It Happens All The Time by Amy Hatvany
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Genres: Women’s Fiction
“I want to rewind the clock, take back the night when the world shattered. I want to erase everything that went wrong.”
Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have been best friends since they were teenagers—trusting and depending on each other through some of the darkest periods of their young lives. And while Amber has always felt that their relationship is strictly platonic, Tyler has long harbored the secret desire that they might one day become more than friends.
Returning home for the summer after her college graduation, Amber begins spending more time with Tyler than she has in years. Despite the fact that Amber is engaged to her college sweetheart, a flirtation begins to grow between them. One night, fueled by alcohol and concerns about whether she’s getting married too young, Amber kisses Tyler.
What happens next will change them forever.
In alternating points of view, It Happens All the Time examines the complexity of sexual dynamics between men and women and offers an incisive exploration of gender roles, expectations, and the ever-timely issue of consent.
Before I go into my review, I want to let you all know about something BookSparks is doing to help #SPEAKOUT against sexual violence. When you purchase Amy Hatvany’s It Happens All The Time TODAY, BookSparks will donate 30% of all verified purchases to the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center. All you have to do is purchase the book (online, in-store, doesn’t matter), and send a copy of your receipt to them here: send us your receipt. Your receipt showing the purchase of the book has to have a date of April 19th, but otherwise it is literally that easy. So don’t waste another moment, go buy the book and send them your receipt to start helping victims today! Now onto my thoughts about the book…
First of all, this book is about much more than consent and sexual assault. It deals with eating disorders, anxiety, stress, and the healthy vs unhealthy ways to deal with each.
This book has an important message; especially in the times we are living in. We live in a society that loves to blame the victim, particularly when that victim is a woman who has been sexually assaulted. Maybe if she hadn’t drunk as much; worn such a tight top; been in the wrong place at the wrong time, it wouldn’t have happened. When people say things like that, it is excusing the behavior of the perpetrator, by saying he was too tempted by what she was wearing/doing, to stop himself. She brought it on herself. And that thinking is just plain disgusting.
It Happens All the Time focuses on Amber and Tyler. Best friends since their teens, Tyler has had unrequited love for Amber for as long as he can remember. But Amber hasn’t, and doesn’t, feel the same way.
Tyler has a father who is, basically, verbally abusive to him, and this wrecks havoc on Tyler’s psyche, causing him to suffer from extreme anxiety and panic attacks. As a person who suffers from anxiety, I was waiting to feel empathy towards Tyler, but that feeling never came. I don’t know if that is because I knew what he was going to do, or if it was Tyler himself I didn’t like – maybe both. Either way, I didn’t sympathize nor empathize with him.
Amber has supportive, if overprotective, parents. She suffered from an eating disorder in high school, and it is still something she sometimes struggles with. She comes home over the summer, recently engaged to her boyfriend Daniel, but starts having doubts about the engagement. After an argument with Daniel over the phone, she lets go at a party she attends with Tyler and his friends. She feels safe because she’s with Tyler. He won’t let anyone hurt her; he’ll protect her. She never would have guessed, that Tyler himself would be the one to hurt her. Which makes what happens even worse, because it was done by someone she trusted completely.
Fueled by too much alcohol, years of longing on Tyler’s part, and Amber’s doubt about Daniel, the two of them kiss. What happens after that kiss changes them both forever.
The supporting characters in the book were great, particularly Amber’s parents, her boyfriend Daniel, and Tyler’s coworker Mason. Each played an important part in the story. Hatvany’s description of Amber’s feelings after the rape were startlingly real. Sometimes when you read a story, you still feel like an outsider, you know what you are reading isn’t ‘real.’ But Hatvany’s writing when Amber describes what she’s going through, feels completely real, and it is all the more devastating knowing this same thing happens to real women and men, every single day.
I won’t go into many more details here, because you need to read the book yourself. But I will say this; Tyler tries to rationalize his behavior, putting the blame on anyone and anything that is not himself. Amber feels like she is to blame for what happened after that kiss, because of everything that lead up to it. Both of them are backwards in their thinking.
If someone says, wait, stop, hold on, I don’t want to do this, NO. Then listen. Teach your girls to speak up and fight for themselves. Teach your boys to listen to girls and to believe they mean what they say. To respect them. And maybe that will help put us one step closer to creating a safer world.
Don’t forget to send your receipt to BookSparks after you make your purchase today! Send us your receipt.
I received an ARC from BookSparks in exchange for an honest review.