Author: Jolene Perry
Publisher: Tribute Books
Shawn is the guy Ronnie Bird promised her life to at the age of fourteen. He's her soul mate. He's more uptight every day, but it's not his fault. His family life is stressful, and she's adding to it. She just needs to be more understanding, and he'll start to be the boy she fell in love with. She won’t give up on someone she’s loved for so long.
Luke is her best friend, and the guy she hangs with to watch girlie movies in her large blanketopias. He's the guy she can confide in before she even goes to her girlfriends, and the guy who she's playing opposite in Romeo and Juliet. Now her chest flutters every time he gets too close. This is new. Is Ronnie falling for him? Or is Juliet? The lines are getting blurry, but leaving one guy for another is not something that a girl like Ronnie does.
Shawn’s outbursts are starting to give her bruises, and Luke’s heart breaks as Ronnie remains torn. While her thoughts and feelings swirl around the lines between friendship and forever, she’s about to lose them both.
This was a strange read for me. Stories of abuse are not something I am usually drawn to, or particularly comfortable with reading, but Knee Deep was something accessible and even quite enjoyable. Although a fair bit of frustration was ignited whilst reading this, I really appreciated the book overall.
To put it simply, this is the story of a girl torn between staying with her abusive boyfriend or leaving him for good. Because of the situation, I had a difficult time with Ronnie and the decisions she made. Once the bruises started appearing on her body, I couldn’t help but want to scream at her for being so adamant in staying with Shawn. She was very quick to turn the situation around and lay the blame on herself. Each time she did so, each time she felt guilty for not being perfect for Shawn, I just wished she would see the obvious. Of course, there wouldn’t have been a story if Ronnie had turned her back on Shawn from the first incident. There wouldn’t have been much point to this book, in fact. As frustrating as it might have been to watch Ronnie dig herself in deeper, it had to happen. Jolene Perry handled it beautifully, making sure I was fully and completely invested in the story.
A part of me could understand why Ronnie was so reluctant to believe Shawn, the boy she had been in love with for years, would ever hurt her. There were brief moments when he was very sweet, so sweet in fact that I hoped he would get help before the end of the book. I wanted to see him improve. I even felt sympathy for him – and then felt very uncomfortable for having felt sympathetic in any way. His situation at home, although inexcusable for his actions, was a heart-breaking one and I was furious at his father more than anything. In the end though, any possible positivity I could have felt for him had vanished.
On the other end of the spectrum we have Luke, Ronnie’s closest friend and movie-watching buddy. Playing opposite him in a school production of ‘Romeo & Juliet’ makes Ronnie suddenly very aware of her feelings for him. He is of course the person Ronnie should be leaving Shawn for but she cannot even bring herself to think about it. With his geeky t-shirts – including ones featuring Scooby Doo and the Powderpuff Girls – and his easy personality and caring nature, he is the perfect love interest to fall for. The scenes between himself and Ronnie were a treat to read.
The way the book wrapped up was as brilliant as it could get for such a sensitive story. I was thoroughly pleased with Knee Deep overall and almost wish I could read more. It’s not perfect, and the characters most definitely are not either, but I was completely engaged regardless.
Rating: 4 stars