Saturday, April 26, 2014

Addicted to You by Krista and Becca Ritchie [Review by Sharon]

Author: Krista and Becca Ritchie
Series: Addicted
Number: 1
Number of pages: 488
Publisher: K.B. Ritchie
Date published: 30 November 2013
Buy on: AmazonAmazon UK
Rating: 5 stars

"She’s addicted to sex. He’s addicted to booze…the only way out is rock bottom.

No one would suspect shy Lily Calloway’s biggest secret. While everyone is dancing at college bars, Lily stays in the bathroom. To get laid. Her compulsion leads her to one-night stands, steamy hookups and events she shamefully regrets. The only person who knows her secret happens to have one of his own.

Loren Hale’s best friend is his bottle of bourbon. Lily comes at a close second. For three years, they’ve pretended to be in a real relationship, hiding their addictions from their families. They’ve mastered the art of concealing flasks and random guys that filter in and out of their apartment.

But as they sink beneath the weight of their addictions, they cling harder to their destructive relationship and wonder if a life together, for real, is better than a lie. Strangers and family begin to infiltrate their guarded lives, and with new challenges, they realize they may not just be addicted to alcohol and sex.

Their real vice may be each other. 

New Adult Romance recommended for readers 18+ for mature content"

My name is Sharon and I'm addicted to books. I'm also addicted to chocolate. 

Out of my two addictions I think the first is the less harmful. But that would be a lie- thinking of all the nights I decided to stay in and read instead of going out with friends (luckily, they never resented me for that), thinking of all the times I read instead of doing things I ought to do because I was just so engrossed in a book- I wasn't studying, I wasn't talking to people, I wasn't sleeping. 

While it's not bad, it is not good either. Hell, my room is full of books. I even once half joked that the perfect man will be the one who will build me a house with a big room for all my books, a place where I could read quietly. And if he buys me books that I wanted, I'd love him forever. 

I am by no means an expert in books. But I am a reviewer, and as a result I think I developed a criticizing mind over the years. I speak my mind. 

So believe me when I say that when I read the blurb of this book all I could think of was 'just another NA book'. I mean, don't most of them talk about two people who lead shitty life while trying to find their place in a cruel-cruel world? Well, they aren't. Most NA books try to be about that, but sometimes despite the author's good intentions they relapse into stupidity

I thought that Addicted to You will be just another one of those, which is why I decided to avoid it at first. I mean, how many times one of my friends complained that the NA genre contain slut shaming?! How many times I made that complaint?! And here we have a book that talks about addiction. SEX addiction. it seemed like a sure recipe for slut shaming, for disaster. 

What made me change my mind?

One of my friends gave this book a high rating. Then this book appeared on NetGalley, I hit the request button and was approved. This means, a copy was provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review. This has not affected my opinion on the book in any way. In the name of full discloser, I have to admit the authors are my friends. But they became my friends only after I became so engrossed with the series. Now, I read this book a few weeks(?) months (?) ago. And it took me so long to review it because I was simply speechless when I finished the book [I immediately continued reading the series]. BTW, you can read my pre-review if you scroll down, just to understand how speechless I was. 

At first I was flooded with so many emotions. Then, I kept reading the series and with each book my ability to speak returned. But in was still incoherent. I think, I hope I am now in the state to review this book, and the rest of the series in the way it deserve.

This is going to be a long review. So be prepared. [if you have no power/will to read it, feel free to PM me and I will send you a short version….or not…the short version is- "Read it because it smart, beautiful, realistic, funny, heartbreaking, thought provoking. Because Lily, Lo, Rose, Connor, Daisy & Ryke are all my friends. Because you don’t want to miss it."] 

First of all, I'd like to talk about the setting of the book- college kids, privileged kids. What I appreciate about the setting is that even though the characters are privileged, their parents practically swim in money, it serves to make their lives easier on the material level. But the problems, the stress, the emotions are all the same, actually their problems are something money can't solve. 

Yes, living is easy when you don't have to pay bills, when you don't have to work and earn money to support yourself. It's easy when you get into college because your daddy is rich.

On the other hand, there are the expectations. The pressure. The need to save face. Money does not guarantee happiness, Sunday morning in the park playing football with dad, Saturday evening sitting around playing cards with the family. It does not guarantee movie nights or happy birthdays. It does not guarantee sweet kisses before bed-time and huge smiles in the morning. 

The story is told from Lily's POV, she's a sex addict, living with her best friend, Lo, who is alcoholic. Their families think they are dating. When we meet them, they are still faking it, but slowly we see how they keep on stretching the line between fake and real, how badly they want to cross that line, how they don’t because crossing it might be a turning point in which they'll have to face their addictions and take responsibility. 

They enable each other, they care about each other, and they worry. But they also know that saying something, anything will be hypocrisy. It is hard thing to watch. 

Slowly, they are spiraling. At first Lily spirals out of control because of her feelings for Lo. Then, they both descend rock bottom so slowly it's terrifying. 

We also meet other characters (that play major roles here and later books). Lily's sisters- Rose and Daisy. And two other friends Connor and Ryke. 

The sex addiction is portrayed very well with Lily's needs, her fantasies, her compulsive behavior without ever showing it as something disgusting, or using it as an excuse for multiple sex scenes. 

I'll be honest; I love Lily & Lo whole heartedly. I loved them in the first book and I love them even four books later. But, they are not likeable. They are selfish, they keep to themselves, and their promises are worth nothing. They are shitty friends, shitty family members. They cheat, they lie- all in order to get what they want, the satisfaction of their addiction. they have built this relationship where they support each other, enable each other. Lily drives so Lo can drink. Lo plays Lily's boyfriend once she finish screwing someone, so the guy would go away. They are weak. Lily is goofy and later on very dependent on Lo. Their relationship is far from healthy. Lo is a selfish asshole that slices into people with words. And still, I love them. I hurt for them. I root for them. I admit that while reading the first book, I thought Lily's & Lo's love is so selfish and wrong that it was hard to understand that they really do love each other. That they need each other like one needs to breath [but I understood that after reading the second and third books]. 

For those of you that wonder, yes, there's slut shamming. But it's one you'll want to see. In the end of the book, Krista and Becca Ritchie mention how they wanted more people to be aware of sex addiction and it's implication. How they wanted people to understand that slut shamming is a bad thing. Lily suffers from slut shamming throughout the series- from herself, from society. 

She feels like she needs to be ashamed of the number of people she slept with, that she needs to be ashamed of her compulsions. Society told her she's disgusting, and her friends tell her that she needs help because she's an addict. The series shows that everyone has a right to sexual freedom, that they can do what they want however and with whomever. that's an important message.

Just a heartbreaking story, that was so beautiful and hopefull. Full of wonderful, deep, round characters. Also, there's great banter and lots of funny moments.

Pre review:

ever had a book break your heart? tear it apart? have you cry so much you hardly see the book and the lines? 

I had a few times, but never like this. I can't explain this level of sadness. 

This book is so realistic, so hunting, such wonderful chatracters each flawed and strong and broken, each different, each so very beautiful. 

The subject is a tough one to deal with, yet, the Ritchie sisters doe it so well. yes, this book is not your average New Adult book, it deals with real problems. I don't think it's right to compare to other books in the genre. For me it stands on it's own. 

I want to say review to come, but truthfully, I'm not sure I'll be able to review much more than what I wrote here. 

Let's just say, I do not do angsty books because so rarely do I feel while reading them. I've been called ice princess and cold hearted more than once by many people. This one has my emotions all over the place, I feel so many things all at the same time I need time to gather myself.

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