Saturday, November 1, 2014
New Adult Recommendation: Shameless, by Nina Lemay
“You don’t have enormous fake tits,” he says. “I hate enormous fake tits. If you’re gonna do that at least be subtle, a D or a double D. Who do they think they’re attracting anyway?”
I don’t answer. I know if I open my mouth something totally unacceptable will come out.
“But you’d never do something like that to your body,” he says, an affirmation more than a question. I know exactly what he expects me to say, what role he wants me to play: it’s Stripper with a Heart of Gold Monday for him. Usually I have no trouble keeping up. Usually this is the moment when we cross the threshold from one or two dances to the half-hour, the hour, with a big tip at the end.
But I just can’t bring myself to say it. “No,” I finally mutter.
It’s more than enough for him. “Of course you wouldn’t. You’re better than that. You’re going somewhere, you won’t be dancing here till you’re forty-five, right?”
Well, you’re well over that threshold and you’re still coming here, I think, but wisely keep my mouth shut.
I should start off this review by saying that I'm not a big romance reader. It's really hard for me to get invested in a book where most of the plot centers on whether or not two people decide to have a future together. That was why it took me so long to get through this book.
But was it a good book? Absolutely. The two main characters were well-developed, I loved Hannah's honest and occasionally snarky voice, and there were many quotable moments (see above quote). I also appreciated how certain topics--sex work, slut-shaming, power imbalance in a relationship, rape--were carefully explored. It was good to see stripping presented as a valid part-time job, but at the same time, it wasn't glamorized. And I loved how this was ultimately a story of female empowerment.
Also, if you're looking for a New Adult novel that doesn't center on a borderline-abusive relationship, I can recommend Shameless for two reasons a) Emmanuel is actually a very respectful love interest, b) but at the same time, he isn't a paragon of moral virtue or a knight in shining armor. He does occasionally say things that he has no right to say, and he's not above giving Hannah special treatment as a student. So yes, the relationship has flaws, but they aren't brushed under the rug for the sake of wish fulfillment. They are brought into the open and discussed.
Also, the sex scenes felt believable.
If I had to point out a flaw in the story, it would probably be the secondary characters since most of them came out flat.
But overall, I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone looking for a great NA romance.