Publication Date: June 6, 2013
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing
Source: Received for review for blog tour
Gracie has just finished her freshman year of college in Memphis when she takes a job at a local pizza joint in her home town of McKenzie, Tennessee. She is the epitome of innocence when she meets Noah. Noah is unabashedly handsome, intriguingly reckless and just cocky enough to be sexy. Gracie’s instincts tell her to stay far away from him and based on the stories she hears from her co-workers he leaves broken hearts in his wake. But still, she can’t explain her fascination with him.
Noah puts aside his bad boy ways when what he thought was a summer crush has him unexpectedly falling in love. But soon after Gracie transfers to UT Knoxville to be with Noah, their unexpected love becomes riddled with anger, deceit and humiliation.
Jake, Noah’s former roommate and Gracie’s best friend, can no longer be a bystander. Gracie’s world falls out from beneath her and when she breaks she turns to Jake for strength. As Jake talks her through a decision she’s not yet strong enough to make, together they uncover a truth so ugly neither of them is prepared for its fallout. Will Jake pull her to the surface or is Gracie Jordan finally In Too Deep? (Summary from Goodreads)
Let me preface this entire review by first pointing out that this book has a large focus on psychological abuse within relationships. I understand that this is a very horrible issue that can often have dire effects. That being said, I'd also like to make it clear that any negative feelings I display toward this book are not a result of me failing to understand the magnitude or seriousness of psychological abuse. All of my feelings reflect my attitude toward the actual composition of the book.
And, as much as I hate to say it, I do have negative feelings toward this book. Quite a bit of them. Like the painful repetition of events. The plot is basically one-dimensional. No layers or overarching story lines. The same thing goes on and on for a good portion of the book: Noah would be a total ass basket, Gracie would convince herself she was finished with all his ass basketry and go crying (literally) to Jake or one of her other friends, Noah would claim he's going to try harder, and Gracie would tentatively accept his apology with the acknowledgement that things will probably never be the same. I kid you not, this exact scenario plays out at least 3 times, I think. Granted, each time this happens, Gracie grows a little bolder and moves closer to truly standing up for herself. I understand that this yo-yo romance is common for those who face psychological abuse. Still, while reading I was more interested in the possibilities of what could happen rather than what was actually going on. Is she finally going to dump him? Will she realize that she totally wants her best friend? Is someone going to give her a kick in the badonk and tell her to stop feeling sorry for herself?
Speaking of one-dimensional: Jake. He's pretty much a cardboard cut-out--endlessly selfless, unfailingly kind, loves Gracie unconditionally, and a heck of a lover. Legit no flaws. Gracie, on the other hand, is consumed by her own self-pity. I have a pretty long list of complaints about Gracie, actually. She is always running to others to whine about her love life and there are very few instances of her being there for others. She cries at least every other page, no joke. It became distracting. If I was one of her friends, I would have smacked her and told her to get her cheese nips together, but then again I'm kind of a jerk, so whatever. Also, she has hypocritical tendencies. Goes on and on about how she can't trust Noah, which is completely true, but then she continuously mentions how gorgeous Jake is and how he is just oh so pleasant to look at. No big deal, though, because they're just friends. Yeah, okay.
Despite all these frustrations, though, I actually became pretty engrossed in this story. I mean, I read it in only a few hours, so that says something, right? I became invested enough in the story line and characters that I couldn't wait for everything to be resolved. I enjoyed Jake and Gracie's relationship--I was rooting for them throughout the entire book--and I was pleased with how much Gracie had grown by the end. My heart also broke for Noah in a way I didn't expect and I sincerely hope he will one day change his ways and find his happily ever after.
Perhaps my problem is that I've never personally experienced psychological abuse so I couldn't become as emotionally involved as this book calls for. So, if you have strong feelings for psychological abuse, I'd definitely give this a shot. I honestly think that, though there were a lot of things I wasn't super fond of , nobody would actually regret reading In Too Deep. And many will probably end up connecting to it better than I did. It wouldn't be a bad idea for everyone to read this.