Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Blog Tour: Knee Deep by Jolene Perry

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Title: Knee Deep
Author: Jolene Perry
Publisher: Tribute Books
Target Audience: Older YA
Genre: Contemporary / chick lit
Length: 174 pages

Story: Shawn is the guy Ronnie Bird promised her life to at the age of fourteen. He's her soul mate. He's more uptight every day, but it's not his fault. His family life is stressful, and she's adding to it. She just needs to be more understanding, and he'll start to be the boy she fell in love with. She won’t give up on someone she’s loved for so long.

Luke is her best friend, and the guy she hangs with to watch girlie movies in her large blanketopias. He's the guy she can confide in before she even goes to her girlfriends, and the guy who she's playing opposite in Romeo and Juliet. Now her chest flutters every time he gets too close. This is new. Is Ronnie falling for him? Or is Juliet? The lines are getting blurry, but leaving one guy for another is not something that a girl like Ronnie does.

Shawn’s outbursts are starting to give her bruises, and Luke’s heart breaks as Ronnie remains torn. While her thoughts and feelings swirl around the lines between friendship and forever, she’s about to lose them both.

Thoughts and impressions: At only a couple of hundred pages, this book is a short read that didn’t take very long to get through. Despite this, it did drag a little bit in my eyes, but I suspect that is likely because as of the very start, the reader already knows how the book is going to finish. It’s merely a matter of finding out what happens in between. The problem for me was that I was aware of Ronnie’s madness and I wasn’t making room for her rationale. While I could distinguish right from wrong from a distance, the character was unable to disassociate the boy she wanted Shawn to be with the young man standing before her.

This made me stop and think. Indeed, I had a good long think about my own past. Ronnie is willing to put up with Shawn’s emotional and physical abuse because she’s latched onto the boy that the fell in love with. Though I had been aware of the fact that one of my previous relationships had not exactly been on the healthy side, it took reading this to really bring to the forefront that I had allowed that young man to emotionally blackmail me into doing what he wanted of me. Granted, he never became physically abusive but I don’t believe that physical abuse is really all that worse than emotional abuse in the long run. Both are devastating to the sufferer.

Taking this into account, though, how can I hold it against Ronnie that she was willing to put up with Shawn’s actions in the hopes that persevering will eventually bring him back to his senses, when I myself was more or less willing to do the same thing? I can’t. Emotions are fickle things and when we attach them to another we’re often willing to put up with a lot before we realise we deserve more than what we’re being given. In that respect, I found I could sympathise with Ronnie and it brought me closer to her as a character (though her personality is a far cry from my own).

There were a couple of comments in the story that made me feel as though Ronnie measured her worth against who she was dating. I got the impression that the presence of a romantic involvement when paramount to her. Honestly, towards the end I was hoping that she would finish the book alone with the realisation that she doesn’t need a guy to complete her. I wanted Ronnie to realise that she can enjoy life to the full without Shawn or Luke, that’s she’s got plenty of time to be herself, to discover what she really wants from life. I suppose that the author does try for something similar but really there’s never any doubt that the book will end with a relationship.

The story is about self-discovery and breaking the bonds you’ve tied yourself to; of realising that you’re worth more than he’s willing to give you. It’s an incredibly complicated social image of forming personalities and problems that arise when those certain things that stop us from taking steps we know to be wrong are not present in people. There are some very dark themes in the book and as such I would not recommend it for younger readers, but I would recommend it for more mature readers who enjoy this kind of read.

This review has turned out being rather personal for me. As such I’m going to leave off here. Definitely worth a read!

Style: Another author who does not know the rule of when to use “X and I” and when to use “X and me”.  I had all that grammar bashed into me as a young age, so seeing it used incorrectly (by someone who speaks English as their mother tongue) does bug me. Also, there was one point where one character says that “did used” to do whatever. Did used? Oh, how I despair! There are two verbs in a row conjugated to the same tense there. Obviously I pick up on the little things.

There were some scenes that didn’t really seem to fit with the rest of the narrative – they just slotted in around other scenes but had nothing them tied to any of the rest of the story. These could be a bit off putting for me.

Final verdict: A particularly personal read for me. It wasn’t perfect and dragged in places, but it was a very emotionally dark story that kept me glued until the very last page.

Extra notes: Some bad language present. Some themes such as rape present. I would not recommend this story for younger readers.

The author:

Jolene grew up in Wasilla, Alaska. She graduated from Southern Utah University with a degree in political science and French, which she used to teach math to middle schoolers.

After living in Washington, Utah and Las Vegas, she now resides in Alaska with her husband, and two children. Aside from writing, Jolene sews, plays the guitar, sings when forced, and spends as much time outside as possible.

She is also the author of Night Sky and The Next Door Boys.

Jolene on:

The publisher:

1 comment:

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