starts to bring back the memory of that night so long ago? Do they even stand a chance or will their relationship me one more almost to add to her list?

That summary was a lot longer than I usually do, but the story is complicated. This is partially because it's told from both perspectives: Jess and Gray. I loved that. I always want to know what the characters are thinking and this format allows us to see exactly that. There were a lot of adorable moments between Jess and Gray, but I think the strongest part of this book is that it revolves around an "almost." A lot of people forget that even something that almost happened can destroy a life; almost getting raped definitely falls into that category.

Honestly, I enjoyed reading this and would recommend it to pretty much anyone who like contemporary YA. Despite the subject matter, there's actually little to no cursing, sex, violence, or any other graphic material, so even giving it to younger readers as a conversation starter would probably be okay. My only complaints? 1) At times Gray came off a tiny (tiny) bit girlish, especially in the wording when he started gushing over Jess, and 2) through the beginning of the book I sometimes felt Jess' reactions and her level of trauma were a tad overblown... until she finally remembered what happened. Then, I realized, not so much. I'm not sure if this reaction is because I haven't suffered through something like this and can't relate or because that actual horror of the circumstances don't come through until the night finally comes back to her... Overall I thought Anne's story and her characters were strong. She's got a new book coming out soon and I'll definitely be buying it when it hits Amazon!

Sera's Rating: 9/10

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