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Ceridwen

Ceridwen

You kids get off my lawn. 

Easy - Tammara Webber

Tammara Webber's Easy is brilliant in exactly the same way that Suzanne Collin's Hunger Games is brilliant. I am not suggesting they are read-alikes, or that if you like one, you'll like the other. They're not in the same genre, nor do they have the same narrative aims. Both function as fairly straightforward (though compulsively readable) examples of their respective genres, and can be enjoyed on simple, surface levels. Neither book is especially original, trading in motifs and tropes of their respective genres, and doing that well. But both of these books can be read on another level, one that subverts the genre tropes, making them bend to new messages, reworking them to political and cultural engagements that are as surprising as they are vital. 

 

Easy begins with one of the most harrowing descriptions of sexual assault I've ever read. I've seen a lot of sexual assaults in romance novels, usually by the bad guy to prove that he's a bad guy, or so that the hero can pop in and rescue the heroine and prove his mettle. And the second is more or less what happens here in Easy, on the surface level, but it's so much more subversive than that. Jackie is just leaving a party, after being dragged out by a close friend a couple weeks after she's been dumped by her high school boyfriend. She followed that boyfriend to the college she's now attending, even though the college is not a good fit with her interests, because she's used to subsuming her interests to men. So many women are.

 

She makes it to the car, keys dangling, when she's attacked by Buck, a frat-brother of her ex-boyfriend. She's pretty close to raped, and vividly, in a way that makes you understand that assault isn't as simple as whether you were penetrated or not. It's assault. The attempted part of the rape is bad enough.