Carrie Mesrobian Sex & Violence

ISBN 13: 9781467705974

Sex & Violence

3.81 avg rating
( 2,282 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9781467705974: Sex & Violence
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Sex has always come without consequences for seventeen-year-old Evan. Until he hooks up with the wrong girl and finds himself in the wrong place at very much the wrong time. After an assault leaves Evan scarred inside and out, he and his father retreat to the family cabin in rural Minnesota―which, ironically, turns out to be the one place where Evan can't escape other people. Including himself. It may also offer him his best shot at making sense of his life again.

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About the Author:

Carrie Mesrobian is an instructor at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. Her debut novel, Sex & Violence, was called one of the best books of 2013 by Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly and was a finalist for the American Library Association's William C. Morris Award for best debut young adult novel. A native Minnesotan, she lives with her husband, daughter, and dog.

Review:

"Seventeen-year-old, perpetual 'new guy' Evan relocates all too frequently with his unsettled widower father, hence never making any real friends. However, he has no problem scoping out easy girls in whatever town they happen to land. At a boarding school in North Carolina while his father is working overseas, Evan's sexual encounters with the wrong girl, schoolmate Collette, lead to his ruthless battering outside the group showers by two stereotypical big bruisers who also viciously rape Collette. Although Evan's badly scarred body heals, his wounded spirit struggles with post-traumatic stress. Spurred into trying to be a good parent, his father moves them to the family's lake house in rural Minnesota and enlists a helpful therapist. There Evan, at first uncomfortably, connects with a whole new cast of teens who offer friendship, partying, sexual, and even romantic potential; gets a job and a car; and slowly begins to resolve his feelings about the assault against him and Collette by writing therapy-prescribed unmailed letters to her. At the same time, Evan's persistent negative behavior means trouble again, though this time he might finally learn a genuine lesson. Evan is not likable initially, especially in the callous ways he sizes up and uses females, but after his horrifying ordeal he transforms into someone with and for whom readers will eventually sympathize, want to shake into sensibility, and feel hope. Crass, crude, yet accurate language amid a balance of harsh moments and sensitive transitions pepper this disconcerting but extremely well-crafted and thought-provoking story for mature teens." ―School Library Journal

(Journal)

http://earlynerdspecial.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/book-review-sex-violence-by-carrie-mesrobian/


Book Review: Sex & Violence by Carrie Mesrobian

Posted on December 11, 2013 by Clementine Bojangles


Evan Carter has always found one thing to be true for himself: he can have sex, and there's never any consequences. Because he and his dad move around so much, Evan doesn't stay in any one place long enough to have to make connections with people. So he uses his strategy: find The Girl Who Would Say Yes, and get down. This is foolproof until it isn't. Until he picks the wrong girl, and pays dearly for it. After the assault, Evan and his dad pack up and move to a small lakeside town in Minnesota, and it's there that Evan starts to heal–and deal with the fact that making connections with people is messy but kind of wonderful, too.


Carrie Mesrobian's debut novel tackles some big issues, as the title suggests. The novel handles these issues with grace and aplomb, but what's truly remarkable is how concerned Mesrobian is with the "after" of these big issues. This debut novel is gripping, achingly real, and absolutely unforgettable. One of the best reads of the year, this one is not to be missed.


Evan's first-person narration is startlingly authentic, and his intense, sometimes uncomfortably frank inner-monologue will affect readers. Evan has a dark side to him, but he's aware of it, and part of this process of healing means tackling that dark side. He's often lewd, but it feels realistic, and the book is full of great dialogue between its characters, and this dialogue is often very funny.


The novel is packed with ideas about sex and violence and how the two are connected, but Mesrobian doesn't offer her characters or her readers any easy answers. There's subtle exploration of why Evan is the way he is, and what it will take for him to become a good person–and a good man–but it never feels too convenient or cliche. In Mesrobian's capable hands, Evan's plight is always sympathetic, and readers will root for him–even when he's being a giant douche bag.


A cast of well-rounded, interesting secondary characters elevate this gripping story even further. There's no shortage of vivid characters who populate Evan’s new world, but they're all distinct, and readers will enjoy reading about Evan's interactions with these people as he comes to grips with his new life. This is an all-around excellent first novel. I can't wait to see what Mesrobian does next.
Highly, highly recommended.


Sex & Violence by Carrie Mesrobian. Candlewick: 2013. Purchased copy. Read for the 2013 Cybils.

