Monday, March 3, 2014

Review: THE TEMPTATION OF LILA AND ETHAN by Jessica Sorensen

Title: THE TEMPTATION OF LILA AND ETHAN
Pub Date: 5/6/14 from Grand Central Publishing
ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Dannie says: not as tempting as some of Sorensen's other works, but still fun!

On the surface, Lila Summers is flawless: good looks, expensive clothes, and a big, beautiful smile. But a dark past and even darker secrets are threatening to bubble over her perfect fa├žade. She'll do anything to keep the emptiness inside hidden-which leads her into situations that always end badly. Whenever she hits bottom, there's only one person who's there to pull her out: Ethan Gregory. 

Ethan set the rules a long time ago: he and Lila are just friends. He doesn't do relationships. Although his tattooed, bad boy exterior is a far cry from Lila's pretty princess image, Ethan can't deny they have a deeper connection than he's used to. If he's not careful, he could be in serious danger of becoming attached-and he's learned the hard way that attachment only leads to heartbreak.

When Lila falls farther than she ever has before, can Ethan continue to help as a friend? Or is he also getting close to falling . . . for her?


WHAT I LIKED

If you've been following this blog for a while you know I'll pretty much pick up anything with Jessica Sorensen's name on it. She has a knack for writing realistically imperfect characters that are easy to champion. The premise of Lila and Ethan promised to be another book I'd reread until I had memorized. It touched on the New Adult themes I loved without being a cookie cutter college let's get drunk and tame a bad boy trope that I've grown really, really sick of. I was hooked by this premise. There were some areas it fell short for me, though, making it a like rather than a love. 

Ethan. I'm not really a sucker for a bad boy and I think this was one area where some of Sorensen's characters start to blend together a little. He's a bit similar to Quinton, who is probably my favorite character by this author, and so I found myself comparing the two, leaving Ethan to be more of a like than a love, since I felt Quinton was more multifaceted and tangible. I did really, really enjoy reading Ethan's chapters though.

WHAT I LOVED

The realistic portrayal of addiction in upper class teens/twenty-somethings. You know how I'm a sucker for a well-told drug story, and Sorensen's books are some of my favorite in this respect. I did think she handled this aspect of the story very well, and I won't say anything more than that to avoid spoilers. But it was realistic and from me that's hard praise to come by. 

Hurray for a book that can be read as a standalone! I've read the previous two books in this series, but I don't think you need to read them to enjoy this book. And although there is a bit of a cliffhanger at the end, there's enough tying of loose ends that if you want to stop here, you can, and feel satisfied that the story has reached a conclusion. 

WHAT I WANTED MORE OF

A stronger FMC. I felt like Lila could have grown more in terms of her personal journey. I wanted her to be stronger and to rely on Ethan less. I felt at times like they were toying with codependency in a way that seemed unhealthy, and I wanted her to need less rescuing than she did. 

More chemistry--while Sorensen's characterization and chemistry are nearly always out of the box, I did feel like this book went into the tropey area a little too much with the whitewashed pure girl and the inked up bad boy. While I didn't think Ethan was your typical NA LI, he wasn't unique enough from other male leads in Sorensen's growing collection. So, maybe because I've read nearly everything in her catalog, I felt like these characters and their chemistry was not as original as I'd hoped. 

Short story long, if you enjoy Jessica Sorensen's books, I think you'll be tempted by Lila and Ethan. I'm looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next!

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