The Temptation of Lila and Ethan by Jessica Sorensen
Series: The Secret (#3) - all can be read as standalones
Publisher: Sphere / Hachette Australia
Release Date: May 13 2014 (Already released in US on October 22 2013)
Tagged Under: 2014 read, contemporary, new adult, romance, review copy, 3.5
He's everything she never expected
Ella's best friend Lila has always been a good girl who likes pretty clothes and preppy boys. But ever since the first day she met Micha's best friend Ethan, she hasn't been able to stop thinking about him.
Girls have always flocked to Ethan - but never princesses like Lila. And until Lila came into his life he never wanted them to. From the outside the two couldn't seem more different, but somehow they have a connection deeper and more intense than anyone could have imagined.
Can two people from such dramatically different worlds really have a love that lasts?
Book Review [Spoiler-Free]
The Temptation of Lila and Ethan started off the expected route. Girl from a privileged yet unloved background. Boy from the other side of the town with no real plan in life. Yet somehow, their worlds collide and they realize they have discovered something in each other that they have never expected.
But then Jessica Sorensen took the reader on a journey that was unexpected but magical just the same.
Beauty. Vanity. Perfection. Three words my mother adores. They mean more to her than her husband, her daughters, and life. Without these attributes, she thinks she'd be better off dead.
Lila appears like the perfect spoilt princess on the outside: designer clothes and accessories, perfect complexion with platinum blonde hair. Underneath it all, however, she is hiding some terrible scars. She is under constant pressure from her parents to pick up her game and walk down a path that they deem suitable. With no support from them, and her best friend out of town to pursue her own happiness, Lila is slowly spiraling out of control with her previously hidden habits.
I feel stuck. Trapped in the same place, unable to move. In a life I'm not sure I want, yet I can't seem to figure out how to change it.
Ethan, on the other hand, has his own demons to deal with. Having uprooted himself from his previous life in order to escape the hurt and regret, he still faces reminders from his past. He never thought he would consider a serious relationship - let alone one with someone like Lila. They were friends - some might even consider them best friends - why change the dynamics?
This is very much an emotionally driven story about two broken people from different walks of life meeting and finding solace in each other. Jessica Sorensen delivers very well-developed characters, each with more than their fair share of baggage. As the events slowly unfold and the characters reveal their story piece by piece, you as the reader do become engrossed in their lives and perhaps understand a bit better how they turned out the way they did.
A big theme in this book is about letting go of the burden of the past in order to grab onto the opportunities of the future. And it is clear how these characters' past have shaped their present and why it might be difficult for them to let go. While some readers may roll their eyes and find Lila's problems all first-world, I really did relate with her character and appreciate how psychological neglect and abuse have affected the decisions she made. Yes, some of them are pretty stupid bordering on unrealistic, yet we see or hear on the news people like her in real life all the time.
Ethan, as well, is such a sweet well thought-out character and I know more than a few hearts will melt as the story progresses. And trust me, there are plenty of romantic scenes to keep readers happy and their hearts aflutter. Warning though, there are some pretty explicit scenes in here that may not be suitable for younger YA-readers.
Also there are certain adult themes in this story that may upset or bother some readers if they are not forewarned. I felt that is the real letdown of this entire story is that although the issue of sexual assault and rape is repeatedly mentioned in the book, it is never dealt with in the appropriate manner. Maybe Sorensen is trying to raise awareness by showing how poor the general public's perception of this issue is. But nevertheless, this may strike a nerve with some readers.
It is a very enjoyable read and I really did relate to the characters. And I really did enjoy Sorensen's style of writing. I think the reason I'm not bumping this story any higher is because while enjoyable, nothing particularly stood out to me to make this an extremely memorable book. I enjoyed it, I'll probably go on and complete the Secret series and I'll recommend it to friends looking for contemporary new adult romance. But it didn't have that wow factor to make it a solid read or make it onto my favourites shelf.
Disclaimer: A complimentary copy of the ebook was provided to me by the author and publisher in exchange of an honest review. The views expressed above are entirely my own and are in, no way, affected by the source of this book.