(Blog)

5Q 5P S
"Evan Carter is always the New Guy. His workaholic father moves them frequently, so Evan does not make emotional attachments. Instead, Evan looks for The Girl Who Would Say Yes. Once yes is said, Evan deletes her phone number, and moves on. Then Evan hooks up with the wrong girl, and they both end up hospitalized, victims of a brutal assault. Hoping to help his son heal, Evan's dad moves them to a summer cabin in rural Minnesota. Evan wants to hide from the world, but on Pearl Lake, neighbors wander in without knocking, expecting you to play board games on someone's porch or go for a swim. Evan is thrust into a group of teens who simply demand his friendship, and he has to go from being Dirtbag Evan to being someone new.
This is an excellent book. It offers a realistic, unflinching look at teens and sex. Evan is smart and funny, in a wry, sarcastic way that is authentically adolescent. He definitely was a 'dirtbag' in his pre-beating life, and still has some sexually predatory instincts. His journey to being a better person is an extraordinary one, populated with wonderful secondary characters who are all fully drawn and rich. The dialogue is organic, crisp and true. The topics are deep and relevant―sex and violence, of course, but also gender roles, therapy, PTSD, father-son relationships, class rivalry, drug use, and more. This is an amazing story, one that all older teens will benefit from reading." ―starred, VOYA

(Journal)

"As the title suggests, debut author Mesrobian takes aim at big topics, but what she's most interested in is the aftermath. Used to being the new guy, 17-year-old Evan may not be much at making friends, but he's great at finding 'left-of-normal' girls to sleep with. When he gets involved with Colette, who's been labeled a slut by her ex―Evan's jockish jerk of a boarding school roommate―things go very wrong. Colette is raped, and Evan is badly beaten, which makes his workaholic father finally pay attention. The two move to a lakeside Minnesota town, where Evan is all but forced to engage with a crew of recent high school graduates, when he'd rather lock himself in his room all summer. As Evan heals physically and mentally, he has ample time to consider the part of himself he calls 'Dirtbag Evan' and reevaluate his attitudes toward girls and sex. By focusing on Evan, Mesrobian talks about hookup culture in a way that is character-based, not agenda-driven, and showcases a teenager who grows and changes without becoming unrecognizable or saintly." ―starred, Publishers Weekly

(Journal)

"Sex & Violence is an absolutely unrelenting look at life after physical and emotional trauma. It's dark and sometimes painful to watch, but it hurts even more to look away. Evan's story will sit with me for a very long time."―Trish Doller, author of Something Like Normal

(Other Print)

"Sex & Violence is never what it seems. It never goes where you expect it will. It is funny, scary, brutal, and tender. It is an honest meditation on masculinity. And, it's all delivered through the eyes of a damaged, genius-of-a-boy, Evan Carter, who you hope so hard will be okay." ―Geoff Herbach, author of Stupid Fast

(Other Print)

"Slicing through a haze of pot smoke and mixed-up horny confusion emerges Evan's razor-sharp voice chronicling his journey from a dirtbag dick to a cleansed soul in this important contribution to YA lit on par with coming of age classics like Rats Saw God." –Patrick Jones, author of Things Change

(Other Print)

"This is one hell of an impressive debut, filled with a pervasive undercurrent of fear, tension, and uncertainty you get from staring down into the deepest, darkest, coldest lake. Sex & Violence deserves shelf space alongside the classics of adolescent-themed fiction."―Andrew Smith, author of The Marbury Lens and Stick

(Other Print)

"A knockout blow of a debut. Powerful, funny, brutal, and true." ―Gayle Forman, New York Times Bestselling Author of If I Stay

(Other Print)

"An intelligent, wry 17-year-old is brutally beaten in a communal shower by two classmates after he hooks up with one of their former girlfriends, setting the stage for a difficult recovery.

Evan knows he's sort of a dick when it comes to girls, but being constantly uprooted to various boarding schools by his emotionally inept dad has caused him to eschew relationships and focus on honing his knack for identifying Girls Who Would Say Yes. After the assault that leaves Evan in the hospital, his father whisks him off to his own boyhood home in Minnesota, where he's uneasily sucked into a tight-knit group spending their last summer at home getting high and hanging out before going off to college. Evan's intense, often-discomfiting first-person narration will deeply affect readers, and his darker side is troubling―in an aside about girls with eating disorders, he thinks, 'I'd known some of those barf-it-up girls, and they were the worst. So crazy. So clingy. The first to get deleted from my phone.' Packed with realistically lewd dialogue that is often darkly funny, this is a pitch-perfect, daring novel about how sex and violence fracture a life and the painstakingly realistic process of picking up the pieces. Evan's struggle is enormously sympathetic, even when he is not.

Utterly gripping." ―starred, Kirkus Reviews


(Journal)

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