Monday, January 30, 2012

Member Giveaway Review: Secrets and Lies

Author: Tracy James Jones
Genre: Fiction, Slightly Erotic Fiction
Pages: 158
Warnings: Grammar Carnage, transphobia?
Rating: 2/5

This novel follows the lives of Ken Jordan, Cami Vargas, Ulanda Jefferson and Bren Searcy as they unravel the secrets they each keep. The novel starts with Ken and Cami having an affair, which Cami confides to her best friend, Ulanda. However it turns out that Ken's affair happened right before he proposed to Bren, and Ulanda and Bren have a close relationship of their own. Throughout the book, these four characters reveal to each other some secrets you know about and some you don't.

 My first feeling upon finishing this book was that there was something slightly wonky about the plot. In actual chronological order, Ken and Bren are highschool sweethearts, but Ken breaks up with Bren because he's a jock. Bren parents Ulanda with a different person (not a major character). Several years pass, Bren gets back together with Ken. Cami and Ulanda become friends. Ken cheats on Bren with a lot of people, including Cami, then asks Bren to marry him. Cami gets pregnant and gives the baby to Ken's parents. Bren gets upset about this and goes back to her hometown to talk with Ulanda about all of this, and then Bren meets Cami. None of these plot devices are unbelievable, but they do seem extremely ridiculous when taken together. Or at least, they are the actions of rational actors who I can not empathize with at all.

In addition I was freaking offended by the treatment of Ulanda's bio-mom. Apparently Bren got pressured into sex with a trans man, which was probably rape. However no one could be damned to used the right pronouns, or treat him with any decency. This was especially startling to me after the attempts made to treat Bren, a trans woman, with respect. Apparently you only have to respect the rights of trans people you like.

This book just didn't grab me. I couldn't convince myself to like the characters, with the exception of Ulanda.  I can't suggest this book to you unless you like cheesy romance novels.

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