Lovin' los libros

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Blog Tour: Going Under by S. Walden {Review+Giveaway}

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Welcome to my stop on the Going Under blog tour hosted by Xpresso Tours!
You can view the full tour schedule here.
   by: S. Walden

Publication Date: March 19, 2013
Publisher: Penny Press
Genre: Contemporary
Age Group: New Adult
Source: e-copy provided by Xpresso tours and the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 344 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

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.)
My Review:

Wow, this book. Just WOW. I started it knowing what I was getting into, but nothing could have prepared me for the intensity of this book. I was absolutely devastated that I had to put it down and go to work. DEVASTATED. Prepare yourselves: this book is an emotional one. Yet, as heartbreaking as it was, there were rays of light and hope weaved in- which made all the difference in the world. Keep reading friends. The last chapter and the epilogue make the journey so worth it.

Brooke is our main character and we start the book off dealing with the loss of her best friend. The circumstances behind Beth (her best friend)'s death are very sad and tragic. Yet, Brooke blames herself and shoulders a lot of the guilt for her friend's death. I really liked Brooke though- for the most part. There were a couple of times I was screaming at her foolishness and couldn't believe she was doing what she was. After discovering her friend was raped by a popular athlete, Brooke feels it's her job to set things right. She wants justice for her friend and will go to very dangerous lengths to achieve it. Instead of consulting with an adult, Brooke takes on the responsibility herself, at first telling no one her plans. However, after Brooke meets Ryan, a sweet, sexy loner at school, she finds herself no longer wanting to take the course of action she planned. She wants to fall in love with him and have a relationship with him- not deceive him about the plans she is making. However, Brooke is overrun with guilt and nightmares and cannot get her friend out of her head. She discovers this Fantasy Slut League and finds out these guys are getting away with unspeakable things. She knows for the sake of her best friend and all the other girls too afraid to step up, she can't give up her course of action. I like that Brooke is real. She is tough, but at the same time she's hurting very deeply and the guilt is absolutely consuming her. I really feel she is way too hard on herself and my heart ached for her for the majority of the book. No person should feel the way Brooke did.

I fell for Ryan almost instantly. He meets Brooke at Beth's funeral and she is instantly attracted to him (and then later berates herself constantly for feeling that way when she should be mourning her friend). Ryan is a loner like I said. He is incredibly good looking and Brooke can't believe that he hasn't been with a girl in over a year. However, Ryan has secrets- secrets that he is unwilling to share with Brooke. I hated feeling suspicious of Ryan the whole time because of the mystery surrounding him and what he wasn't telling Brooke. Yet, watching them together is incredibly sweet and precious- he really cares about her- he doesn't want to rush things like she does with him. He wants to cherish her and show her how much he cares about her before taking that final step of intimacy.

Terry was an awesome character. He is a cook at the diner Brooke works at and eventually Brooke asks him for help in uncovering the Fantasy Slut League. He is protective of her and doesn't want her to get hurt, almost acting like an older brother or a father figure to her. Brooke's own father was great too and I like that we actually saw them interact. This is Brooke's first time living with her father since she was younger and my heart really went out for him because you could really tell how much having his daughter with him meant to him.

This book deals with a lot of heavy, serious topics that should absolutely not be taken lightly. Suicide, rape, drugs, and death all play a role in this book and this book is not suitable for younger readers. I believe Walden did an excellent job of writing about such sensitive topics- I don't feel she glossed over them and handled them in an appropriate manner for the book. Will Brooke get to the bottom of the FSL and seek justice for her best friend and countless other girls who have been violated and are too afraid to stand up or will she end up as victim for not being able to mind her own business?
About the Author:
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. swaldenauthor@hotmail.com and follow her blog. She loves her fans and loves to hear from them. Email her at at http://swaldenauthor.blogspot.com where you can get up-to-date information on her current projects.

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  1. Ooo I can't wait to read this one! I am pretty sure I already own it and it is waiting for me on my Nexus. Will push it to the top of the list.

  2. Hey Jessica!

    Thanks so much for a thorough, thoughtful review of Going Under. And thank you for participating in my tour this week <3


    1. :D Thanks Summer! I loved it! I was seriously sick that I had to take a break from it. I couldn't put it down!

  3. Great review Jess! I knew this one was emotional and heavy just from skimming. (I still have alcohol for you btw) Your review just made me bump this up on my TBR list!

    1. Thanks girl. :D YAY for alcohol! LOL! I can always use some with my job. And I hope you end up liking this one!

  4. Awesome review! This book, hmm. I can't wait to read but I am terrified at the same time. Those topics, especially rape always make me a little jittery. I like to emotionally scar myself though, so I will probably read soon :-)

    1. I agree. I was so nervous going in Chelsea- but if I can read it, you definitely can. I'm the wuss about these kinds of books! LOL. And it's definitely worth reading!

  5. I love intense novels. And I am seriously loving the NA genre. I know a lot of people have their doubts, but I can't get enough of them.

    I have always wanted to read a book that revolves around a swim team. I have no idea why. I love the water, so maybe that has something to do with it.

    Great review!

    1. Me too Ashley! I can't get enough! Sure, I need a different kind of read every few NA's, but I really do love the genre too. That's too funny! This one definitely revolves around a swim team, but there's not a whole lot of swimming involved.

  6. Wow so happy you loved it it sounds like one I'd have to mentally prepare myself for! Great review! :)

    1. Oh you definitely have to mentally prepare! LOL. :D Thanks Giselle!

  7. I have heard the best things about Going Under. I have it, but am waiting for the right time, b/c by all accounts it's a tough read. But worthwhile.
    Great review, Jessica!

    1. Thanks Andrea! I can't wait for you to read it! You will really like it- but very smart on waiting for the right time. It's emotionally draining!

  8. OMG...I really enjoy emotional stories and connecting with the characters on another level. This one definitely sounds intense and I really curious to know how it all ends. I love the sound of the characters, Ryan and Brooke. They sound like in-depth characters, and I can't wait to meet them. I am definitely looking forward to this book. I'm glad you enjoyed this, Jessica! Thanks for bringing it to my attention! :D Awesome review!

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair 

    1. Oh, Maida! It is SO intense! I read like a crazy person because I HAD to know how it was going to end!!

  9. Great review Jess. Poor Brooke, my heart broke for her, she was playing with fire and got badly burnt. And yes I was suspicious of Ryan all the way through too. Such a hard read but so worth it.

    1. Yeah, I hate that that happened to her. Definitely worth the read!


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