Easy (Contours of the Heart, Book 1) by Tammara Webber
Synopsis: When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup two months into sophomore year. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she’s single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, and failing a class for the first time in her life.
Leaving a party alone, Jacqueline is assaulted by her ex’s frat brother. Rescued by a stranger who seems to be in the right place at the right time, she wants nothing more than to forget the attack and that night – but her savior, Lucas, sits on the back row of her econ class, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. Her friends nominate him to be the perfect rebound.
When her attacker turns stalker, Jacqueline has a choice: crumple in defeat or learn to fight back. Lucas remains protective, but he’s hiding secrets of his own. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy.
About the Author: Tammara Webber, New York Times bestselling author of Easy, is a hopeful romantic who adores novels with happy endings, because there are enough sad endings in real life. Before writing full time, she was an undergraduate academic advisor, economics tutor, planetarium office manager, radiology call center representative, and the palest person to ever work at a tanning salon. She married her high school sweetheart, and is Mom to three adult kids and four very immature cats.
Genre: romance, new adult, contemporary, college
More Info: eBook, 336 pages, published by Penguin Berkley on November 6, 2012
So, I may have just read this book for the 4th time. Or the 5th, I lost count. This book is a timeless romance that you can always go back to. The title describes the experience, easy. You are immediately captured by the story and the characters. You can seamlessly transition into the book world.
The main character, Jacqueline, follows her high school sweetheart, Kennedy, to college. Sadly, and somewhat predictably, they break up not too long into their first year. Jacqueline takes it hard, and mopes about for a few weeks before realizing no boy is worth this pain. After skipping the economics class she shares with Kennedy (missing 2 weeks and the midterm), she makes a deal with her professor who shows her sympathy.
Dr. Heller connects her with the class tutor, Landon. Due to their conflicting schedules, they can’t meet in person. So they flirt over email and Jacqueline catches up with the content.
At the same time, her friends instigate OBBP: Operation Bad Boy Phase. They focus on Kennedy-rebound with the tall, dark, handsome with tattoos. His name is Lucas. He just so happens to be in her econ class, sitting in the back drawing instead of taking notes. He has many jobs, including starbucks barista, self-defense trainer, maintenance guy, parking enforcement officer, economics tutor, and “personal defender of Jacqueline Wallace.”
Here’s the catch: her rebound guy is the man who saved her when a frat boy tried to rape her. The start of the book is a rape attempt against Jacqueline during a Halloween party. The assailant is Buck, Kennedy’s friend. He is a big flirt and handsome, so not many people believe he can be capable of such evil. He does not give up and he turns his attentions to others, like poor, sweet, Mindi. He needs to be stopped and revealed for the monster he is.
This book has some more adult topics, so I would recommend that you be 17/18+. Easy covers heavy ideas like sexual assault, violence, stalking, identity, and bullying; if you are looking for a light read in terms of content, this is not the book for you.
As for the characters, I found Kennedy to be a butt. Exhibit A:
“‘This is your idea of letting me down easy? Breaking up with me so you can screw other girls? Without feeling guilty? Are you serious?'”
“‘As a heart attack.'”
Exhibit B: He tries to keep Jacqueline and Mindi from testifying. The frat boys believe that expelling Buck from the Greek system will be punishment enough. They don’t want to tarnish their reputation, but Buck IS A RAPIST! He needs to go to jail.
While she hid it in the beginning, Jacqueline eventually comes to terms with her situation, and becomes reasonably angry in her testimony against Buck. I’m also glad Jacqueline took her name back, instead of being called Jackie. She based her identity around Kennedy for 3 years. She needs to take back herself and find her own individuality. She finds herself over the course of the book, and helps Lucas come to terms with his past.
On her road to redemption, is her best friend Erin. Though they are polar opposites, they compliment one another. There is some serious girl power and support between them. Erin cares about Jacqueline, signing them up for a girls’ self-defense class and even breaking up with her boyfriend because he sided with Buck instead of her.
Overall, I love Easy. I think this book covers deep societal issues that need to be addressed and dealt with, especially in the college setting. The slow progression of Jacqueline’s love life is compelling. The writing is unique with the incorporation of email and text between love interests. This book is a good price ($5.99) and worth the money.
Personal note: I think Jacqueline was very lucky that Lucas was there to save her from Buck. I know sexual assault is a reality and it breaks my heart. I have taken karate for over 8 years. I know how to defend myself, but I know that circumstance can always change the outcome. I feels that more girls should learn how to defend themselves. I appreciate Erin’s determination to take a self-defense class with her roommate. Girls, if you have faced such a situation…IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.
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