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review 2017-08-16 21:51
Are we discussing the issue of consent with our sons?
It Happens All the Time: A Novel - Amy Hatvany

This book was a brave effort on the part of the author, to approach the issue of acquaintance rape, why it happens and how we can help prevent it by educating our children.

While I was searching for more information about the author, I came upon a You Tube video of her talking about a similar event that happened to her in her teens and I realised that this was more than just a novel, this was the author reaching out about something that she felt strongly about - the issue of consent. It also helped that in this book the issue was covered from the point of view of both victim and rapist.

 

*Spoiler alert - I may have discussed too much of the plot in the following review, please stop here if you haven't read the book.*

 

Tyler and Amber met as children when Tyler's family moved into the same street. Amber was an only child, with very sociable parents and they immediately welcomed Tyler and his family. The two Mums became best friends and after Tyler's parents separated, Amber's parents invited him and his Mum to join them on holidays.

All through childhood they were each other's closest friends. Tyler was Amber's greatest support when she suffered severe eating disorders, spending a large chunk of time in hospital, and whenever she needed him he was there for her.

Unfortunately Tyler harbored desires beyond just friendship, while Amber considered him to be like a brother. He was struggling to come to terms with Amber's engagement to another student that summer when everything fell apart.

 

Tyler also had his own issues and suffered with anxiety, largely caused by his awful bully of a father. I was pretty horrified that Amber was so bruised after the event, I suppose Tyler's behaviour with Whitney should have rung warning bells, but he supposedly loved Amber, he proceeded without consent, yes, but did he have to be so violent? It almost adds another dimension to the central issue of the book.

 

My BG wasn't very impressed with this book, giving ratings as low as 2 stars, they didn't think it was very well written, and in some ways I have to agree; there were parts that didn't quite work.

What bothered me most, was the resolution. Why was it that Tyler was expected to turn himself in, yet Amber was not taken to account for her actions with the gun. By the end of the book, was it right that Amber should be just allowed to walk away and start again?

 

As an aside to the book, do be sure to search out Amy Hatvany's comments in "The Conversations We’re Not Having With Our Sons", published as a guest post in The Manifest-Station. http://www.themanifeststation.net/2017/03/26/conversation-not-sons/

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review 2017-03-26 19:48
It Happens All the Time
It Happens All the Time: A Novel - Amy Hatvany

By: Amy Hatvany

ISBN:1476704457

Publisher: Atria

Publication Date: 3/28/2017

Format: Hardcover

My Rating:  5 Stars

 

One of my all-time favorite authors, Amy Hatvany returns following Somewhere Out There (2016) with her most emotional and timely book yet: IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME — an exploration into two different experiences of rape.

View the author's powerful video. Author, wife, mother, friend, rape survivor.

A girl. A guy. Childhood friends. Consent. Rape. Their families. A tragedy which changes everything. A desperate need for justice and revenge.

There is one thing (well, more than one) you can come to expect from Amy Hatvany: She is not afraid to tackle tough issues of the heart, with honesty and superbly researched topics —critical for today’s contemporary woman, no matter the age.

Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have grown up together. Best friends from an early age through teen years. Their parents were friends. Ty comes from and abusive father. The Bryants took Ty and his mom under their wing and have always included them in family activities.

Amber has had food and self-esteem issues throughout her life. Tyler battles his self-esteem issues with his father. Amber always thinking she is fat, to the point she almost lost her life. It is a topic her parents to this day are sensitive about when they note her eating habits.

Tyler has always been her very best friend. He has always been in love with her. The feeling has not been mutual. From Amber’s side, it is more friendship, not love. Now Amber has graduated from college and is engaged to be married. She returns home to visit with her family and runs into Tyler. Tyler stayed in town and become a local paramedic.

Both Amber and Tyler are experiencing things in their own individual lives. Both are troubled in different ways. Even though Amber is engaged to med student Daniel, Tyler is excited to have his old friend back in town. Deep down he always hopes he has a shot. Amber starts second guessing her decision to get married.

