Watch Over Me

img_20200124_183250973_burst000_cover_topimg_20200124_183303142Zoey is the managing “adult” living in a household which has been defined by domestic violence. At the age of 15 she testified against her abusive cop father in court, and he was sent to jail. Now she is 18 and–surprise!–her dad is released after only three years. He now is stalking the family–especially her–to get even. In the intervening three years Zoey has had to manage family affairs because her mom spaced out. Working a low-wage job, Zoey has done this uncomplainingly but has had to forego plans for an independent life of her own. One night her car is set on fire outside the family’s mobile home. The fire then spreads to part of the home itself. The family flees from Las Vegas to California with the aid of older (soldier-) brother Will and his friend Tristan, who come to their rescue.  Even in California, however, jailbird dad (let’s just call him JB from now on) manages to locate them.  Seems he has been contacting the youngest child through messaging on the kid’s X-box game, filling the kid’s head with lies and pleas to get the family together.  It’s just a wonderful story, and you can guess how it plays out.

Brother Will ships off overseas on a military assignment, leaving his friend Tristan to look after the family.  Tristan and Zoey fall powerfully in lust–oh! I mean love–and the book reads like an R-rated Hallmark movie from that point on. There is a lot of suspense and sex–oh! I mean romance–including same-sex relationships, and the plot plays out pretty much as you would guess.  Never you mind though; in the end all is well.

Coarse language–including religious profanity–abounds in this book.  Multiple sex scenes and incidents of violence are described explicitly. This is the kind of book which, if it were found on a school library shelf, students would gleefully pass around to each other for the titillating writing. Also, while the heroine is eighteen years old, the book reads like an adult story, not a YA novel.

Take a pass on this one.

Categories: Controversial YA Topics, Diversity, Dysfunctional Relationships, LGBTQIA, Offensive Language in YA Literature, Parent Conflict, Peer Relationships, Social Media, Violence

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