If you didn’t read The Dare by Harley Laroux, get on that, because this duology has been amazing so far and I am loving it!
This book starts in Jess’s POV and shows the circumstances surrounding Manson’s expulsion from high school. We then skip to the day after The Dare takes place (I definitely reread it at this point so I could remember everything lol), and we see Jess get spooked and ghost the boys. We get a final time skip to the present day, which is 3 years after The Dare, and Jess has moved back to Wickeston to live with her parents because her part-time internship doesnt pay enough for her to stay in her apartment. Because Jess grew up in the popular group, she is very concerned with other people’s perceptions and opinions of her. One night, she goes to a bonfire party and talks to her “friends” when the Losers show up (Manson, Jason, Lucas, and Vincent) and a fight ensues. Alex, one of the men who bullied the Losers in high school, get into a fight with Lucas, but before it gets too heated, they decide to fight it out in a drag race. At the race, Jess shows up with her “friends” and sees the girl her ex cheated on her with walking toward the Losers and she gets jealous. In her jealousy, Jess goes to Lucas’s car and gets in the passenger seat, and she ends up riding with Lucas in the race. Lucas wins, and Alex destroys his car by shifting into 3rd gear instead of 5th gear. The Losers leave and Jess stays behind with her “friends.” While Jess is lost in thought, her “friends” decide to get revenge on the Losers and Jess blindly agrees to go with them. They end up going to the Losers Garage, the mechanic shop the Losers own, and they destroy the Losers cars. Jess doesnt actively participate, but she doesnt stop it, and because her “friends” are mad at her, they leave her at the garage when they leave, and she gets found by the Losers. She feels terrible about what happened and decides she is going to take her punishment. This ends up SUPER kinky but its so tame compared to what is to come. She ends up spending the night at their house, and the next morning Manson takes her back to her car. Of course, her car craps out, and they get it back to Losers Garage. Because Jess doesnt have any money and needs a new engine, Jason comes up with the idea to let her pay it off by being their sex toy. Jess agrees, and some CRAZY HOT situations go down. Manson’s dad ends up coming back to town and we learn there is some really bad blood there because Manson and his mom were abused pretty horribly. His dad shows up in a lot of situations, and it makes the Losers feel like Jess isnt safe with them and they need to protect her. We also get quite a bit of information about each character’s backstory and find out that each character has some really tough mental difficulties.
I enjoyed Jess’s character development and how she slowly comes into her own and owns her own thoughts and choices. I also liked that the boys helped to motivate her to think for herself. Not only does Jess grow considerably in this book, but the boys do as well. I think it is most evident in Lucas, because he opens up about his past and his brother. I enjoyed the characters throughout the story, and I am excited to see them grow more in the next part.
I dont think it’s any surprise that I enjoyed the eroticism of this story, and I found it very creative and open. I liked the openness that the Losers have with each other and how strong they are in themselves, and how they empowered Jess to do the same thing for herself. I also think the mental health discussions in this book were different than I normally see in books; usually, I see an emphasis on how to get better and how being with your person makes your mental health better, and as someone with mental health issues, I think thats can be very detracting and almost seems to shift the, for lack of a better word, blame to your partner to maintain your own mental health. However, in this book, it really begins to emphasize, especially at the end, the other ways that your partner(s) can impact your mental health and enable you to take your mental wellbeing into your own hands, and I am excited to see what continues to evolve in the next book. Of course, things that rubbed me the wrong way included the deal of exchanging sex for her car, because that made me kind of grimace and I had to bear it so that I could get through the story, but it felt a little icky to me. I will admit, I have spent the last couple of days trying to figure out if I feel that way because of my own opinions, or the opinions of society around me, but in the interest of being up front about my opinions on these books, I felt the need to include that here.
I am diving into Part 2 now, so wish me luck!
What were your thoughts on Jess and her character development? What do you think is going to happen with Manson’s dad?