Time to Discuss #3 – It’s Complicated

Before we start discussing It’s Complicated, I’d like to let you know about a couple of free offers that Laura has shared with us:

#1. Laura has a Bible-based discussion guide for the first four chapters of the book and she’s offering it to you for FREE! Wouldn’t it be great to read the book and discuss with your teen or youth group? Love this idea, and I plan to check it out!

To claim your free copy, please let us know in the comment section below.

#2 Another of Laura’s books is currently available for FREE! Skinny: She was starving to fit in… I love that this author tackles issue-driven teen fiction. Her writing is great and I have great hopes for this series. I already have the book. Snag it while it’s free by clicking on the cover.

Skinny

Now, for the discussion:

its complicated

I LOVED this book. One thing that was great about it was the characters. Laura has developed a Pinterest board for each of the four girls and I love the little tidbits you can see about their personalities. What a great way to do character development and make sure that all your girls are different than one another. Here they are. Check them out, and let me know who you liked best and who was most like you:

Pinterest boards for It’s Complicated.
Kat 

I liked that each character had their own issue. While they all pretty much involved guys and dating, each issue was separate. And for older teens, most issues do revolved around guys anyway. 😉 And this issues were REAL issues. Not sanitized versions goody-goody versions, but things that emerging adults face. How many of their issues did you encounter? Feeling like the only girl without a boyfriend, pressure to have sex, date rape (hopefully not, but it happens), peer pressure for drugs/alcohol, having a nice guy like you but not feeling anything in return.

I thought it was interesting for four girls that decided to go to a Christian college that they hadn’t thought about Bible study before that. But then, who am I kidding? I’m curious – did you go to a Christian college? Or were you a Christian at college? If so, were you involved in a church?

For me, I was a Christian who went to a secular college. I didn’t get plugged into a church right away. In hindsight, that was a big mistake. It didn’t take long for me to fall out of the habit of going to church.

I’m really interested to see what happens in the rest of the series. For non-fantasy, non-science fiction books, these really held my interest!

NOW YOU: Whatcha got? Any questions/comments about this one?

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13 thoughts on “Time to Discuss #3 – It’s Complicated

  1. I have Skinny and won a copy of Angry a while back. Hubby saw it on the desk and is very curious for me to read it as another possibility to add to the library at work for his kids. I’m not sure they’d allow It’s Complicated, though – simply because the date-rape will hit way too close to home for most of his girls.

    I ended up enjoying the book but I wasn’t sure I would at first. It took quite a few chapters for me to get all the girls straight and be comfortable with the head hopping. Plus I was so confused after the prologue when suddenly Claire was in Paris. I hadn’t realized there was a gap before school would be starting. And then I knew the date-rape was coming somehow (I don’t remember how I knew) but since I didn’t know who, I felt like that part was hanging over my head lurking around every corner and I couldn’t enjoy the book until that was behind me. I liked Kat the best – partly because of her name 😀 – and I also liked how she seemed to have a level head though she took some risks driving around with boys she barely knew. Oh – I hadn’t realized Palmer was olive-skinned until almost the very end of the book, too.

    I can definitely see where this book is fantastically realistic for what teens that age go through. I went, not just to a Christian college, but one that prided itself on being a Bible college. Maybe that difference is why I hadn’t realized this even was a Christian college they were attending? It sure didn’t feel like it to me! They seemed to have mixed-gender dorms and no rules against alcohol. And thankfully I didn’t encounter any of the situations the 4 girls did, but I was blessed in that regard. I had good friends who didn’t want to break the rules or push the boundaries and I avoided anyone who did.

    We had very strict rules keeping guys and girls out of each other’s dorms except the lobby-area and during special open-dorm social events. Strict on-campus curfew, dress-code, rules regarding alcohol (I tutored a guy who ended up getting expelled for drinking), and mandatory chapel every school day. Church attendance was required but since there were such a variety of denominations on campus, they could only poll the dorms every few months to remind everyone. And the students that were honest and admitted they’d been skipping church got lectured and I remember there being some controversy over it. Things have changed over the years and last I heard, they only have chapel twice a week now, rather than Monday-Friday, but they are required to accumulate Spiritual Formation Credits every semester through additional activities – Barnabas groups, mentoring, ministries, etc. (And all that being said, we often talked among ourselves about how glad we were not to be at a “strict” college like say, Pensacola Christian. lol)

    But even in that environment I remember many situations that I had known existed but had never encountered before – kids from broken homes, a girl who had been pregnant and given her baby up for adoption, a young man who had served 2-years in prison for DUI manslaughter and had his come-to-Jesus moment during that dark period, a roommate raised in foster care after being rescued from an abusive father… I think my first roommate may have been raped actually – either over the summer or the previous semester before I transferred in. I didn’t know her and she made no attempt to know me – she refused to speak to me at all ever and was always crying during the few times she was even in our room. We both avoided our room other than to sleep in and I moved out after the one semester – I’m not sure she even came back after Christmas break.

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    1. Forgot to say, though, that I thought the rape was handled very well. As you know, I’m ridiculously sensitive to anything involving children or SVU situations. I put down the book after the rape scene and had a hard time sleeping afterwards – I was glad to get that part over with but it bummed me out for the rest of the night. But if I hadn’t known that was coming, I would have been taken aback and furious at the book. So I’m not sure the book is marked well in that regard.

