4.5 vulnerable Stars
Judgment. It will be the death of us as a human race, I think. We judge everything constantly, mostly using our whims and ingrained bias as the only rubric. Ultimately all it does is stop us from being happy. We end up hemming ourselves in so tightly that there’s no way out but to follow the tried and true. But the beaten path doesn’t work for everyone. So you end up being unhappy, too afraid to create your own path. And then even when you start trailblazing, you feel like you have to constantly explain and justify your decisions. It would all be so much easier if we could just put the judgment down and walk away.
Madison Decatur is halfway there. She’s constructed two relationships that make her very happy. They also make the men she’s involved with happy. And all three know exactly what is going on. And yet. She still apologizes for it repeatedly. She doesn’t have a lot of friends. She’s not close with her mother. She is surrounded with judgment except from the two men she loves and who love her in return.
And the author recognizes the level of judgment she is courting in writing this book as well as the level of judgment she’s subjecting her characters to:
“It’s all wrong, the evolution of our innocent youth into cock-gobbling sluts. Which seems hypocritical coming from me, but it’s not. I fuck because I love it, because I want to – it brings me pleasure. They fuck because they think they have to – for the guy, for the queen-bee girl, for the proverbial ‘fuck you’ to society that they think it creates.”
It’s extraordinarily interesting to watch Torre not only blatantly call out the judges but then also look to pacify them at the same time.
Madison’s loves – Stewart and Paul – could not be more different. Stewart is married to his job, putting everything else second to work – always. Paul is a professional surfer. Stewart is intense with laser-like quality that can cut you up as easily as light you up. Paul is easygoing and yet intensely passionate. They both are head over heels in love with Madison although only Paul actually shares his life with her. She and Stewart get moments stolen from his crazy schedule whereas Paul wakes up with Madison most days. While you never doubt the love between the three of them, there are definitely examples of what works and what doesn’t.
These three people get their lives turned upside down in the blink of an eye just because that is what life does when you get too comfortable. It switches everything up to keep you moving forward. Even through the pain of change and choice – there’s no room for stasis.
Alessandra Torre has created a singular book with this story. One that is immediately engaging in both characters and storyline. I was completely sucked into the dynamics of this triangle and it doesn’t hurt that the sex scenes are incredibly hot and inventive. Thigh clenchingly, teeth grittingly, day dreamingly hot.
Torre’s writing is distinctly approachable for how covert the subject. You know exactly what her characters are thinking and feeling – they are out there, unapologetic in their being. There is incredible vulnerability in this book and it is that vulnerability which allows each character to burrow straight into your heart and not just your libido.
You’ll get your happily ever after with this book. You’ll get your insanely hot sex scenes. You’ll get interesting and engaging characters. You’ll get a gorgeously written book that leaves you drifting off into la-la land as you try to process it on a deeper level. But you’ll also get an author telling a story that will challenge you to be brave enough to find and accept love wherever you find it. And in the midst of heaps and heaps of books looking only to get you hot and bothered or shock you senseless, that’s a refreshing change of pace.