Monday, 10 June 2013

ISPA Event: Going Under (Review + Giveaway)

Going Under
Title: Going Under
Author: S. Walden
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Brooke Wright has only two goals her senior year at Charity Run High School: stay out of trouble and learn to forgive herself for the past. Forgiveness proves elusive, and trouble finds her anyway when she discovers a secret club at school connected to the death of her best friend. She learns that swim team members participate in a “Fantasy Slut League,” scoring points for their sexual acts with unsuspecting girls.

Brooke, wracked with guilt over her friend’s death, decides to infiltrate the league by becoming one of the “unsuspecting girls,” and exact revenge on the boys who stole away her best friend. An unexpected romance complicates her plans, and her dogged pursuit of justice turns her reckless as she underestimates just how far the boys will go to keep their sex club a secret.

(This is a New Adult fiction book with mature themes. It contains graphic sex and language and a description of sexual violence.)

“People take advantage of good people. That's what I mean. So don't be a sucker.” 

Holy freakin shit. Going Under just brought ‘mind-blowing’ into a different level. It was more than mind-blowing, more intense than mind-blowing. I only read a couple of books with a theme about sexual abuse and I gotta say that even though Going Under had some gut-twisting scenes, this was the best among those I’ve read. 

The build-up from the very first page of the book was really good. Walden did a very good job in building up the suspense in every scene; giving us what we need for now and making us crave to know more. Each chapter increased the intensity of the story and at some point, I honestly thought that it will go downhill after the climax but it didn’t. It might have calmed down a bit but the feelings invested since the very beginning was still very present. 

First question I asked was what did Brooke did. And after knowing the answer, I was torn on what to feel about her. [spoiler] You guys should already know how infidelity means to me. [spoiler] But at some point, no matter what she did, I feel bad for her and for what she’s doing to herself. She was obviously punishing herself by throwing herself into the sharks. Her plan about the FSL was the craziest that I actually think she’s putting herself in danger more than wanting to seek justice. Brooke screwed up, big time, but you can’t just help but feel sorry for her. One of the things I’ve been waiting since I started reading the book was the part where Brooke would finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and finally forgives herself. And the journey towards that point was soooooo intense and scary that it made me want to hold her hand. 

Now let’s talk about Ryan. He was the most adorable and cutest guy that made me gush even without the interaction with him and Brooke. And even when all they had at first was the awkward, short conversations, it was so freakin cute that I can’t stop smiling about it. But cute was an understatement when you finally get to know this guy and what he can do. I mean seriously, that was one insanely hot nuclear scene. He just gave Call of Duty a whole new meaning. But aside from all the swoon-worthy features this guy has, what he’s been through for years and what he’s been carrying inside him was so big. I can’t believe that he lasted that long. When everything blew up and things got ugly, I can really read the desperation and pain Ryan’s experiencing—same with Brooke. That was just a heart-wrenching part the two of them had to go through in their relationship and individually. 

I love how Walden managed to mash up the romance and actual issue in this book without overpowering either of the two. It was really well-balanced and although it seems like a push-and-pull between the two aspects of the novel, it also coincides with the internal battle Brooke had. 

I’m encouraging everyone to read this book. Yes, it is intense and heavy and a bit dark but I believe the author managed to carry out the plot perfectly. I believe it’s not because of the graphic description of the scene but because of the build-up she did from the first chapter that made her successfully write this book about a very sensitive issue. Proceed with caution but don’t stop. This will definitely leave a mark to you as it did to me.

S. Walden used to teach English before making the best decision of her life by becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Georgia with her very supportive husband who prefers physics textbooks over fiction and has a difficult time understanding why her characters must have personality flaws. She is wary of small children, so she has a Westie instead. Her dreams include raising chickens and owning and operating a beachside inn on the Gulf Coast (chickens included). When she's not writing, she's thinking about it.

Email | Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

*Open to US/Canada
*For Twitter entries, account should be public for verification.
*Ends on July 10th

Good luck, everyone!