ABOUT THE BOOK:
From master storyteller Amy Hatvany—whose writing has been hailed as “gripping and emotionally honest” (Stephanie Evanovich, New York Times bestselling author)—comes a provocative and compelling novel about two friends whose lives are changed by a drunken kiss.
I want to rewind the clock, take back the night when the world shattered. I want to erase everything that went wrong.
Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have been best friends since they were teenagers—trusting and depending on each other through some of the darkest periods of their young lives. And while Amber has always felt that their relationship is strictly platonic, Tyler has long harbored the secret desire that they might one day become more than friends.
Returning home for the summer after her college graduation, Amber begins spending more time with Tyler than she has in years. Despite the fact that Amber is engaged to her college sweetheart, a flirtation begins to grow between them. One night, fueled by alcohol and concerns about whether she’s getting married too young, Amber kisses Tyler.
What happens next will change them forever.
In alternating points of view, It Happens All the Time examines the complexity of sexual dynamics between men and women and offers an incisive exploration of gender roles, expectations, and the ever-timely issue of consent.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Amy Hatvany is the author of Best Kept Secret, Outside the Lines, The Language of Sisters, Heart Like Mine, and Safe with Me. She lives in Seattle, Washington, with her family.
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*This was an ARC provided to me for free in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and comments are my own.*
Without sharing too much of the content, I will give a trigger warning that it deeply explores the process of consent and rape culture. The author does provide a very solid and meaningful warning at the beginning of the book, but I felt it necessary to provide another.
Wow. Talk about intense. This weighed on my heart, but I respect Amy Hatvany’s initiative for writing a book about such a sensitive topic, but also in such a unique way. It is powerful. I have a vested interest in this topic as my background is in crisis and trauma counseling and I work with college students who have had similar experiences. Believe it or not understanding consent is one of the most difficult things to convey to college students. While everyone knows the word, a true understanding without casting doubt, self-blame or understanding drug facilitated assault and what that means for consent is incredibly relevant – not only to college aged individuals, but for anyone who has had an experience invalidated by another or questioned. Obviously with fiction there are elements that are inaccurate or biased. This book not only paints a very real picture of ones experience and the complexity of opposing viewpoints, but it also acknowledges several facets of the societal norms and constraints that box in or compartmentalize individuals experiences. Gender roles and expectations play an integral role in the content of this book, but there are so many layers to what Hatvany is trying to convey.
While I applaud Amy Hatvany for her understanding and portrayal of a very difficult topic, there were moments where I felt individuals in the characters lives violated that sense of consent and empowerment. So I’m extremely torn on my thoughts about the language used at times. Keeping in mind that anyone who has a support system in place would likely have individuals in their lives that want them to tell. For me, there were situations in the book that produced feelings of anger as I felt the language used at times was a bit less supportive and more coercive. I did remind myself that this is a work of fiction and that in real life, family and friends often feel helpless and want to support, without always knowing how. The author did a great job creating those dynamics while allowing the main characters the space to grow and their own stories to develop. I believe it is crucial for someone who has been through a trauma to reclaim power and autonomy. Their decisions should be their own and not influenced by the thoughts or views of others. You will experience that in this book, there is a sort of reclaiming and redemption aspect that make this a significant yet heartbreaking experience for the reader.
This is a heavy read, I cried at several points, but I will say the depth of these experiences is well worth exploring. It Happens All the Time is a book that is truly necessary as it accurately captures thoughts, feelings and behaviors of individuals who have experienced trauma. It may be triggering for some, but cathartic for others. I would highly suggest knowing your limit before reading, but perhaps leaning into your discomfort to understand a view you may have never considered. It may also make you connect to thoughts, feelings or views you’ve experienced or shared. While I can’t say the author intended to have the reader sympathize with individuals in the book, what she did was humanize them and that to me was incredibly powerful despite my very strong beliefs about consent and victim blaming. I was affected and I know any reader who picks this book up will have a strong reaction to the content. I appreciate the way she built the foundation of the relationships of everyone involved and how anyone can relate to having individuals like this in their lives without ever knowing they might be the victim or even worse a perpetrator. This is a book I’d recommend to all readers, not just women!
IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME by Amy Hatvany
Atria Books Hardcover | ISBN: 9781476704456 | On sale: March 28, 2017 | 320 pages | $26.00
Atria Books eBook | ISBN: 9781476704463 | On sale: March 28, 2017 | 320 pages | $11.99
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Resources for Survivors or Loved Ones
RAINN Online Hotline – Free & Confidential – Available 24 hours/7 days a week
National Sexual Assault Hotline – Call 1-800-656-4673 – Available 24 hours/7 days a week
1 in 6 (Support for Men who have experienced sexual abuse)
Darkness to Light (Service for Child Sexual Abuse)