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Going Under by S. Walden

Brooke Wright has only two goals her senior year at Charity Run High School: stay out of trouble and learn to forgive herself for the past. Forgiveness proves elusive, and trouble finds her anyway when she discovers a secret club at school connected to the death of her best friend. She learns that swim team members participate in a “Fantasy Slut League,” scoring points for their sexual acts with unsuspecting girls.

Brooke, wracked with guilt over her friend’s death, decides to infiltrate the league by becoming one of the “unsuspecting girls,” and exact revenge on the boys who stole away her best friend. An unexpected romance complicates her plans, and her dogged pursuit of justice turns her reckless as she underestimates just how far the boys will go to keep their sex club a secret.

(This is a New Adult fiction book with mature themes. It contains graphic sex and language and a description of sexual violence.)

4.5 Stars

It’s the lesson you, as the reader, decide to learn; not the one I’m shoving down your throat. ~ S. Walden 

This author has some major cojones; like huge, massive ones. Ms. Walden has some serious writing skills to tell a story such as this. This book is difficult to digest. I’m still trying to process everything. On the surface, this story is about a girl’s struggle to find forgiveness. Sounds simple, right? Not even close. There’s so much more going on underneath the surface, I don’t even know where to begin. I’m going to be blunt: This is not for everyone. If you are sensitive to stories involving rape, do not read this book. Parts of this book are disturbing and a little frightening. However, at the end of the day, the story did end happily; or at least as happy as one can be under the circumstances. 

Fuck the world. Do what you feel is right. 

Brooklyn, a.k.a. Brooke, is not an easy heroine to like. As a matter of fact, I kinda felt disgusted with her, especially at the beginning. The way she betrayed her best friend, Beth, seemed unforgivable. Beth was a victim, both of rape and of Brooke’s betrayal. She was beyond depressed. When Beth takes her own life, Brooke’s life was shattered even more. She felt responsible. 

When she moves back in with her father, she ends up at the same high school as Beth. Moving to another H.S. in her Senior year was difficult enough, but unfortunately, she also comes face-to-face with Beth’s rapist, Cal. Immediately after their initial meeting, she finds her purpose: To make Cal pay for what he did to Beth. The more she dives head first into her role as avenger, she discovers more about Cal and his swim friends. They have this secret club called the “Fantasy Slut League.” Disgusting is what it is. This league of disturbing boys make a game of performing sexual acts with unsuspecting girls for points. It’s just so sick to think about it. What she doesn’t expect was to meet Ryan, a boy she first meets at Beth’s funeral. Instant attraction.

Instant. Physical. Chemical. Primal. 

Ryan is wonderful. He’s sexy, smart and has an inner geek that just melts my heart. I LOVE RYAN. However, no matter how perfect he must be, Ryan is hiding something. For someone as perfect as him, why is he considered an outsider, a loner? Though she questions it, she never really dives into finding out why. It's not until towards the end do we find out his secret.

I thought my entire world shifted. My entire purpose. I no longer cared about revenge and guilt and victims. I cared about being with a boy who was nice to me, who treated me like I was the most important person in his life. 

Ryan is everything Brooke wants, but feels like she doesn’t deserve. Since Beth’s death, Brooke doesn’t feel like she deserves happiness. For this reason, I felt very torn with Brooke’s character. Her martyr tendencies became annoying. Believe it or not, but I do want Brooke happy. Even after what she did to Beth, I felt that she did deserve it. The things Brooke does in this story will frustrate the hell out of you. She constantly puts herself in danger trying to do the greater good. However, when Cal and his friends start to put two and two together, the level of danger she’s in goes to a whole new level of fucked up. 

Throughout the entire ordeal he was silently telling me one thing: “Don’t fuck with me. Don’t fuck with my friends.” 

OMG. I don’t want to get into it, but there’s a scene in this story that I had to skim through because it was too disturbing. I couldn’t believe what was happening. My heart was racing and I was severely disturbed. I just couldn’t deal with it. Like I said in the beginning, this author has cojones. The way she wrote this story was crazy. She really knows how to tell a story and wasn’t afraid to make the reader feel. I can’t outright say that I enjoyed this story; it’s hard to enjoy such a dark ride, but I admit I was immersed in it. For that alone, it deserves the praise. 

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