      Sometimes I think I’m a bit too sensitive to such things. But I also think I’d rather be sensitive than desensitize myself. Some people are highly compassionate, highly empathetic, highly considerate, etc. I’m highly sensitive and my sensitivity is something that makes me uniquely me. I know it’s something my husband (and one of my sisters) always look out for and it’s not uncommon for either one of them to say “I was watching such&such and something happened and I was really glad you weren’t there. Don’t ever watch it, please.” – they know better than to even tell me what happened. I just don’t want to know.

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      1. I’m going to warn you about The Wishing Pearl now. There are no graphic scenes involving rape, but there is quite a bit of hinting about child abuse. I kept waiting for a scene with it, but it never comes. Thought I’d give you a warning.

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    2. Hmm. Poor girl. I wondered whatever happened to her.

      My first college roommate met a guy and started staying with him. She told me to tell her parents whenever they called that she was at the library. It got to the point where I wouldn’t see her for days. She failed out of school her first semester.

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      1. Yes, I probably handled the situation badly but I was much too young/immature at the time. The RA just suggested I be patient with her. That’s a shame about your first roommate, too.

        And thanks for the heads up!

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  2. Hi! I’m late to the party this week but wanted to stop by.

    It took me a while to get into this one, I think because of the 4 POVs and the fairly short chapters. I’d just get into one of their head and remember what was going on with her, then the chapter would end. I could relate to all of the girls in some way, which was nice. They were all good mixes of pros and cons, but I agree with Sparksofember — Kat was my favorite, probably because she seemed a bit more grounded in the real world than the others.

    I went to a public college and got plugged into a church-related group so was still fairly sheltered. Not saying I was always on the straight and narrow by any means, but I wasn’t a wild party girl. Some of the things in the book (like the apparently co-ed dorm) surprised me since it was supposed to be a Christian college. Everything seemed so “normal world” that I actually forgot it was a Christian college! Not sure if that’s good or bad. 🙂

    The amount of relationship stuff surprised me a bit, probably because I hadn’t read the blurb again and didn’t remember the storyline. My daughter can access my books through the Nook app on her tablet. At first, I didn’t think I wanted her reading this one because of the girl/guy stuff (she’s 13, about to start 8th grade). But by the time I finished, I’d decided that maybe it would be a good one for her to read — because of the girl/guy stuff. I would want to lay some groundwork for her up front, but think it could be a starting point for some good conversations. Or, even if she didn’t want to talk about specifics, it would at least give her a glimpse at what kinds of situations she might find herself in someday and how she could deal with them.

    I’m not sure I would buy the rest of the series for myself, but if my daughter wanted to continue we would read them together.

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    1. I think it’s a great book to read and discuss with teens. I’d be interested to know what your daughter thinks of it.

      Out of curiosity, what type of fiction do you usually read? I read a lot of multiple POV because I like fantasy, and a lot of YA which generally has shorter chapters.

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  3. Thank you all so much for reading and for your insights. I have two daughters of my own (16 and 11). My sixteen year old has read it. We had lots of chats about the content, specifically because she knew two of the real life girls who had shared their date rape stories with me to help craft the book. It’s an alarming topic, and she actually asked me which chapter the rape took place in and opted to not read that chapter, but just know it had happened, which I think is awesome. My youngest isn’t ready for this yet. Nope. I wouldn’t recommend to eleven-year olds. And I am cracking up a bit, because everyone seems to think it’s a Christian college, but I never intended it to be. I’m curious as Christians reading Christian fiction if we’re predisposed to assume it would be a Christian college, or if somewhere I drop hints that it might be. Nope, Clarkson was supposed to be public, so that should clear up some confusion on co-ed dorms (pretty standard these days) and the party scene. Thanks again everyone. I can’t tell you how blessed I am that you took time to read my book. If you haven’t already, I would be grateful if you posted candid reviews, even a one-liner, even a two-starrer, on Amazon. By reviewing the book you help others determine if it’s for them or not. You could even mention concerns over the rape and ages reading if you like, because it is important for readers to be aware of you. You all are lovely. Praying your weekend is filled with God’s grace.

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    1. I thought the name was Clarkson Christian College, actually. There was something in there that made me think it was Christian, but I don’t remember what. I don’t think I would ordinarily assume it was Christian college since I went to a public one, but who knows. Obviously I read that into it somewhere. LOL

      Thanks for stopping by! It was interesting to hear your 16 yo’s take on the rape scene and not wanting to read it because I thought you handled the chapter tactfully.

      Keep on writing!!!

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  4. Thanks everyone! And thank you for being okay with how I handled “the scene”. In a way it was the hardest one to write because it was so painful, but in a way, it just flowed out. When the girls who shared with me, relayed their stories, it was so heartbreaking, I really felt like I was with them. Clearly, I didn’t recreate what happened to them, but tried to convey their emotions during the assault. My 16 year old is wise in so many ways. I’m one blessed mama!

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  5. So the other day on my way home from work, I turn on the radio and catch the tail-end of a catchy song. So I looked it up and it was Holly Starr “Through Me”. I had never heard of her before reading It’s Complicated. And it’s such a new release, I can’t find lyrics or the song itself to listen to. It came on again today (I like it so much I’m definitely going to have to listen to what is available online.) and the DJ said she is new to our station – so that explains why I hadn’t heard of her previously. I just thought it was neat & had to share!

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