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Way Down Deep Paperback – June 1, 2017
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Two of my favorite authors, Charlotte Stein and Cara McKenna, got together and made a book baby. The result is Way Down Deep—a sexy, unique novel written entirely in text message format. That’s right—text messages. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this format, but I knew the story itself would be amazing, coming from these authors. This is an emotionally charged romance that left me smiling and still, craving more.
We start with a series of dark, heavy messages from an unknown sender. Those messages are raw and somewhat vague, yet brutally honest. The sender doesn’t expect a reply—for reasons made clear later—but receives one anyway.
Through the many messages that follow, slowly more is revealed about the sender: a single dad named Malcolm, originally from the U.S. but now raising his young son in England. The recipient is an agoraphobic young woman named Maya, also living somewhere in England, who alludes to a traumatic past. Malcolm and Maya reveal bits and pieces of themselves to each other with every message that they send. Sometimes those tidbits are mundane and seemingly trivial, like favorite songs, movies, and books. During other moments, their interactions are deeply personal, with the anonymity of words and without the potential awkwardness of face-to-face contact.
The relationship quickly becomes intimate—not just in a sexual way, though fear not, it certainly makes a turn in that direction as well. Additionally, though, Malcolm and Maya see in each other a commonality that they’ve each been missing in their lives. In each other, they become seen for possibly the first time in a long time—maybe ever—and in turn, they each become known.
Way Down Deep is a unique twist on the epistolary novel: one that’s brutally honest, raw, and scorchingly sexy. Fans of Stein and McKenna will recognize each author’s distinct voices in Maya and Malcolm. Together, it’s a combination that I adored. When it was over, I didn’t want it to be—I wanted more from these characters I’d fallen in love with. I highly recommend this book and hope that Stein and McKenna will collaborate again in the future.
I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley.
I enjoyed the characters immensely.
Spoiler alert -
While I enjoyed the book and the dirty texts, I didn't feel the emotional attachment when they confessed their love. Also, the ending was abrupt and not a very romance ending. Romance is defined as "emotionally satisfying happy for now/happily ever after."
Unless there's a sequel, there's way too much in the way for this couple to work out with that ending. I gave it four stars because it's a good read and well written. But, meh.
What happens to the boy? What happens after the door opens?! I want to know every single thing that happens in their lives. This sort of epistolary storytelling doesn't usually draw me in, but this one did. The writing was beautiful. I just wished it was longer.
With the H/h texting back and forth, one would expect some typos, of which there weren't any. Errors in the texts would have given this a more authentic feel. And like other Stein characters, Malcolm and Maya were very verbose and literate, which I loved.
Another strange and likeable Stein story!
But reviews are subjective.
I read books because they affect me emotionally as well as in other ways and I want that. This means a lot of books aren't for me; I won't/can't like them. (That changes over time as experiences and tastes change.) I don't foresee liking this in whole, so I offer this weird review, for part. I hope you enjoy it more than I did.
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The book entirely takes place via text message. This was very difficult to wrap my head around.Read more