I'm so conflicted on my feelings for Going Under
. The rape/revenge part of the storyline was amazing, but the whole Ryan storyline did nothing for me. Honestly, at times I felt like I was switching between two different books.
Walden handled the rape part of the story superbly. She used the right amount of drama, the right amount of sheer sickening horror in that
scene. Brooklyn's entire revenge storyline was gripping.
And then there's Ryan. I wish he'd just been cut out. His romance with Brooklyn bordered on instalove. There were just so many more interesting things going on than he and Brooklyn painting or sexually playing video games or his oh-so-mysterious big secret. I wanted to skip all the parts with him in it.
I'm not sure whether I love or hate Brooklyn. At times she came off as really stupid, although I think it was just overconfidence and the passion she felt toward avenging Beth. Although HOW it didn't occur to her that Cal was going to drug her Sprite was beyond me. I figured it would happen the moment he asked if he was thirsty. She even KNEW that other girls had been raped because the boys were drugging their drinks... She's also easy to hate because she snuck around with her best friend's boyfriend, continued hooking up with him even after Beth confessed her rape and her worries about the relationship, and was actually caught hooking up with her best friend's boyfriend in said friend's bed. But Brooklyn grew through the book, from a girl naive enough to believe she could handle coercing boys to rape her to one who realizes too late what a sick thing she really got herself tangled in.
There was also something about almost every secondary character that felt a little false to me. I can't quite name it, but Terry, Gretchen, Brooklyn's father, and even minor characters like Melanie and the girl Brooklyn stopped from going on the date at the movies (very big sidenote, but since when is every girl wired to use the bathroom before the see a movie? I know I don't), all lacked some sort of authenticity. They were all likeable enough. They just didn't feel real. Maybe it was in the dialogue.
Without the Ryan storyline, I definitely would've rated this 5 stars. The rape part of this story was just handled so, so well, as graphic and horrifying as it got. This is a hard book to read, and it does contain triggers for rape and abuse victims, and had such an emotional story, in good ways and definitely bad ways. If you're in the mood for a relatively quick, gripping, and eye-opening read, I totally recommend this.