Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Arcadia Novels by Jesi Lea Ryan


Most people who experience death don't live to tell about it.

When sixteen year old Arcadia "Cady" Day wakes in a hospital after experiencing what can only be called a psychic episode, she finds her family in tatters. With her twin sister gone, her dad moved out, her mom's spiraling depression and her sister's boyfriend, Cane, barely able to look at her, the only bright spot in her life is Bryan Sullivan, the new guy in school. When Bryan's around, Cady can almost pretend she's a regular girl, living a regular life; when he's not, she's wracked with wild, inexplicable mood swings. As her home life crumbles and her emotional control slips away, Cady begins to suspect that her first psychic episode was just the beginning...

"I didn't think it would be the kind of book that I would be completely enamoured with. I was wrong." ~ Erika (Goodreads)

Think high school sucks? Try being an empath who has to experience everyone else’s suckage on top of your own. (Literally.) 

In the months since her family life imploded and her psychic gifts began to arise, Cady has struggled to figure out how she can fit into her normal life without going crazy from the constant presence of emotional energy. Her grades have tanked. Her best friend is afraid of her. And she begins to have doubts about why her boyfriend, Bryan, is really keeping her around. But a chance meeting with another gifted girl online opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Unfortunately, this new world comes at an awful price. 

"The build of the story is a slow burn, like a fuse curling through an empty storehouse ONLY to find out that the fuse is attached to ten tons of fireworks. Holy Climax, Batman!" ~ Shannon Mayer, author of Priceless

Disturbing trend in New Adult books

I read a ton of YA and NA romance, and I’ve noticed a trend for some time now that bothers me. For a long time, I ignored it and let it go, but it has gotten to a point that I feel I need to speak up. 

Dear teen and adult readers: Jealousy, possessiveness and violence do not equal love.

I like an alpha male as much as anyone, but I find so many authors turn their male leads into brutes. If your hero punches a guy in the nose for having a perfectly innocent conversation with the heroine, he has anger and control issues. That’s not cool. If the girl can’t speak on the phone with the boy who has been her best friend since they were in diapers without lying to the hero about it for fear he will lash out, there is a problem. If the heroine is afraid of the hero’s violent, jealous outbursts, that is abuse.

I’m not talking about the normal every day jealousy within reason. If the girl has given the hero a reason to mistrust her, then I can see him being upset or cautious when he witnesses a situation that looks bad. But if an entire relationship is built around him controlling her that is wrong. 

My concern here is that by romanticizing this bad behavior, authors are sending the wrong message to young women. I won’t say which books I’m talking about, because I’m sure you all have your own examples, but I finished a book this morning where the entire story revolved around the hero and his brothers being psychotically controlling over the girls in the book, including their (not so) little sister. While the guys were acting like bullies, the girls giggled and made excuses about how much the guys love them and want to protect them. 

This is not normal behavior.

When I was in high school, my best friend was a boy. We each dated plenty of other people. Whenever a guy expressed an interest in me, I let him know up front the role that Phillip played in my life. If he had a problem with it, then he was free to move on to someone else. That said, most guys were cool with it and didn’t give me any grief. So if real guys can be reasonable and understanding, why can’t book boyfriends? 

Oh, I know. The jealousy creates a conflict and thus adds to the plot. If this was happening in only a few books, I wouldn’t have an issue with it. If in the end the hero learns his lesson and grows from it, I’d be over-the-moon excited. But lately it seems to be the main plot point in most of the YA and NA romances I read, and it is always the heroine giving in to the hero’s ridiculous rules and demands in the end.

Authors, I’m pleading with you, please be a little more responsible about the messages you are sending. Be careful equating romance with things like possessiveness and control. Would you want your daughter dating a guy who treated her in this way? If not, don’t do it to your heroines. 

Readers, you have a responsibility here too. Vote with your dollars and your reviews. Supporting positive, strong characters is the only way to turn this trend around.

About the author:
Jesi Lea Ryan grew up in the Mississippi River town of Dubuque, IA. She holds bachelor degrees in creative writing and literature and a masters degree in business. 

She considers herself a well-rounded nerd who can spend hours on the internet researching things like British history, anthropology of ancient people, geography of random parts of the world, bad tattoos and the paranormal.

She currently lives in Madison, WI with her husband and two exceptionally naughty kitties. 


Roxi. said...

I like the cover! :)

Anonymous said...

Poate ma insel, dar a doua coperta nu seamana cumva cu o alta carte... Nymphette? In fine, nu asta conteaza. Ce conteaza este ca am o alta carte pe lista, asta, pe care tocmai am adaugat-o. Imi place cand gasesc ceva nou care sa-mi placa, aici, pe blog. Multumim pentru asta! :)
O carte despre paranormal, huh? Sau despre psihic... foarte interesant. Ma intreb care ii este destinul lui Cady. Ce se va intampla cu ea.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog today!