Gliterary Girl

STRIPPED by Jasinda Wilder

OVERALL THOUGHTS: Jasinda isn’t a newbie to the new adult genre and her books are hot, shooting to the top of the bestseller lists with lightening speed. Previously I reviewed Fallen Into You and loved it. Her mix of innocent youth with the hardcore realities of adulthood really struck a chord. And as much as I hoped this novel would shoot me to those same heights, it unfortunately fell a little short. Perhaps my expectations ran a little high, but either way, this book was good and entertaining, but not knock your socks off fantastic.

SYNOPSIS: So how did I get myself into this situation, you ask? Simple: desperation. When you’re faced with being homeless and hungry or taking off your clothes for money, the choice is easier than you’d imagine. That doesn’t make it easy, though. Oh no. I hate it, in fact. There’s nothing I’d like more than to quit and never go into another bar again, never hear the techno beat pulsing in my ears again, never feel the lecherous gazes of horny men again.

Then, one day, I meet a man. He’s in my club, front and center. He watches me do my routine, and his gaze is full of hunger. Not the kind of desire I’m used to though. It’s something different. Something hotter, deeper, and more possessive. I know who he is; of course I do. Everyone knows who Dawson Kellor is. He’s People Magazine’s Sexiest Man alive. He’s the hottest actor in Hollywood. He’s the man hand-picked for the role of Rhett Butler in the long-awaited remake of Gone With the Wind.

He’s the kind of man who can have any woman in the entire world with a mere crook of his finger. So what’s he doing looking at me like he has to have me? And how do I resist him when he looks at me with those intoxicating, changeable, quicksilver eyes?

I’m a virgin, and he’s an American icon of male sexuality. I’m a stripper, and he’s a man used to getting anything and everything he wants. And he wants me. I know I should say no, I know he’s the worst kind of player…but what my mind knows, my body and my heart may not.

And then things get complicated

THE LOWDOWN: I knew from the very first page that my experience with this story was not going to be one of jaw dropping awe. The writing was a little slow to go and I felt the female character was far too childlike to really draw much emotion from me. It was understandable, however, that she be severely naïve since an unbearably strict father (also a man of God) raised her. Yes, her mother was present to soften the hardened emotional blows dealt at the hands of her father, but the relationship seemed a little light. He was rigid and distrusting, but I wanted to feel the pain accompanying this type of overbearing parenting. I needed to feel more and I didn’t. Not because it wasn’t written in a way that would capture that emotion, but because I didn’t/couldn’t connect with the character. Instead of taking the time to harvest holistic relationships, Wilder spent several pages describing dances that, although displayed emotion, were in my opinion, befitting of a visual medium.

Then tragedy strikes forcing the protagonist Grey to make a serious decision about her life and thankfully she chooses the right one. The one that will help her grow and nurture her talents. This change becomes the beginning of the good. A catalyst for the dramatic and something that I could get behind. The next several chapters present a fish out of water story, where a girl who never experienced life finally has to meet the demands of adulthood. I loved seeing her adjust and find herself, but again, it was mildly superficial. Never did I feel the passion for filmmaking that turned this wannabe dancer into an aspiring David Fincher. Nor was there any reference to the difficulties of getting into arguably the number one film school in the country. She simply wants to go to film school and does. Easy.

But as life often shows us, it is not easy and Grey finds herself having to earn her way. She didn’t read the fine print in her school acceptance and grant forms and becomes a stripper to fund her schooling. This job sickens her, which Jasinda mentions every single time we read about her onstage performances. Conversely, she does paint a very realistic picture of having to deal with the seedy life connected to the only job that allows sexual harassment. And it is in this bar, where Grey removes her top and shakes her junk, that she meets the boy of her dreams, Dawson. He is “swoon worthy” (last time I will EVER use that term) and perfect in every way. Rich, beautiful beyond belief, smart, kind and head over heels in love with Grey. The typical new adult heart-throb. Then they fall instantly in passion and that quickly (in fact too fast) turns to mad love.

I liked Dawson, in fact more than I liked Grey, but I didn’t appreciate the speed at which he proclaimed it. It felt rushed and inorganic, but that could be overlooked because once he stepped into the picture the story took off. The pacing changed, the scenery changed and my attention heightened. I liked their dynamic, even though I still didn’t grow as fond of Grey as I might have liked. There was tons of the angst and much of that typical female protagonist denial, but I found them to be enjoyable characters – when they worked.

FINAL THOUGHTS: This is a great end of summer beach read. It isn’t a masterpiece but it does the trick. It follows the new adult formula pretty close, which was a disappointment, but not enough to shy away from a thumbs up review. Skip it? No, check it out because it is, above all else, a fun read.

Many thanks to Jasinda Wilder for allowing me to review this book and to Kim Box Person for putting up with my tardiness. You ladies rock! XXOO