Caroline & West, Book One
by Robin York
Coming January 28, 2014
Publisher: Bantam/Pages: 400
In this New Adult debut by Robin York, a college student is attacked online and must restore her name—and stay clear of a guy who’s wrong for her, but feels so right.
When Caroline Piasecki’s ex-boyfriend posts their sex pictures on the Internet, it destroys her reputation as a nice college girl. Suddenly her once-promising future doesn’t look so bright. Caroline tries to make the pictures disappear, hoping time will bury her shame. Then a guy she barely knows rises to her defense and punches her ex to the ground.
West Leavitt is the last person Caroline needs in her life. Everyone knows he’s shady. Still, Caroline is drawn to his confidence and swagger—even after promising her dad she’ll keep her distance. On late, sleepless nights, Caroline starts wandering into the bakery where West works.
They hang out, they talk, they listen. Though Caroline and West tell each other they’re “just friends,” their feelings intensify until it becomes impossible to pretend. The more complicated her relationship with West gets, the harder Caroline has to struggle to discover what she wants for herself—and the easier it becomes to find the courage she needs to fight back against the people who would judge her.
When all seems lost, sometimes the only place to go is deeper.
“Beautifully written and full of swoony tender moments, toe-curling chemistry, and delicious, twisty angst . . . Stop whatever you’re doing and read this book.”—Christina Lauren, author of the Beautiful Bastard series.
IB Teen's "Deeper" Review:
For a few moments I was worried that, oh no, this book would be like the dozens of other New Adult novels that I've read these last two years. But, within this first chapter I was able to make enough of an emotional connection with the female protagonist Caroline, that I felt compelled to keep reading. As soon as I turned the page and started reading West, everything clicked, I couldn't put the book down if I'd wanted to. The two main characters defy all New Adult stereotypes, they are the NA characters I've been waiting to read. Girl hating, slut shaming, handsome-tough hero beating up douche-bag are all present, BUT all these themes are dealt with as I have been screaming at my Kindle for them to be. The girl hating/slut shaming are NOT things the protagonists are participating in, Caroline is traumatized by what is happening to her, and West is reacting in the way he was raised to react- even if its the worst thing he could do. And as Caroline learns to stand up for herself instead of feeling like she is deserving of the abuse, she begins to spread her wings again and asserts her power as an intelligent and capable young woman. I loved the empowerment Caroline gets back in this book.
Then there is West. Ladies!!! Have you ever had that guy that was the sun, moon, and stars and yet utterly confusing all at the same time? The guy who pulls you in and then pushes you away, but he is still everything? This is West. But West isn't just a guy fighting being tied down, he's a guy with a veritable sword of Damocles hanging over his head. Afraid to let people see the real West by revealing nothing of himself while demanding every real emotion from Caroline. West has real heart, his back story is so layered and has beautiful detail. I can only imagine that the upcoming sequel, HARDER, will be an emotional punch in the gut for West.
This novel is intense, with stunning passion, and real emotion. DEEPER is a cannot miss novel, dear readers, do yourselves a favor and pre-order your copies ASAP. Waiting for Harder will be excruciating, and yet knowing it will eventually be in my hands is enough to keep me going after that emotionally turbulent ending!
*I'm saving my character & story inquisition for Ms. York for after DEEPER is released. I asked Robin my 3 questions about Revenge Porn, Slut Shaming, and The Appeal of Bad Boys...
IBT: The thing about Cyber Bullying/Revenge Porn is if you are a victim of it, there is no where you can move away to escape it, and it follows you forever. In DEEPER you did an amazing job of chronicling the trauma a victim of cyber bullying experiences, how did you research it and why did you choose this subject matter?
RY: The subject matter kind of chose me, actually. I was thinking about writing a New Adult novel when I happened upon a link to an article about revenge porn one day, and after I read it and the awful, awful comments I couldn't let go of it. I knew within a day or two that this was at the core of my novel. Everything else kind of unfolded from there.
To research the book, I read as much as I could about revenge porn online. I talked to a few current college students, and I also spent some time on revenge porn sites themselves, which was pretty vile but necessary for me to be able to write authentically from the point of view of a young woman who finds her pictures posted on sites like these.
I think, too, that I came at the subject from a place of sympathy, of empathy, for the targets of revenge porn but also from a place of being righteously pissed off. And both of these predispositions are evident in the novel.
IBT: Why does society continue to judge women by the amount of people they've had sex with? I loved that DEEPER challenges the idea of a good girl vs. a "slut" within the same character. Why do you think it that people still consider a "good girl" as someone who waits, only has a tiny handful of partners, and studies a lot/works hard. While a promiscuous girl/woman is usually depicted as a deplorable creature deserving of shame and verbal abuse?
RY: Well, this is what we do to women. It's what we've done to women for so long, it’s hard to imagine there will ever be an end to it. And why? At bottom, it’s about power. It’s about controlling women, their bodies, their sexuality, through the mechanisms of norms--those pesky "you should," "you can't," "you have to" messages we're inundated with--and through shame.
It can be especially hard on young women at this “new adult” age, because they’re having to negotiate all of these incompatible overlapping and frankly impossible sets of standards. My heroine Caroline's sexuality is actually a problem for her her sexual behavior becomes the subject of public opinion. It affects her future, her sense of self-worth, her personal safety, her relationship with her dad, even her relationship with the college administration and all of this is ridiculous and unfair, right? Because sex is sex. Women and men alike should be able to have it or not have it, with however many partners they want, without it affecting every other facet of their lives.
And then there's West, the book's hero and love and those things are complicated, too. That's how it is, to a greater or lesser degree, for so many women, and I wanted to portray that struggle in DEEPER.
IBT: What is the appeal of the "bad boy"? What separates the good bad boy from the unredeemable bad boy?
RY: Ha! I don't actually think of West as a bad boy, although I know he comes across that way. Caroline thinks of him as dangerous, and that's the root of the appeal, I suspectthere's something really sexy about the pursuit of “I shouldn't but I WANT TO.”
For me, the unredeemable bad boy is truly a bad person misogynist, self-centered, lazy, sadistic... I don't want to read a book about that guy. Certainly not a romance.
West is none of those things. West is, at bottom, an exceptionally good kid who’s making the best choices he knows how to make in his situation. He works hard, he’s ethical, he's basically kind and empathetic but he’s also a drug dealer, prone to violence, sometimes impulsive, and self-destructive. All of that, I attribute to where he came from and how he was raised. He makes bad decisions at times; they don't make him a bad person.
But at the same time, if he keeps making bad decisions, he won't end up happy, and he won't end up being the kind of “hero” we want to read about. The question is what it will take for West to get to a place where he has the tools and the will to claim that life and that's really the arc of the next book, HARDER.
IBT: Thanks Robin! It was really hard not asking you spoiler-filled questions! Hope everyone goes out and pre-orders themselves a copy of DEEPER & HARDER (available Jan. 28, 2014 and Jul. 07, 2014 respectively). Scroll down to enter in the DEEPER Giveaway! Here is more praise for DEEPER that backs up my love for West:
“The perfect new adult story . . . West will make you swoon!”—New York Times bestselling author Monica Murphy.*If your browser has trouble loading the Giveaway:
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