Noah puts aside his bad boy ways when what he thought was a summer crush has him unexpectedly falling in love. But soon after Gracie transfers to UT Knoxville to be with Noah, their unexpected love becomes riddled with anger, deceit and humiliation.
Jake, Noah’s former roommate and Gracie’s best friend, can no longer be a bystander. Gracie’s world falls out from beneath her and when she breaks she turns to Jake for strength. As Jake talks her through a decision she’s not yet strong enough to make, together they uncover a truth so ugly neither of them is prepared for its fallout. Will Jake pull her to the surface or is Gracie Jordan finally In Too Deep?
*May Contain Spoilers*
For those readers who haven't experienced an emotionally abusive relationship, it may be difficult to understand why or how someone could stay. For the readers who have, it may be more difficult to understand why they can't just walk away. In Too Deep explores the hold abusers have over their victims and Michelle Kemper Brownlow guarantees that any reader will understand the experience.
Gracie likes to think of herself as a "good girl." She enjoys her innocence and the strength she finds in it. When she meets Noah, the ultimate bad boy, she promises herself that she'll stay as far from him as possible. To Noah, this distance is a challenge. One he hasn't faced before and he'll stop at nothing to capture her. He uses his charm, and manipulation, to reel her in and, as soon as she gets comfortable, he flips the switch. Noah continuously degrades Gracie, manipulating her into believing that the problems in their relationship are all her fault. When she threatens to walk away, Noah uses his charm once again to convince her that he loves her and the fear of her leaving makes him act the way he does.
Gracie begins the novel as a young woman, full of life and love. She's sweet-natured, has a good heart, and is open to the world. But the abuse she receives from Noah changes that. She loses her innocence and begins to think of herself as worthless.
Readers will connect with Gracie on multiple levels. Noah is her first love and he becomes her first for a lot of other things, including sex. Readers remember their first love and how inspiring it was. The adrenaline rush of feeling alive and that anything is possible. This universal feeling lays the groundwork for the connection with Gracie.
As Gracie is mentally abused throughout the novel, that bond will either weaken or strengthen depending on the reader. Readers who have trouble understanding why Gracie can't simply walk away will feel distanced from her, while readers who have experienced a similar situation will find themselves comparing their relationship with hers. When Gracie decides that it's time to stand up to Noah and leave him for good, the bond with every reader will strengthen and continue building until the final face-off between Gracie and Noah.
Through the novel, Gracie knows that she must find the strength to leave Noah behind and Brownlow specifically outlines how truly difficult that can be. Written in the first person, Gracie's stream of conscious pulls readers into the story forcing them to feel everything that happens. In Too Deep is a novel that needs to be shared. Emotional abuse is not something to be taken lightly and many don't understand the horror of the situation. Through her book, Brownlow will touch many readers and help them to understand just how to move forward.
Rating: 4.5/5 Cups