Items ticked off: 18
For once, I thought I was in for something different than the typical NA story. I don't know why. I've read several other NA stories by Sorensen and found them to follow the typical formula for the genre. Maybe I thought that since she's done them before, she might do something different this time. I was hoping for that, at least. Then, not even the first chapter in, the tropes are thrown my direction.
The Temptation of Lila and Ethan is the third book in The Secret series. The first two focuses on Ella and Micha and now we're introduced to Lila and Ethan's, two secondary characters, story. I'll say this right away: I didn't remember much about these two characters since when I read the two first books. That combined with the (very) quick introduction of how they met, I didn't find and chemistry between them or why they was as good friends as they were. Maybe that's just me, maybe not. But given that this story solely focuses on their growing relationship and Lila's addiction, the relationship part wasn't engaging for me.
Since this is NA, we have tragic backgrounds. Ethan is filled with guilt over something he let happen to a friend in his youth. Lila is feeling worthless most of the time due to (maybe small spoiler, but hey, you can see it coming after a chapter or two) an teacher taking advantage of her when she was fourteen. Lila's past is also filled with bullying and she's now addicted to pills and self-destructive behavior. Now, I don't mind tragic backgrounds and characters dealing with them. It's when the issues are romanticized and/or trivialized it becomes a problem. For this book let's just say I don't quite believe it that Lila fixed her addiction with the help of Ethan alone. Not when she's been addicted for the past six years. Addiction isn't something easy to fix, trust me.
I might also have had a problem with caring for Lila. You know how the (NA) story goes. Heroine sees another woman, heroine slut-shames. Given Lila's history of suffering from bullying, it might be explained that she does this as revenge, but I don't really think that's the case. Not when Ethan isn't much better. So, to sum up: slut-shaming is not okay.
And to sum up this book: Chemistry between characters shouldn't be needed to be spelled out, it should be shown. Lila saying she and Ethan has chemistry didn't make me believe that. Addiction is not an easy matter. Hard work and qualified help is what's needed, not a hot guy stealing Lila's pills. Also, a subplot might be a good idea when there's barely a plot to start with.