am 20. November 2013
Only For You is my discovery of 2013. I happened upon it by accident, browsing books to find something to read. I never expected this and I will never underestimate Genna Rulon even for a second. Only For You is a gem, one of those rare finds, a special book that will give you one heck of a book hangover!
The plot of Only For You is rather simple. Everleigh and Samantha are best friends and in their final semester of college. They participate in a self-defence seminar because more and more women have been getting attacked on campus. Every attack is more violent than the last and Ev and Sam decide to visit the self-defence seminar, led by Hunter Charles, which is sponsored by the school. Hunter and Ev have immediate chemistry, but Everleigh’s biting sarcasm leads to a small confrontation between the two. Their relationship is not off to a good start. When Ev sees Hunter again in one of her business classes, a rhetoric war starts between them. No one has ever been able to battle Ev with wit and cunning repartee, but Hunter is her equal!
Ev and Hunter’s conversations, or rather rhetoric battles, as well as Sam’s quirkiness are what make this book! It is something I have never encountered before. Everleigh is such a unique character, as is Sam, Only For You lives on the foundation of its fantastically individual and complex characters. They give already phenomenal dialogues and inner monologues life and excitement. Because of Everleigh’s quick and complex thoughts, the book is fast-paced and action packed, even though the plot is simplistic. This creates tension and excitement, even though there might not be any physical action in a certain scene.
Genna Rulon is the master of playing with language. Anyone who appreciates the art of writing, language, wit and sarcasm will love this book. This is not for someone who wants a mindless read. Only For You challenges its readers. It requires them to keep up with Ev and Sam’s crazy ideas and wacky conversations while trying to solve an underlying suspense plot.
Admittedly, the suspense storyline is not hard to figure out, but this is not a detective novel. The consequences of the attacks and the character of a person, which is revealed in such extreme circumstances, are of greater importance.
Hunter is not the most present character, but he challenges Everleigh and changes her way of thinking in certain cases. The romance is always a part of the story, nonetheless. Ev and Hunter become very close friends but their feelings can’t be denied. I loved how Everleigh commented on the change in her and Hunter’s friendship. She realizes that no matter what happens to them, if she approaches Hunter with her feelings or not, their relationship has already changed because she developed those new emotions in the first place. This is something so inconsequential but profound at the same time and it really reflects Everleigh’s character. She is crazy and wacky at times, but also has a kind heart and gentle soul. She doesn’t hide behind her sarcasm, she genuinely enjoys having the upper hand and she uses language and rhetoric to control a situation or just to enjoy herself. Most of the time, Everleigh’s comments simply provide entertainment for her and I was right there with her.
I could go on and on, analysing every character and scene in this book. It would give me great pleasure but would also spoil the read for everyone but myself. Towards the end, the conversations, especially on Hunter’s end, became a bit stilted but I understand Hunter’s need to perfectly express himself as he had to keep his emotions in check for such a long time.
Without spoiling the book, Samantha goes through one of the most horrifying experiences of her life, and I can’t wait to read her story in Pieces Of You, coming out in December of this year. Only For You has brought me laughter, tears and so much joy! I will never be able to listen to a Sarah Bareilles song without thinking of ‘Sweet As Hole’ and Everleigh’s triumph. Genna Rulon has quickly become a favourite of mine. She captivated me with this fantastic debut!
"I thought I was happy before you, but you lit up my world. You challenged me, made me laugh, and aroused me beyond reason. Everything before you and without you was dim and monotonous. I may be able to live without you, but I don’t want to, it would be bland and uninspiring. Existing, not thriving."
“The world is not full of assholes. But, they are strategically placed so that you'll come across one every day.”