Friday, 13 July 2012

Knee Deep - Jolene Perry

If I saw this book on the shelf, glanced at the cover, I would never have picked it up. In truth, I don't like the cover. At all.
But for me with this book, the words 'Don't judge a book by it's cover' sounds pretty right.
I was asked by Tribute Books to review this book as part of the Knee Deep book tour. I read the synopsis and was attracted to the book before I saw the cover. I got an e-book of this and I was on my way.
However, by the time I sat down to read this, I had completely forgotten what it was about so I dived into this book while on holiday completely oblivious to what this book would actually be about due to my memory. I had reservations, I can tell you.

Synopsis: Shawn is the guy Ronnie Bird promised her life to at the age of fourteen. He's her soul mate. He's more uptight every day, but it's not his fault. His family life is stressful, and she's adding to it. She just needs to be more understanding, and he'll start to be the boy she fell in love with. She won’t give up on someone she’s loved for so long.
Luke is her best friend, and the guy she hangs with to watch girlie movies in her large blanketopias. He's the guy she can confide in before she even goes to her girlfriends, and the guy who she's playing opposite in Romeo and Juliet. Now her chest flutters every time he gets too close. This is new. Is Ronnie falling for him? Or is Juliet? The lines are getting blurry, but leaving one guy for another is not something that a girl like Ronnie does.
Shawn’s outbursts are starting to give her bruises, and Luke’s heart breaks as Ronnie remains torn. While her thoughts and feelings swirl around the lines between friendship and forever, she’s about to lose them both.

Review: So, as one can tell, I wasn't exactly jumping with excitement to read this book and entered the book in quite a neutral state. 

On the surface (I guess it is really) this is one of those really girly novels. You know, where you can just literally sit down, read and relax for a bit while stuffing popcorn in your mouth or on a sun lounger in a foreign summery country sipping something fruity. However, after reading this, really it feels far from that. Sure, I would read this while on holiday and the plot is simple and understandable. There are no clever witty remarks that I have to think about for a while before I understand and most of all, it is something I don't have to think about - just read.
The thing is this is a book about abuse and domestic violence. Being a 17 year-old teenage girl, I have not experienced anything that Ronnie goes through in this book but Jolene Perry's writing gives a pretty good idea of what it is like. I found myself becoming more and more attached to Ronnie for her individuality, her wariness of the issue of sex and just the crap she has to go through. Ronnie felt to me very much like a teenager with her language, her mannerisms described and her thoughts such the embarrassment of telling her parents things.

This is a first person narrative and through that, I became quite attached to her, especially as she is my age. With what this is about, there are a number of ways this could have been written like from being preachy to the target audience of teenagers like 'Don't do this' or in a way where writers think every teenager speaks in text language and would have lost the intense mood of this novel. Instead, I found this an interesting read that certainly showed me ways abusive relationships can start and how they should be dealt with. The way the latter happens in this novel is quite shocking and I didn't quite expect it. I've seen some reviews that didn't like Ronnie's first person narrative but I think this was effective - it really gets you into her head on her reactions and thoughts.

I liked Ronnie because she was a different female teen protagonist. Although, I think any reader will hate Shawn by the end of this book, I did like how his descent to hitting Ronnie was shown, at the beginning, he was the stroppy, normally male teenagers but by the end, well, hopefully you'll see. 
I liked Luke, but to me, he was a bit on the cheese side. Some of his lines had me rolling my eyes like 'Meh, as much as I would like a future love to say that, it won't happen'. However, even throughout what happened to Ronnie, I never felt inclined to Luke, even though he plays a knight in shining armour role. There is this image of a player about him that is repeated frequently so when Ronnie starts to like him, to me, it felt insignificant as he was like this. I think this also stemmed from forgetting the plot so anyone who did have the plot accessible while reading may have had a different interpretation. 

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this book - I neither loved it or disliked it. I guess you could say it was 'okay'. I had no major problems with this book and it flows, writing wise, very well with me wanting to know what Ronnie's reactions would be. This is quite a taboo subject so I am glad that another author has decided to write about this subject for teens. This way, I found many similarities to Dreamland by Sarah Dessen (review). 

I like the characters within this, especially Ronnie with her individuality and I'm sad it happened to her. Mindy was also another favourite of mine which I feel could have been included much more frequently. The writing was simple yet well-read and didn't have an annoying preachy feel. This is a book for teens about teens writing with teens in mind. Jolene Perry has certainly done her research on what teenagers are truly like, and I thank her for that. She adds a mature look at high school and older teenagers life that is obvious in her writing for me. A poignant and favourite quote of mine from the book was this, which I think sums up what relationships should be like for teenagers: 
'This kind of loyal dedication is what someone deserves as a wife that he's put years of work and trust into, not a young man who hasn't even started his own life yet, Ronnie. This is the time in your life when you should be able to fly free. If something doesn't suit you, or work out right, you jump to the next. It's one of the beautiful things of being young.'

I give it a 3.5 out of 5

Pages: 176
Publisher: Tribute Books
Challenges: None

Thank you to Tribute Books!

This is part of the Knee Deep Blog Tour where bloggers post reviews, guest posts or interviews on this book. Keep up to date with the blog tour here:


  1. I love the sound of this! As you said, this topic is quite taboo, so it would be interesting to see how it's written.

    Ronnie sounds like a character it would be easy to empathise with! It sounds like you're not Luke's biggest fan, but I do love that kind of chessy stuff. :P

    Although you didn't love this, I still really like the sound of it! Thanks for the review, Rebecca.(:

    1. It starts off a bit like a romance novel and I guess it is throughout but it's nice for a look at a subject such as that.
      It's a good book, I just was on the fence in my thoughts. I neither hated it or loved it.

      I think you'll enjoy it. It reminded me of Sarah Dessen so :)

  2. Rebecca, thanks for taking the time to read and review "Knee Deep."


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