I want to preface this review by saying that this is a novel that was translated from its original French. I wasn’t aware of that when I picked it up, and that wouldn’t have affected whether or not I read it, but I feel like I need to note this. I think this fact has a lot of bearing on my opinion of this book.
And mostly, my opinion isn’t that good. I highly applaud the author for tackling the subject matter–porn addiction is a real thing, and it can happen to teens as readily as it can to anyone else with an internet connection–but I found the writing style to be annoying. This is why I mentioned that it’s a book in translation, because I wonder how much of this is due to the fact that I’m not reading it in its original form.
I also have to acknowledge, however, that translation alone wouldn’t account for the writing. Chapters from Lucas’s point of view often read as clunky, and the rule of “Show, don’t tell” is broken fairly often. It does get better as the book progresses and the author isn’t trying to sum up several years’ worth of addictive behavior in a short amount of time. Once Lucas is in a recovery program, the narrative flows a little more smoothly.
Also, I wanted to punch his father. There’s a secondary plotline about how Lucas’s mother suffers from depression, and Lucas’s father treats her terribly. Yes, living with someone with depression can be challenging. No, it does not help to treat that person like their condition is a character flaw. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel that the effect of that kind of environment on the family was addressed really well, and that annoyed me.
This is a teen novel that I have to give a hard pass to. Tackling an issue like this is tricky, and Bard didn’t do it very well.