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.)
Publication Date: March 14, 2013
This is a rare instance where I consider a book to be one of the best I ever read, but I will never read it again. Going Under was too intense and heartbreaking for me to ever consider wanting to revisit the plot and characters. Days later, I still have a book hangover from all of the strong emotions the novel stirred inside of me.
I was a little leery at the start. Brooke was really unlikable to me; she had done things to her friend, despicable acts, that I found hard to understand. Her friend commits suicide and because Brooke is wracked with guilt, she decides to avenge her friend in the most ill-advised way, by infiltrating a club where the guys keep score of how many sexual acts they commit with girls.
What I found amazing was that the author was able to actually have me feel empathic for such a selfish and reckless girl, because you can’t read this story and feel nothing over the things that happen to Brooke.
Characterizations were done amazing well, especially with the awful boys from the swim team. There’s Parker, who is downright evil, and isn’t afraid to show it. But I found Cal, especially chilling. He’s the charming manipulator, hiding his true character behind his golden boy exterior. I have mixed feelings about Ryan and I think a lot of those feelings come from the mystery that unravels about his past. I did love the romance between him and Brooke though. The video game scene was the hottest thing I’ve read in a long time.
The author is a risk-taker and I’m impressed with her ability to touch on subjects that most writers wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole and pull it off so well. Brooke’s rape was one of the most disgusting acts of sexual violence I ever read in a novel. I was crying, ugly crying, and I still feel choked up as I replay the scene in my head. I could see the author getting slack for Brooke having an orgasm during rape, and to be honest I never even thought about that occurring and was glad the author not only brought it to my attention, but wrote a very thoughtful note at the end discussing the subject.
The book could’ve ended with Brooke broken and I was glad how the author decided to end the novel. A rape victim can still have a healthy sex life and a happily every after and I was glad Brooke got to have that.
END OF SPOILERS
I recommend this to all women over the age of eighteen. The language and sex is graphic, so definitely don’t take that warning lightly. If you don’t know who S. Walden is yet, I promise that you will soon!
Rating: 5/5 Stars