Althea & OliverAlthea & Oliver by Cristina Moracho

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book is described as the story of Althea and Oliver, two best friends whose friendship is tested as they grow up and grow apart.  But there is something far darker going on here. Something that should be the focus of this book but somehow isn’t. Since this book didn’t address the elephant in the room, this review will. Warning: spoiler from this point forward.

I didn’t realize this was a book about sexual assault, and apparently the author didn’t realize it either. A character is raped and it’s almost a non-issue. You keep waiting for the story to address this heinous act head-on, but nope, doesn’t happen. It’s marginalized. The victim of the assault is basically told “you wanted it” even when they clearly said no. The victim of this sexual assault is male and the message seems to be it’s not rape because teenage boys -even ones who decline sex with their attractive female bestie- are incapable of being raped. Males want it all the time, even in a state of unconsciousness, even when they are virgins, even when they say NO. Besides, the rapist was hot so what’s the big deal? Seriously?!

There are other major problems with this book, but this is the most troubling. Instead of focusing on the rape, the entire book focuses on how Althea the rapist feels put out when her best friend wants nothing to do with her after she eventually (months later) tell him what she did. The fact that Althea is an entirely selfish, self-centered, manipulative, bullying, spoiled brat didn’t help either.
If Oliver and Althea were supposed to grow as humans during the 366 pages, I didn’t see it. The entire last 1/3 of the book seemed tacked on and unnecessary.
By the end of this book I was praying the whole cast of characters would drown. Sadly I didn’t get my wish.

2 of 5 stars


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