Review: Addicted to You by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Addicted to You  - Becca Ritchie, Krista Ritchie
"“That’s an understatement,” Lo says flatly. “I make out with my girlfriend, you stand there. I put my hand down her pants, you stand there. I tell you I’m going to fuck her, you stand there. What am I supposed to make of that?”"

Well, I’ll be standing here in the corner watching the next train wreck, what about you?

On a more serious note, I would like to begin this review with a little background on the story and my own opinions. Addicted to You is the tale of two addicts. Loren with his alcoholism, and Lily with her addiction to sex. These two are childhood friends who, when in college, decided to pretend to have a relationship to hide their addiction their highly respected families. This means about five years of hiding both addictions, and now they’re in college, far away from their families. Loren and Lily do their own thing; Lily sleeping with anything walking and Loren drinking around the clock.

This next part will be a discussion on my opinions on the view on sexual addiction being a real addiction or not and not really about the book. It’s just a kind of explanation for why this book might not have worked for me. 

With that in mind, I am one of those people very skeptical to the notion of such a thing as sexual addiction. Yes, I do believe people might use sex as a defense mechanism, but I view this particular condition more as an OCD of a sort. I am not the only one with this opinion, and there are studies both pro and against ”sexual addiction”. I also acknowledge the fact that it’s near impossible for people which have not had or have an addiction to understand the full impact of one. In comparison to substance abuse, sex in itself is natural. People will have different sexdrives, some with a higher and some lower. If high enough, people might see it as an addiction. Furthermore, I also understand that addiction is not solely the actual abuse of choice, but also the effects it has on the person’s life in general with family, friends, health and such. Yet, I want to make the point clear that I’m skeptical to acknowledging sex as an addiction. And, have said that, I acknowledge that I’d be needing a bigger depth in this addiction than some others to fully buy what Addicted to You tackles.

(show spoiler)

As said, Loren and Lily harbors their secrets and addictions. They are at college, hiding and avoiding their families. We are thrown head first into their turbulent lives where sex and booze is a prominent factor, as expected from the book’s blurb. Lily considers them best friends, and here is the first issue I had. Despite they claim this, both, mainly Lo is often both rude and mean. There is no chemistry between them in the beginning, even with Lily questioning wether their fake relationship and fake feelings have shifted into something else. But this is the point; we’re told this, never truly showed how except for them sticking together for their addictions. And, I believe, that two strangers with addiction can shack up together as well. I do not see the connection Lily and Lo shares at all.

Now for the next biggie that bugged me. Their relationship when it becomes real. It is not healthy. Most of this comes from both of them carrying heavy baggage in form of their addictions. I have no issues with unhealthy relationships and neither of the characters ever openly acknowledges the unhealthiness of theirs. It is rather clear that it is not a healthy relationship, but I would have preferred if Lily actually at one point faced that fact instead of whining about wanting Lo to get clean but that she also want him to stay the way he is, and in extent, stay with her. Yes, I would’ve liked to see that, considering that Lo practically views their relationship as a way to change his addiction from booze to the love he has for her.

"“I want to love you more than I love this”—he waves his bottle—“and I don’t know how else to do it unless there’s something to lose.”"

I won’t spend too much time talking of Lo, because I really got nothing out of his character that wasn’t due to the booze. (Which he, by the way, started with around eleven.) There’s little to him apart from the stereotypical alcoholic. Well, unless you count the fact that his occasional trips to the gym keeps him in the greatest physique ever. Because, you know, all around the day alcoholics can manage this with occasional trips to the gym. Perfectly normal. Same goes for Lily. Neither of them have any personalities aside from the addiction, and while I understand this, I would at least have liked some insight into who they were before or glimpses who the might be once clean. With both of them whining or being rude and just mean, I couldn’t feel any connection toward them.

What I really want to talk about is the addictions and what they are caused by. This is loosely dealt with. For me, who questions the sexual addiction part, I needed more than offered. When the reason for her addiction is that Lily simply fell into it after starting having sex, I didn’t buy it. This to me sounds like something natural. Add to that she feels a bit out of place in her family, that might be explainable. But, I longed to get some more flesh on those fragile bones. I wanted to see more of what thoughts were running through her head before she got to the point she is at in this novel. More on her life at home, her thoughts on that, but no such thing. And, despite her addiction, the books is very clean. Perhaps it would’ve given me more insight to her state if I saw once or twice her thoughts while having sex. This certainly isn’t the worst book about this kind of issue, but for me personally, I’d prefer more in this one. (This will be a trilogy, but I don’t see how they can drag this out more and would’ve preferred it to be one novel and truly dealt with.) And for Lo, his addiction is kind of the same. He began to drink at eleven when his dad offered, and Lo accepted in a hope to grow closer to his father. Then he simply drank because he could. Again more flesh. More actual thoughts on the build up to an actual addiction. Now, it’s loosely out there, barely enough to hang on to.

For the last part of this review. The writing. The structure. The editing. The writing is decent, but could use a big round of editing. Editing is more than finding grammatical errors; it’s also about finding the right words. And the structure. For the first half of the book it’s more or less the two-man show of Lo and Lily. They go around succumbing to their addictions and Lily going back and forth on her feelings toward Lo, not much else. Around halfway new characters are thrown in, and this was so fishy to me the big plot twist at the end felt like a nice try. Not surprising at all due to strange events that didn’t make sense without some sort of explanation, hence the plot twist.

This is far from the worst NA I’ve read, but it just isn’t enough either. Many people will enjoy this since the writing is decent and the plot is a bit different and controversial. My view on the sexual addiction discussion also affects my rating for the worse, but had this not been the case I might’ve enjoyed it. I picked it up in hopes of seeing a bigger depth than offered in this first installment. Would I recommend it? To a NA-lover, yes. Probably without a thought. For those with doubts in the NA-genre, I’d tell them to be cautious. Overall though, I will probably pick up another work by these authors, but with another topic at hand, because the writing, I thought, had a relatively higher quality than some other works in the genre.