They go out and have too much to drink, which leads to a sexual encounter. Things get out of control and Amber says, “no.” Tyler does not stop. This devastating experience changes the dynamics of this couple and everyone close to them, including their family, forever.

Hatvany explores both sides of the story, combined with her own raw emotion and personal tragedy. A sense of powerlessness and self-destruction behavior.

Amber doubts herself. How could this have happened? Her best friend. How could not remember the events and how they unfolded? What happened to consent? She soon becomes obsessed with taking the matter into her own hands. She will force him into admitting what he had done. Was he more like his dad than he wanted to admit?

The characters grapple with themselves as well as one another. Exploring healthy and unhealthy ways people respond to and recover from trauma, including revenge, therapy, obsession, denial, eating disorders, drug abuse, sex, support groups, social withdrawal, exercise, legal action, and violence.

 

A compelling look at a topic of rape; which is brushed under the radar more often than we may expect. Especially when the victim knows the other party.

Furthermore, when the parents are friends and the person is someone you have trusted your entire life, and now has betrayed you. Shattered lives. Someone will have to pay for the injustice.

Often the law fails the victim. More than one will have to possess the courage to step up and admit their mistakes and be prepared for the consequences. When events are not always black and white. Moral lines are crossed.

Powerful storytelling. Emotionally gripping. Struggling with the aftermath of rape, and domestic violence.

For fans of Diane Chamberlain, Heather Gudenkauf, Jodi Picoult, Liane Moriarty, Jennifer Weiner, and Sarah Pekkanen. An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions. Another winner by Hatvany!

On a side note: When posting a review, I often link to the previous book, read by the author. However, when I scrolled back to reference all the books I have read by Hatvany, I noticed each book was a "5-star rating!" How often does an author consistently deliver quality, high-charged absorbing and timely issues?

It is rare. Why I wanted to include all the book reviews here by the author, for those of you which may be new to Amy Hatvany. An author you will soon move to the "top" of your favorite author list. Each book one is uniquely different with a critical takeaway message.

2011 Best Kept Secret
2012 The Language of Secrets
2012 Outside the Lines
2013 Heart Like Mine
2014 Safe With Me
2016 Somewhere Out There

A special thank you to Atria and NetGalley for an early reading copy. Stunning cover. Would make a great movie.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/08/19/It-Happens-all-the-Time
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review 2017-03-22 17:12
It Happens All the Time/Amy Hatvany
It Happens All the Time: A Novel - Amy Hatvany

Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have been best friends since they were teenagers—trusting and depending on each other through some of the darkest periods of their young lives. And while Amber has always felt that their relationship is strictly platonic, Tyler has long harbored the secret desire that they might one day become more than friends.

Returning home for the summer after her college graduation, Amber begins spending more time with Tyler than she has in years. Despite the fact that Amber is engaged to her college sweetheart, a flirtation begins to grow between them. One night, fueled by alcohol and concerns about whether she’s getting married too young, Amber kisses Tyler.

What happens next will change them forever.

In alternating points of view, It Happens All the Time examines the complexity of sexual dynamics between men and women and offers an incisive exploration of gender roles, expectations, and the ever-timely issue of consent.

 

Ugh, this book was so important and covered such an important and rare perspective that although I didn't actually like it that much, I so highly recommend it.

 

Hatvany does an extraordinary good job of transitioning between sections. The book is told from two perspectives across multiple stretches of time, and although the chapters didn't indicate explicitly which part of the year they were being told from, it was always completely clear to me, which I found to be incredibly effective. I didn't get lost ever and I felt like the author guided me very clearly through the story.

 

I think this book is important. I think it tackles huge topics. I think Tyler's perspective sheds so much light on similar people's thought processes. I think today's society needs this book.

