Thursday, August 15, 2013

Almost by Anne Eliot

by Anne Eliot
Read: July 22 - 24, 2013
Published: February 1, 2012 by Butterfly Books
Source: Kindle Purchase
Category: Contemporary YA Issue/romance

At a freshman party she doesn't remember, Jess Jordan was almost raped.

...Almost. Very nearly. Not quite. Three years later, Jess has managed to make everyone believe she's better. Over it. Because she is.

...Almost. Very nearly. Not quite.

Unfortunately, until Jess proves she's back to normal activities, her parents won't discuss college. So, she lands a summer internship and strikes a deal with hockey jock, Gray Porter: He gets $8,000. She gets a fake boyfriend and a social life. 

Jess has no idea Gray signed on for reasons other than money. She also never expects to fall in love. But Gray’s amazingly hot, holds her hand all the time, and makes her forget that he’s simply doing his job. It’s like having a real boyfriend.

...Almost. Very nearly. Not quite.
Gray Porter is hiding secrets of his own. About Jess Jordan. About why he’s driven to protect her, why he won't cash her checks, or deny her anything she asks. (From Goodreads)

Jess is a mess. She hasn't slept a full night in 3 years. If she does, she has debilitating nightmares about a freshman year party when she almost got raped. To combat her fatigue, Jess tries to nap as much as she can during the day, but usually she's barely functioning. She doesn’t have any friends, mostly because she pushes every one away in an attempt to protect herself. But the summer before senior year of high school, Jess is determined to prove to her parents that she is okay (even if she has to fake it).  As part of her plan to look like a "normal" high school girl, Jess convinces Gray Porter to pretend to be her boyfriend. While he thinks it’s a terrible idea, Gray is willing to do anything for Jess. You see, Gray was at that party too, and he feels incredibly guilty about what happened to Jess that night. 

Almost is a very honest look at one girl’s struggle with posttraumatic stress disorder due to an attempted rape. It is an internal look at Jess’s daily struggles with pain and confusion over an incident that she doesn’t remember except in nightmares, but that has shaped every moment of her life after. It is also about all the things we do to protect each other, and that often in life there’s no easy answer. But this story is not only about Jess. It is about Gray too, and his guilt over what he did and didn't do the night Jess was almost raped. Overall, though Almost is a hopeful story. 

A lot of page time is spent inside Jess or Gray’s head as they struggle to come to terms with the events of the party 3 years ago, and the ways it's changed both of their lives. While I love the honestly of their thoughts and the fact that Jess's growth comes gradually throughout this book, I thought the story became a little slow and repetitive in places. I wish we’d gotten some more dialogue and interactive scenes, because those were definitely my favorite.

What I loved best about Almost is that it managed to be really funny, despite the heavy subject matter. Jess and Gray both have hilarious inner monologues, as well as great comedic banter with each other. I think my favorite scene is when they go roller-skating. 

I also really appreciated how much of a role Jess's family plays in this story. Their concern for her and desire to both protect and help her heal, was moving and realistic - if not misguided at times. But they came across like a real family, and I appreciated the complexity and relevance they brought to the story. Despite the large amount of time we spend in Jess and Gray's heads, the author did a great job at creating secondary characters. I also really enjoyed Gray's friends, who were usually present during the hilarious moments of this story. 

Although I will admit to feeling like the narration slowed down in places where the book got stuck in Jess or Gray's heads heads, the pacing of Jess's healing and Gray's struggle to know how to tell her the truth was realistic. I am impressed with the way that Almost handles a very difficult and relevant issue with grace, interspersing humor along the way. 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone


  1. I haven't heard of this one before, but it sounds SO GOOD. I really love books about PTSD - not sure why - so to see that explored so poignantly definitely has my attention. Plus, I love a good (and humorous) romance. I'll definitely be checking this one out soon - thanks for putting it on my radar, Lauren! Wonderful review!

  2. As opposed to Keertana, I have heard of this book. I have it on my tbr pile and had forgotten about it so I'm super glad you decided to read and review it. I like PTSD books as well since they're so intense and emotional and show vulnerability in ways most of us can't even imagine. I haven't read a book like this, all my PTSD reads have been about war, but this sounds so good. I guess it could get a little slow as you mentioned when people mull over the same things over and over again, but if it's realistic and not all whining or pining over something/someone, then I can live with these parts being in a book. I'm glad you enjoyed it overall. It seems like such a tough topic and a huge emotional burden to carry with one and I'm intrigued. Thanks for the reminder of this book being in my tbr list;)

  3. I've had this book on my Kindle for sometime now, I admit never having a clue abut what it was about, but when my co-blogger tells me to grab a book, I usually don't hesitate, and now I'm really glad that I did. I really enjoy tough, gritty reads, and it sounds like Eliot has done a real great job with this one. I'm glad that despite the slow aspects you were still able to enjoy this! Great review Lauren! :)

  4. I have a serious issue when a character is shown so much in their head. It really does slow the pacing down. Glad to hear it didn't keep you from some great secondary characters though. A friend recommended this one to me quite awhile ago, but it wasn't available for Nook yet. I should look into it again. :)

  5. I have not heard of this one yet! You'll have to tell me where you picked it up:) You know I love fake boyfriend storylines--I've read two in the last few months that were awesome! And I'm glad that there is a lot of humor to lighten up such a dark, dark subject. You know my fave PTSD/ Rape book (that sounds like an awful description--sorry!) is What Happens Next--how does this one measure up in your opinion?

    And that's a really pretty cover!

  6. Great review, I like the fact that it has comedic banter and some funny inner monologues. I don't usually like dark subject matters, but it sounds like this one is handled in a way that is not depressing. I think I'll add this one to my TBR list! ~Pam

  7. The poor girl! I just want to take her home, wrap her in a warm blankie and give her hot cocoa! An incident like that's really got to take away any feeling of safety and security so I can see why she has PTSD. Sounds great.

  8. I haven't heard of this book! How did I miss it!? The fake boyfriend part reminds me of Charade by Nyrae Dawn but there isn't a rape storyline in that one. This sounds like a book that I'd like - I just added it to my wishlist.

  9. I was looking for something online and found this, and realized I have not commented. Thanks so much for your kind words and for all of the adds and…just THANKS. I know it's very belated but so glad I ended up here--yay google. Thanks thanks thanks.


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