TW; sexu@l @ss@ult, r@pe, self-h@rm, and jokes about mental health issues/disorders. (If I got any of these trigger warnings wrong, please tell me! I will correct them immediately)
First, I would like to thank Lola's Blog Tours for hosting a Bookstagram Blitz of Fractured. I would also like to thank the publisher/author for providing me a free physical ARC. I am very grateful to receive an actual paperback. I understand it is hard work producing a book and how long-spun the process takes. I will not overlook that fact. I do hold some personal thoughts/opinions I'd like to share. Though be forewarned, this review does contain spoilers. Let's get into it!
Starting with Mason Vance; a dislikeable main character. I don't mind dislikeable main characters, as long as they change some part of themselves in the end. Mason, well, he didn't. Maybe to a naive young teenager reading this, he did. But in my personal opinion, Mason remained the same. It was disappointing as I don't understand where the author was going with this. Like, what was the intention? Of Mason? Of the whole book? And the thing is, I tried to respect him. I can recognize where he's coming from. Mason is just a young 16 year old who isn't educated properly on mental health and seeing girls other than sex objects. Please, my friends, take the trigger warnings seriously. I came into this book with a blind eye. And after coming out, I was in disbelief. What kind of book is this?! See, I usually love books that educate about mental health. Mixed with romance? That's a win-win! But, here's the problem. Although I can tell the author was trying her best to put a light on these dark matters, I'm afraid to say she didn't do it well. This book did not educate about mental health. Not in the least bit.
The things Mason did were never addressed again. We never go deeper into what Lace is feeling. We never really dive into what was happening at the time. Which, hence the confusion?? I didn't know where or what the author was trying to say in this book. I didn't understand the meaning, the theme. What were we, or the young teenage reader, supposed to take away? The fact that doing this shit isn't funny? The fact that society normalizes this behavior in most men? I'm gonna be real here. I think this book glorified Mason's actions. Even in times, he regretted his decisions, it was like we were supposed to feel sorry for him or something. Well, I wasn't. I was even more pissed. Mason, being the unchangeable person he is, felt guilty. For himself. Everything was about himself. He didn't care much about how Lace was feeling or anything like that. It's true. Mason did feel pain from doing all the things he did. He was ashamed of his past. Nevertheless, he got away with it. And I don't give a damn if this kid gets haunted for the rest of his life, Mason had manipulated so many girls into having sex with him. Just shows male privilege.
There were many moments in this book where I almost hit home to forgiving him. But then, hey! Before you know it, the kid has messed up again. This is the exact reason why I hated Mason. For someone who has struggled with mental health issues, the "jokes" cracked by Mason's toxic friends were utterly disgusting. That's why I couldn't care less about the ending. I think it is possibly the only reasonable ending the author could've done (besides the fact that Mason forgave Chris).
I know most people are upset that Mason and Lace don't end up together. Well, you know what? It was for the better. Lace was the only character who developed. Who changed. I think she realized in the end that she didn't need someone in her life to make herself feel cherished. I'm pleased that Mason taught her that lesson. Lace is taking baby steps. Though even without Mason, I think she would've got to that point too. If they would've proceeded to go out together, it just wouldn't be the same. I mean, Mason raped her. This is not a light subject. Lace could still be scared of him or who knows what. Also, that painting scene. Everything about it was so messed up in many ways. Mason got enraged at Lace for painting a girl getting raped. He thought she was exposing him. I was so mad, I wanted to just throw the book.
Mason's behavior is inexcusable. Probably the only good thing about this book is that I'm glad the author put what Mason did in multiple shades. Rape isn't a black and white issue. It can come in many colors. People closest to you can do anything, anytime.
Besides that, I couldn't enjoy the book. I had to push myself to read the chapters. I felt like I was dragging myself deeper and deeper into something I didn't like. I didn't like this book, y'all. I did not like it. It made me in such a bad mood. And I could go on and on about its flaws but I think I'm done for now. This book is just one big mess.
If you want to give this book a gamble, go ahead. Other than that, I would not recommend this book whatsoever.