Original publish date: 6 July 2014
Body image issues and eating disorders are all too prevalent in our society. It doesn’t matter what gender you identify with or what body type you have, it’s all too likely that you have, at some point, been self-conscious about your body. T.L. Gray’s Shattered Rose addresses the body self-consciousness issue during one of the arguably best times of your life: college.
Avery moves into a new apartment on campus for school. When she meets her roommate for the first time, they couldn’t be more opposite. Avery is a studious, quite type while Issy is a socialite partier. But the girls complement each other well–Issy gets Avery out of her shell and Avery helps to ground Issy. Issy’s cousin, Jake, spends quite a lot of time at the apartment and he and Avery had a “meet-cute” moment when Avery is rocking out in her pjs and Jake watches from the doorway unnoticed. Instant chemistry with Jake and despite Issy’s warnings that she shouldn’t get attached, Avery falls for him. Hard.
Enter being fundamentally changed for someone else. Blech. But it happens, and more often than I would like to admit, so I can let that pass. But then their “relationship” tanks, miserably, and in a moment of hitting rock bottom, Avery meets Parker and learns that he’s a sweet, caring person. Cue love triangle and my muttering “UGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH.” I was rather annoyed by the way that Avery acted in relation to Jake and Parker and the love triangle aspect to the story. Yes, guys can be horrible and animalistic like Jake and, yes, they can be super sweet and caring like Parker but COME ON. It was a bit over the top and while my more sentimental and girly side enjoyed the different qualities of the guys, I wanted to smack some sense into Avery at how she was behaving. For someone who wants control over something in her life, this is one where you ought to put your foot down.
And then to suddenly find God. And I do mean suddenly. Like in a matter of hours. Nope. Not signing on for that–and not because of my own disbelief in the matter but because of how it was handled. More likely than not it would come in very gradual stages of acceptance along with some incredulous disbelief, not whole-hog and unwavering faith after a day of soul-searching. Yes, it’s entirely possible for a religious awakening or epiphany to happen and happen quickly, but despite the quotations sprinkled before each chapter and its introduction through Parker’s character, Avery’s understanding and trust in it was, in my opinion, utterly unbelievable. I recall putting the book down and literally saying, “What? Really?!? Just like that?”
The book was a good read and it does cover quite a few heavy issues with dysfunctional relationships, with yourself and others, and it provides a rather good look into the concerns of a college co-ed, but the convenient wrap-up ending completely skewed my view of the book as a whole. To put it bluntly, if I ever found a Parker and did what Avery did to him, I wouldn’t trust his reaction at the end of the story–it was highly unrealistic to me.
Overall, I’d give it a 3 out of 5 stars.