Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genre: New Adult romance, Contemporary romance
Series: Caroline and West #1
Length: 400 pages
Date Released: January 28, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository
When Caroline Piasecki’s ex-boyfriend posts their sex pictures on the Internet, it destroys her reputation as a nice college girl. Suddenly her once-promising future doesn’t look so bright. Caroline tries to make the pictures disappear, hoping time will bury her shame. Then a guy she barely knows rises to her defense and punches her ex to the ground.
West Leavitt is the last person Caroline needs in her life. Everyone knows he’s shady. Still, Caroline is drawn to his confidence and swagger—even after promising her dad she’ll keep her distance. On late, sleepless nights, Caroline starts wandering into the bakery where West works.
They hang out, they talk, they listen. Though Caroline and West tell each other they’re “just friends,” their feelings intensify until it becomes impossible to pretend. The more complicated her relationship with West gets, the harder Caroline has to struggle to discover what she wants for herself—and the easier it becomes to find the courage she needs to fight back against the people who would judge her.
When all seems lost, sometimes the only place to go is deeper.
Deeper wraps a heart stoppingly beautiful love story around a life-shattering problem, and shows the strength of spirit of a young woman who grows up stronger for her broken places.
But the problem that begins the story nearly breaks Caroline’s soul and spirit, and is unfortunately all too real in the 21st century combination of constant connectivity, cyberbullying and sexting, mixed with the age-old issues of sexual harrassment and sexual abuse, usually by males over females.
The resultant nasty cocktail is revenge porn, where someone takes what society considers “dirty” pictures of a young woman and bombs them all over the internet without her consent. Because the woman is a legal adult, even though she is photographed without her consent, posting the pictures online is legal. Anything that happens to her afterwards is considered her problem.
And that’s what happens to Caroline Piasecki. Her ex-boyfriend snapped a picture of her giving him a blowjob with his cellphone. When they broke up, he posted the picture everywhere he could think of. Then, of course, he denied having posted it. As if it could have been anyone else.
The damage was done. The scumbag didn’t just post the picture, he posted her name and the name of the college they attended. He wanted to make sure that he trashed her reputation. That everyone who saw her on campus, that anyone who ever Googled her name, saw that picture first.
It was one hell of a spiteful revenge for breaking up with him. Especially since Caroline was planning to go to law school, and that picture is not going to make getting recommendations for internships at law firms any easier.
Caroline is someone who has always had a perfectly orderly life, and now everything is completely out of order. Her plans are ruined. She has tried so very hard to be good. To be careful.
Her universe is shattered. The whispers follow her everywhere. And she can’t help but start to feel them reach inside of her.
It takes Caroline a long time, and a lot of help from her friends, to start to live her life again. A life that is not defined by the whispers and lies.
There is one hell of a lot of strength involved on her part. Also pretty much of a “two-steps forward-one step back” approach to dealing with moving on from the very huge problem.
But the biggest assist she gets is from West Leavitt. He represents a different choice in life. Lots of different choices. West is a young man who seems to be living in the moment, but actually isn’t. Where Caroline plans everything, West looks spontaneous.
But he’s not. What he is, is someone from an entirely different life who has grabbed this brief moment of time for himself, because he’s sure it will be taken away any second. What he doesn’t reveal is much about himself.
At first, West gives Caroline something that no one else does; a space with no BS. He may not disclose much, but he also doesn’t expect her to filter what she’s feeling. She doesn’t have to pretend to be okay.
And out of that lack of pretense, comes everything.
Escape Rating A+: Deeper is a story that will haunt you long after you turn the final page. This is a book that lives up to the promise of the genre tag New Adult; it delivers a deeper, richer story than a young adult novel. In New Adult the protagonist is supposed to have a problem to solve that will have an impact on their adult life. There are no easy answers in this book, only hard questions and tough solutions.
Deeper is Caroline’s journey. She starts the story in the midst of a meltdown of epic proportions, and she’s melting down for reasons that are big and real. She treats the “porn attack” as a problem to be solved, or hidden from, and can’t face people’s scorn. So she hides. She feels as dirty as if she deserved the comments people, mostly men, fling at her everywhere.
The story is her transformation from the young woman who is victimized to the one who stands up for herself. In the beginning, she feels like she IS the pictures. She feels abused. In the end, the pictures are the pictures, but they are not herself. This does not mean she is not being attacked, because she still is, but she is owning her defense.
West’s story is told in counterpoint to Caroline’s. He comes from such a different place than she does, and he conceals everything about who he really is until nearly the end of their relationship. Their love story is very slow building, and that’s a terrific thing. Caroline isn’t ready to love someone until she stops being a victim and starts taking control of her life. And part of that control is telling West that they can’t have a real relationship until he is willing to admit that what they have is actually a relationship.
He wants to protect her, but part of the point of the story is that Caroline has gotten strong enough that she doesn’t need his protection any more. She needs to make her own decisions, and for that to work, she needs his trust, and his truth.
The ending of Deeper will make you reach for the kleenex, because it concludes, exactly where it should, but not where you want it to.