 

But I didn't appreciate the events that prompted the ending. I didn't like how one incident, the one that opens the book, influenced my entire thinking. I would have liked to have seen the actions that one character would have taken had he not had this outside event impacting him. And for me, that seriously detracted from the book.

 

And I didn't find Tyler's character to be as sympathetic as perhaps I was supposed to. His friendship with Amber as he grew up didn't strike me as particularly meaningful. I wished Amber had reached out and found other friends, and I felt like when she was at university, she would have.

 

Mainly, I just never get particularly engrossed in this book. It was easy enough to read, but even though Amber was an extremely motivated and well-rounded character, the type I normally love, I found it hard to really get involved, and I felt like there were many points where I could have stopped reading and simply forgotten about the book.

 

So I recommend this book, I do, because it's important. But I think it could have been better executed.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2016-02-19 01:06
Somewhere Out There
Somewhere Out There: A Novel - Amy Hatvany
ISBN: 9781476704432
Publisher: Atria
Publication Date: 3/1/2016 
Format: Paperback 
My Rating: 5 Stars 

 

A special thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Talented Amy Hatvany returns following (2014) Safe with Me landing on my Top Books of 2014 List with another complex, emotional, and riveting novel, SOMEWHERE OUT THERE. A gripping page-turner,

 
“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” –Cynthia Occelli

Amy’s sixth book is a powerful tale of a mother’s love—crossing generations, from biological to adopted mother---and the fall out, two sisters separated at a young age. One, adopted; now a mother of two, and her older sister, never adopted and lost in the system; endless foster and group homes--spending a lifetime waiting on her mother to return for her.

Jennifer is a desperate mother. Her girls: Brook, four- years- old, and Natalie, only six months, by two different fathers. They have no place to go. She is out of friends, family, and favors. She does not have enough gas to keep driving. Every cell of her body is telling her to get out, and run. Pretend the last five years never happened. But she can’t. She has the girls. If not, she would be free.

She had fought so hard to keep them. Her own mother, who wanted her to have an abortion. No, she would be a good mother. Then Brooke’s father gone. No education. No money for day care to work. No family. A car serving as home for the last three plus years. Begging on the streets. A hungry baby. A four year-old who deserves better. She had to leave them in the car while the baby slept, for a few minutes, so she could slip inside the market to get a few things…and (take) a few, in order to keep her babies from starving. Survival.

The unthinkable. She gets caught. Her fourth count of petty theft. What about her girls? Jennifer would have to do time. She loves them desperately, but she cannot do this. She cries for them. Her heart is ripped apart. How can she go on without her girls?

Signing away her rights. A battle of tug-and-war rages inside of her, agonizing between what she wants and what she knows is right. She had to think it wasn’t about her. It was about her babies. About giving them a good home, the kind of life she could not provide. She had done her best and it wasn’t good enough. Maybe they would be better off without her. Someone will adopt them and raise the two girls together.

Flashing back and forth, we hear from the voices of Jennifer, Natalie, and Brooke. Now thirty-five years later.

Natalie is now grown, adopted, a great education, a former lawyer, a nice home, and married with two children of her own. She now has her own catering business. She knows she was adopted; however, her adopted mom was very sensitive, so she curbed the urge to find her biological mother. She had no clue she had a sister. Until now.

Her older sister, Brooke was not so fortunate. Your heart goes out to her. She had a difficult time in foster care and group homes. Separated from her baby sister, and a mother who deserted her. Now, she is single, hardworking, a job waiting tables, and dating a married man. She has lived keeping her emotions at a distance. Does not allow anyone to get close. Torn with a decision of her own, she does not want history to repeat itself.

When Natalie’s children start talking about family trees, she decides it is time to find her biological mother. Why did her mother leave her? Then she discovers she has a sister. She has to find her sister.

However, old wounds go deep. Lives cannot go back to the same. There are unrealistic expectations. Sometimes love is not outward. Sacrifices have to be made for others. Sometimes we have to break and crack,, in order for the light to get in.

