Campbell dives in obsession with such force it leaves the reader stunned. The need to possess, the need to control, while tempting the mind with the one true fantasy. A love so strong that will warp your perception of the world. A love so powerful it will endure the tests of time and separation. A love so focused that nobody will ever compare to that person that makes your heart beat faster.
Why did I compare it to the one true fantasy? Simple, human nature.
The term 'Alpha Male' says it all. We all know it. How many times did we pick up a book, that promises a dominant, strong, doesn't take no for an answer, powerful male that swoops in and shatters all control the female has over her life, to exert his own? To need her to that extent, the very thought of losing her makes him want to take on the world?
It's tempting to a human mind, to become someone's everything. To be so valued, special, distinguished from the rest.
So the answer is simple. Many, many times.
The only difference between books that sends masses gushing and this one? Packaging. The ingredients stay the same. It becomes so easy for us to entertain ourselves with dominance and submission, as long the edges are more sharply defined. If our Alpha Male had a clean cut job, and was in the process of saving the girl from some baddies? I don't think it would be as shocking as a young man who we don't know much about. Lurking in the dark. We do tent to gravitate to clear moral simplicity. The yin and yang. The black and white. All the while forgetting the well known truth - that life is very rarely defined in such a way. I love the ballsiness of swimming in darker waters, knowing full well you will face criticism. I love the ballsines of succeeding to get to the other side...
The main factor of controversy in this novel is Val's age. She is only fourteen. That fact alone made many give up on this particular novel, saying it glorifies child abuse. Would they feel slightly different if she was perhaps ten years older? The thing is, if we turn our backs on something, it doesn't make it less real. The true need to own or possess a human being is not a product of a sound mind. It never was. This is only a novel, a novel doesn't scare me. What scares me is that there are people out there in the real world, that know exactly who Gavin is, because they feel the same urges themselves.
Haunting, disturbing, chilling, creepy....Those are only some of the words describing this novel, and they are all correct.
Campbell has a way of rattling the hornet's nest. Brave enough to touch the subjects that we all know are out there, but not discuss in general unless with the selected few. Raw emotional desire, need for sexual conquest, first stirrings of lust in that delicate age between a child and an adult.
I have read a few of her works and seen that she seeks to unsettle, rather then soothe the reader. Challenge you out of your comfort zone. She writes multiple genres, and they all have the unique way of inviting you further into her world. Love it or hate it, I have no doubt in my mind we are witnessing the rise of a master.