Deeper (Caroline & West #1) by Robin York

I’m falling in love with a boy who sells drugs, who punches when he’s angry, who knows my body better than I do.

I’m already in love with him.

You may or may not know that Robin York is Ruthie Knox’s New Adult alter ego. Which insta-puts her in my must read shelf. When Robin announced her New Adult escapades, I immediately added Deeper to my TBR shelf and constantly checked for the early review copies. *waves hand with kindle* I got it!!!

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Blurb

In this New Adult debut by Robin York, a college student is attacked online and must restore her name—and stay clear of a guy who’s wrong for her, but feels so right.
 
When Caroline Piasecki’s ex-boyfriend posts their sex pictures on the Internet, it destroys her reputation as a nice college girl. Suddenly her once-promising future doesn’t look so bright. Caroline tries to make the pictures disappear, hoping time will bury her shame. Then a guy she barely knows rises to her defense and punches her ex to the ground.
 
West Leavitt is the last person Caroline needs in her life. Everyone knows he’s shady. Still, Caroline is drawn to his confidence and swagger—even after promising her dad she’ll keep her distance. On late, sleepless nights, Caroline starts wandering into the bakery where West works.
 
They hang out, they talk, they listen. Though Caroline and West tell each other they’re “just friends,” their feelings intensify until it becomes impossible to pretend. The more complicated her relationship with West gets, the harder Caroline has to struggle to discover what she wants for herself—and the easier it becomes to find the courage she needs to fight back against the people who would judge her.
 
When all seems lost, sometimes the only place to go is deeper.

Advance praise for Deeper
 
“The perfect new adult story . . . West will make you swoon!”—New York Times bestselling author Monica Murphy
 
“Beautifully written and full of swoony tender moments, toe-curling chemistry, and delicious, twisty angst . . . Stop whatever you’re doing and read this book.”—Christina Lauren, author of the Beautiful Bastard series 

Caroline Piasecki and West Leavitt meet the first day she moves in to her college dorms. The impressions they leave each other with are… conflicting yet lasting in their minds.

When Caroline wakes up one day and finds compromising pictures of herself online, she immediately knows her ex-boyfriend the guy she has loved for years had betrayed her in the most heinous way possible.

Caroline’s life as she planned them, are over. No scholarship for law school, no public office of any kind, her reputation is tarnished. Once those pictures went viral, seemingly overnight, all her dreams were squashed.

West is a lot of things. He is contradiction personified. He’s cold and rash, flippant and distant, and he cares for no one. That’s why all Caroline sees in him is a man-whore drug dealer. But this West is just a ruse. A ruse created to keep from getting attached to people. His carefully presented persona is jeopardized, though, when he overhears Caroline’s ex talk about her and gets his first founded suspicion that Nathan, the ex, is behind it. Fists start flying.

He did it for me, and this is how he looked afterward. Dilated everywhere, his skin warm and his breathing rapid and shallow.

This is how he would look in bed.

Caroline’s attempt to question West about the fight fails when he gives half answers and his actions contradict them. 

Things get even more complicated for both, when they decide to be amicably not-friends. With their vastly different upbringing and individual character – what’s the point? Later on when she ends up at his nightly workplace, a bakery, after another nightmare filled night, they develop a routine of homework, talking and listening to music, getting to know each other better, albeit mostly one sided.

Caroline, while determined and knows what she wants from life, is broken by the pictures. There isn’t much she can do about them, and the voices in her head fuel her self hatred. After all, she didn’t object when Nate took the pictures. This is all tampering with her very true feelings for West. She questions her self, judging herself constantly. How can she be free to feel lust for someone when lust brought her only shame before.

Only her very limited number of close friends are there for her, mainly morally. But she doesn’t lean on them the way she should. They are a crutch in a way.

In a way, Caroline’s arc develops and changes as the flow of the plot progresses. From a broken and demure 19 year old victim she gradually realizes that her only mistake was to trust Nate. She is not to blame for the pictures showing up online. She is not to blame for Nate’s vindictive character or his reasoning for the act. She learns through her nights at the bakery with West that she, as an individual, as a woman, has worth and her worth deserves a chance. She starts feeling safe around a boy. She can trust West to not betray her so brutally. By the end of the book Caroline has a plan, and a support system, not just a crutch.

West… he’s a whole different story. His troubles run deep. Everything he does, the outwardly West – he exists for ultimate goal: succeed through college so he can take better care of his mother and younger sister.

I knew the rules. I knew where they bent, and I was good at bending them, because for a guy like me, bending them was the only way.

While Caroline made me feel sympathetic at the beginning and by the end of the book – admiring (I was so proud of her!!), West’s history that is slowly revealed throughout the story only makes him more lovable and honorable in my eyes. Yes, he is going about it all wrong, from how he got into college through the way he’s living his life once an enrolled student, but his sacrifices make him all the more appealing and endearing. 

West sees the change in Caroline since the pictures surfaced and while ignoring his attraction and deep feelings for her, he is determined to help her stop hide, stop being a victim, bring back her trust in people, in men. And in that journey, he realizes she is as important to him as his other life back home and he will do the right thing for both his worlds.

I’m mad the world sucks so much, that this should have happened to her, that she should feel so bad about it.

I’m mad that sex can’t just be sex, it has to be everything else, too – money and power and misery and pleasure all mixed together. Because I want her, I’m mad at her, and it’s fucking stupid.

Nate…. my favorite new character to hate with a passion of a trillion burning suns. It baffles me how and why someone would do that and not even realize how, apart from humiliation, it will affect the victim. My somewhat hate-fueled opinion puts him in a sociopathic tendencies box.

The development of their relationship from non-friendship to full out romance is slow burn and gradual. It is well defined and seeped into my heart until I couldn’t not be invested in them. They became real.

I fell in love with West and Caroline individually, during the first half of the story. I fell in love with them together (possibly after unknowingly cheering them on even before that) during the second half. They’re real, they’re deep, they’re beautifully crafted and carefully slated into the plot.

York writes this series with an agenda. Yes, she wants us to enjoy her words, unlikely for it not happening, but there’s an underlying very serious issue here, too. My naive self was aware of its existence, but not to the epidemically outrageous levels of this problem.

So if you’re looking for a spectacularly NA angst and friendship turned romance, with a fantastic plot, beautiful and deep characters, and are willing to invest yourself emotionally in a genuinely real story, get Deeper, fall in love with West and Caroline, read about Revenge Porn and the ridiculousness of what’s not being done at the end of Deeper. Get outraged and raise your voice.

It’s been a few weeks from the time I read Deeper and writing this review, and it has resurfaced everything I felt reading the book. While Deeper ended rather open-endedly, it’s not the end of Caroline and West’s story. This of course, doesn’t mean I don’t want to pounce Robin York and demand the rest of their tale.

Robin York and Deeper get 5 from me. For the characters, the plot, the message, the beautiful words and all the feelings the story left me with.

I’d like to thank Bantam and NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

PS – any quotes in this review are subject to change in the published book.

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Publishing date: January 28th, 2014

Robin York grew up at a college, went to college, signed on for some more college, and then married a university professor. She still isn’t sure why it didn’t occur to her to write New Adult sooner. Writing as Ruthie Knox, she is a USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary romance, including RITA-finalists About Last Night andRoom at the Inn. She moonlights as a mother, makes killer salted caramels, and sorts out thorny plot problems while running, hiking, or riding her bike.

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