It Happens All the Time
Published March 28, Atria Books
Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have been life long friends. They have been there for each other during some of the darkest periods in their life. Even their mothers are best friends But like usual, Tyler wants to more than Amber’s best friend, and Amber is either oblivious or pay no heeds to it. In her eyes Tyler will always be like an older brother.
When Amber returns home from college to her family and friends, she is engaged and prepared to move away with her future husband to San Francisco next fall. One night, she accompanies Tyler to a party where the two of them become intoxicated and one drunken kiss explodes into something unexpected and sinister. Neither Amber and Tyler’s lives will never be the same, nor will their friendship. Through Amber’s eyes, Tyler raped her (which he did). Through Tyler’s eyes, it was consensual. Now the difficulty of this novel begins …
Hatvany tells the story from the perspective of Amber and Tyler, which gives readers the chance to see why Tyler thought their actions were consensual.
Don’t get me wrong — I’m not standing up for the guy or anything — I am just saying that through Tyler’s POV, the novel is given more depth. It is rare in stories, when we the readers see through the eyes of not only the victim but also the attacker. Through Tyler’s eyes, an all around good guy with family issues, he doesn’t understand what happened. She kissed him first … but that night was a drunken blur. Didn’t she want it, too, or did he truly do something unforgivable to Amber?
This is definitely an important novel that makes its readers think and ask questions. This is the type of book that high school, and even middle school students should be required to read in class because of the topic. Yes, it can be unsettling, but these conversations must be discussed, whether it’s in a classroom, or with parents talking to their children. There has been much controversy and victim blaming that needs to be put to a stop. The topic of sexual consent is so critical and must be discussed.
But please take caution when reading this book and be prepared for uncomfortable parts. But don’t worry too much — Hatvany keeps the more graphic scenes to a minimum. This book was hard to read and even harder to write a review about.
Red Deer’s Kirsten Lowe is studying at Athabasca University.