Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Blod Tour! A Review of Knee Deep by Jolene Perry
Knee Deep focuses on Ronnie, a girl in her senior year of high school, who is in a very unhealthy relationship. Ronnie is just starting to find herself, by trying out for the school play and finding a special love of acting. But her self discovery is hindered by Shawn, her long-term boyfriend, who's behavior is becoming increasingly selfish and destructive. Even as she tries to make excuses for Shawn, and tries to make their relationship work, she finds herself falling for her costar in the play--Luke. Luke is one of her best friends, and very sweet. But Ronnie believes that Shawn, with all of his flaws, is her soulmate.
Perry makes this simple, predictable plot emotionally gripping. She takes the time to build Ronnie and Shawn's relationship so that the reader really understands what Ronnie is clinging to. I understood, for example, that Ronnie had created an ideal version of Shawn in her mind, and convinced herself that he would be that Shawn if only she could be patient enough to wait for him.
I loved Luke, and I felt very empathetic toward him. Having been a friend to an abuse victim, I could clearly understand the position he was in. This position is made all the worse by the fact that he's in love with Ronnie. He wants to protect her, and he can't. Luke is Ronnie's night in shining armor, but she'd rather be with the monster.
Perry writes parent/teen relationships very well. Ronnie's parents are also in the position of wanting to help her, but are mostly unable to. Ronnie's father, in particular, is brilliant in his quest to get Ronnie to open up, and later to help her heal after things get really bad. Every girl should be so fortunate as to have a dad like that.
Overall, I just really loved Ronnie's emotional journey--from stubbornly in love, to torn between Luke and Shawn, to all on her own. And of course, I can't give away how it all ends, but I'll just say that the end was so appropriate and so emotionally fulfilling that I sighed contentedly.
Unfortunately, I think I'm the only person in the whole world who DOESN'T find Romeo and Juliet romantic. Ronnie's performance as Juliet was part of what opened her heart to feelings toward Luke, and that's great for her. But I just don't get it. I wasn't able to connect with Ronnie during those times--but that is, of course, a matter of my own taste.
Be warned that Ronnie makes some frustrating decisions. She acts exactly, and I mean exactly, like every abused girl I've ever known does. She stays when things are clearly bad and headed towards horrible. She keeps it all a secret, and she makes excuses. And that can be as tough to read about as it is to watch.
Young adult fans, romance fans--you really need to give this book a try. It's sweet, sad, and uplifting, all at the same time. The characters are well developed, the tone is relaxed and somber, and the story is thought provoking. 4 stars.
By from Amazon: Knee Deep