Going Under by S. Walden

April 16, 2013 Adrienne's Reviews, Reviews 0 ★★★★★

This book may be unsuitable for readers under 17 years of age due to sexual content, drug and alcohol use, suicide, and/or violence.
Going Under by S. Waldenfive-stars
Going Under by S. Walden
on March 14, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 346
Format: eBook
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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.

I FEEL so….emotional….tense….conflicted….sad….happy….relaxed…angry….guilty….resigned….content

The point is….I FEEL

I thought I knew what I was going to get when I picked up this gem. I saw the disclaimer. I read the synopsis. I read the reviews. What I didn’t expect was this journey I would take. I wanted to wait to write this review but I have so much that I’m feeling right now I just, I don’t know I feel like I need to get it out of me. I need to express how important it is that everyone read Going Under.

This isn’t a cute story. It’s not pretty or sweet or even romantic. Unfortunately it’s more real then I would like to ever give it credit for. It delves very deep into a subject that we’re seeing more and more of in the news. It’s a subject that needs to be discussed. I have two daughters and I’m trying really hard to be scared for them in this world. I know that very soon I will have to talk to them about this subject and dammit I don’t wanna. I don’t want them to know just how dark, dangerous, and nasty this world really is. But there’s someone else who needs to be talked to….our sons. Mine is 19 and his father and I have already talked to him. Please talk to your children the girls and the boys.

Okay so I’m supposed to be reviewing a book here.

I can honestly say I’ve never put so many highlights in a book before. My kindle is practically glowing. 🙂

Brooke is one of my most favorite female characters in a book.  Like ever…well up until this point at least.  Every now and then you’ll find a heroine that just speaks to you. Someone funny, intelligent, wise, loving, beautiful, courageous, and strong.  Someone who you want to know.  Someone you see yourself hanging out with.  Someone who would make you better person just by being in your life.  For me that was Brooke.  That girl cracked me up at times but she was also wise beyond her years.  She also had a horrible lapse in judgement that ultimately lead to her feelings of guilt and betrayal.  However, I feel she grew up immensely in this book.  Brooke carried around a lot of guilt.  She was seeking forgiveness.  In order to do that she needed to seek revenge for her best friend Beth.  What she planned had me cringing.  I literally had to force myself to relax so my shoulders wouldn’t hurt.  I was so scared and worried.  As a mother I wanted to hug her, comfort her, ease some of her pain, tell her everything would be alright.

“But I couldn’t pretend to be offended, I was flattered, and I smiled at him, though I knew it would be a mistake. He grinned back, and the trouble started. Right there, in that moment. I should have turned and walked away. But I didn’t. I smiled, and in that instant, my simple plan to pursue Cal, make him hurt me, then make him pay for it, became anything but simple.”

“He didn’t seem like a predator, but then there was a lot about Cal that suggested he wasn’t. I realized I needed to look at evil in an entirely different light. Most bad guys weren’t walking around with eyes bugged out. Most bad guys didn’t come across freaky and frightening, hiding in shadowed corners with insane grins plastered on their faces. Most bad guys were your normal, everyday guys moving through life like anyone else.”

This quote from the book stuck with me.  I thought about it throughout.  How easy is it to look at a mug shot and say “yup he looks evil”?  But what if there was no mug shot. He was just some ‘normal’ random person.  Someone you might even be friends with.  Someone you might even date.  I really did understand Brookes need to exact revenge on Cal.  I just couldn’t swallow how she planned to go about it.  It was torture to read not knowing if and when something terrible was going to happen.

“I’m really mad at you, Brookey,” she said after the first round. She didn’t look at me when she said it. She was wise enough to keep her head in the toilet. Don’t talk,” I ordered. “Just keep going.” I was annoyed, naturally, even though I could recall Gretchen doing the same thing for me, and on many occasions.”

In between all the stress and bad stuff was some really great reading.  I found myself laughing and smiling quite a bit.  Gretchen was so much fun to read.  I loved her relationship with Brooke.  Even though she came across as a little shallow and self absorbed she was there for Brooke when it mattered and I think she helped to ground Brooke.  She helped remind Brooke that she was still just a teenager.

I also absolutely adored her dad.  LOL what he did to her bedroom was priceless and I could totally see my dad doing something similar.  I was so glad to see she didn’t hold any resentment towards him for not being able to live with him sooner.  Their interactions felt natural and real.  He obviously adored her and she him.  It was refreshing.

Then there’s Ryan…sigh….I think I’m in love with Ryan…

“What do you want Brooke?” he asked into my mouth. I whimpered a reply, and he kissed me harder, finally giving me his tongue. That’s what I wanted.”

“I thought that his was the guy I was always meant to kiss, that everyone before him didn’t count for anything.”

“Ryan smirked. “Brooke, keep that little sweet foot right on my board. My board, Brooke. Mmmmm.”

“They have names, you know,” Ryan said. “You’ve got a lot to learn, Brooklyn.” “Goombas and Koopas, thank you very much!” I said, satisfied. “Wow, I think I just got a hard-on,” Ryan replied, and I smacked his arm.”

He seemed so much older than 18.  He was quiet.  He kept to himself.  He was gorgeous.  He wanted her was afraid to let himself have her.  He was mysterious.  He was sweet. He was funny and sexy.  He was perfect. Right?

“Dear God in heaven. He was beautiful. I thought it was unfair how beautiful he was. Why does God do that? Make some people so beautiful that it almost hurts to look at them? Meanwhile the rest of us look like a bunch of frumps in comparison.”

But then something happens.  Something that you have to read to believe.

“I hated Cal. I hated his guts. If I had a shank in my purse, I’d whip it out this instant and plunge it into his heart. Then I’d cut his tongue out for being such a fucking liar.”

I hate Cal too. So much…I wanted to do more then shank him.

Go forth and read. Spread the word, tell your friends. I’m serious.

This book is a tough read but it’s an chance to experience something really horrible and yet so amazingly great.

About S. Walden

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.

She loves to hear from her fans! Got a question about a book? A concern you need to voice? Let her know at swaldenauthor@hotmail.com.

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