This blog goes out to all the reviewers out there.
Authors constantly ask for reviews because we want people to hear how you feel about a book in order to, hopefully, drive more people to pick up a copy. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if all reviewers understand the weight of the words they type and put out in very visible places like Amazon and Goodreads.
Recently, a review caught my attention, and I just can’t stop feeling upset about it. I rarely get upset about negative reviews; I usually move on from them because they happen with every book. You can’t please everyone, and as an author, you understand that this is part of the business of publishing books. This one made me upset, though, because the title of the review was “Glorifies Statutory Rape,” and it was about The Misperception.
If you’ve read The Misperception, you know that the book is about Paisley and Trinity who went to high school together and reconnect about ten years later. They have a bit of a past, and at one point in the story, Paisley is explaining some parts of her high school experience. She mentions to Trinity that as a junior in high school, she had a relationship with a college student. Paisley would have been 17 at the time of this relationship, and just to be safe, I looked up the age of consent. In the US (which is where the book takes place) that varies by state. And I do not name a location for The Holiday Series – it’s a made up place in my mind – but using this government resource, I found, “In the majority of states (34), it is 16 years of age. In the remaining states, the age of consent is either 17 or 18 years old (6 and 11 states, respectively).” I followed the legal definition of the majority of the states, even though it’s such a small mention in the book. Others may disagree with the legal definition, and that’s fine. Or, they may think that no seventeen-year-old should date a twenty-one-year-old. That’s also fine. But to say that I glorified statutory rape because two people, catching up, spoke positively about a relationship that helped Paisley figure out who she was, is a difficult pill for me to swallow.
In the world of the book, Paisley was of legal age, which is important here, but also, this review makes it seem as if I glorify something I would never glorify; rape of ANY kind. This was, in fact, more of a passing comment between the two characters; there is no flashback scene or depiction of Paisley with her college-student girlfriend. I am heartbroken that this review has been posted because I have never and would never glorify rape of any kind, as mentioned above. And while I am certain this review will turn readers away, I am more concerned because this hits me in my heart. I am hurt by this. This may have seemed like something the reviewer felt they needed to mention, but it’s not the reality of the book I wrote, and I am saddened that someone (and now, possibly, multiple people) will think that I, as a person, have written a book that glorifies rape.
Excerpt from The Misperception:
“I had a crush on a girl,” Paisley said. “No, it wasn’t a crush; I really liked her. She worked at the ski resort.”
Trinity looked surprised as she continued to suck on the straw that came with her giant frozen drink.
“So, that’s what I was going through,” Paisley added. “I was in love with a girl while I was dating a boy.”
“In love?” Trinity asked.
“Straight up in love. First love kind of thing. She ran the ski lifts some days, and I always tried to ski on the days she worked.”
“Paisley Jane Hill is gay?” Trinity said.
“No, I’m bi,” Paisley replied. “Still confusing as hell when you like a girl for the first time. I wondered if I was gay. When she and I…”
Trinity’s cheeks were now flushed either from the alcohol or from the topic of conversation.
“When you what?” she asked, teasing Paisley now.
“For the first time…” Paisley did not elaborate. “I knew I definitely liked girls.”
“But guys, too?”
“Yeah. Obviously, the junior-year boyfriend and I ended, but I know I’m attracted to guys as well. I had a boyfriend for many years in college. That was mainly because of my parents, though. He was someone they thought I should marry, but we were both with other people during the relationship since we knew it wasn’t going to last.”
“Wait. What about the girl from the ski resort?” Trinity asked.
“Oh,” Paisley said. “She graduated college and went back home.” She shrugged.
The bartender, who was still behind the bar, looked over upon hearing Trinity’s outburst.
“You hooked up with a college senior when you were a high school junior?”
“Yes.” Paisley finished her wine.
“You really did have it all, didn’t you?” Trinity laughed.
“Another wine?” Trinity asked.
“No, I’m stealing some of this margarita.” She reached for Trinity’s straw, taking it out of her hand, and moved it to her side of the giant glass, taking a long drink.
Trinity just watched her.