Can the notes and the letters provide the girls an explanation—giving them the truth, as imperfect, ugly, and unfair as it could be? Sometimes this is all there is. A way to forgive yourself and let go of the past.

What a poignant story! SOMEWHERE OUT THERE, is an ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions. Similar to Jodi Picoult, Hatvany is never afraid to tackle controversial issues and delve deep into human lives, relationships, tough decisions, and family. Thought-provoking; does our childhood experiences define us as adults?

Hatvany's character development is superb! Hoping we will see more of these three—the characters are too good-- to say good-bye.

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!Somewhere-Out-There/cmoa/56319dd50cf2ce5bf4323842
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review 2014-03-29 17:32
Safe With Me
Safe with Me - Amy Hatvany

  

By Amy Hatvany

ISBN-13: 9781476704418

Publisher: Washington Square Press

Publication date: 3/4/2014

Pages: 352

Edition:  Paperback

My Rating:  5 Stars++ 

 

HATVANY’S “BEST OF THE BEST!

 

This is my fifth book by Amy, with a rating of ALL 5 Stars; however, can honestly say, SAFE WITH ME is an award-winning book.  

 

When I give a 5 star rating, it is due to a number of criteria, with the main one, “not being able to put the book down”. So when you run across a book such as, SAFE WITH ME, five stars seems inadequate, as deserving of so much more. (you want to blog and tell all your friends to buy this book, TODAY)! 

I knew the first time I read one of Amy’s books, she would be one of my favorite authors for life. Everything she writes is so masterfully crafted, reflective of her talents as a highly skilled author, speaking from the heart with honestly, sensitivity and humor. She is not afraid to tackle highly charged subjects such as alcoholism, grief, critical illness, sickness, abuse, family drama, relationships, social subjects, death, bullying, and organ donation. 

From the first page, I was hooked! There are some strong women characters here, and the topics Hatvany selected, and brilliant way she was able to skillfully create a path for each of these woman to connect and intersect, was outstanding!

 

The characters had so many flaws, yet she used them in such a delicate way to create a positive and warm feel and take away, for her readers and fans. (I also enjoy her acknowledgement with the creation of her stories, as inspiring).

SAFE WITH ME, had so much meaning from the emotional to the physical. From creating false identity and hope of oneself, coping with insecurities and dishonesty, fabricating stories and lies created by fear, and continuing to keep feelings and actions buried deeper, for a more serious outcome. 

I especially related to the abuse topic, as was a victim in a similar situation with a wealthy, controlling second husband, with Jekyll and Hyde, Sleeping with the Enemy type personality, as James; in so much, I could almost predict his next move (as bad or worse) with painful memories resurfacing, as I turned the pages of this realistic plight. Fortunately, I was able to escape this abusive marriage after five long years, and found a highly independent and rewarding life thereafter.

Maddie’s first hand struggle as patient and afterwards as a transplant survivor was heart breaking, as she is attempting to survive in world new to her, while dealing with her own guilt and prison, within her own home. In addition, how social media and technology played a huge part in the storyline and narrative, as well as how teens can become involved in such peer pressure with such tactics as bullying, shoplifting, as well as online attempts to help make themselves to fit in and be more acceptable.

There are so many dynamics to this powerful and riveting story which will keep you turning well into the night, with your heart pounding to see what coming around the corner. I could write more; however, will stop to save room for others. We all need friendships, encouragement and support to help those in time of need through grief, with domestic shelters, and support groups.

An amazing story, which will live on well after the last page. Hats off Amy – this is a winner!

 

A genuine thank you for the courage, tenacity, and commitment to craft such a remarkable story. I highly recommend, as well as all Amy’s books. (Here’s hoping for a sequel with Hannah, Olivia, and Maddie -these characters are too good, to end.) 

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/690690749
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