In Too Deep
Llewellyn Flux (US: 8th February 2012)
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We may not like the characters we relate to, and we may not relate to the characters we like. In Too Deep is the former, with a narrator whose first mistake starts a snowball effect. The big issue is that she could publicly correct misconceptions any time, but doesn’t until the very end. Yes, she confesses when all is said and done, but for the most part Samantha Marshall is unlikable, even though teens may relate to her reluctance to clear the air.
It’s on the back cover, so I don’t count it as a spoiler: Carter Wellesley doesn’t rape Sam, but she lets everyone believe he did. Her defence is, “I didn’t SAY he raped me,” but the fact is she doesn’t immediately speak the truth when she realises a rumour is spreading.
Sam reasons that Carter is mean, so he deserves a bit of payback. But that’s a slap in the face to every victim of rape who is too scared to report the crime, or who reports it but isn’t believed. Except for the few who key a derogatory term into the side of her car, Sam is mostly believed and supported. This should give readers hope, but that it’s all a fabrication leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
And to think all this horribleness would’ve been avoided by Sam actually admitting to her best friend that she’s in love with him. But then this novel wouldn’t exist, because there’d be no story.