So much for my streak of amazing books. I think I jinxed myself by bragging about my good book luck. IN AT THE DEEP END was advertised as an LGBT+ Bridget Jones, which would have been aces had that actually been the case. It was not. Sadly, IN AT THE DEEP END is more like an LGBT+ FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, only without the compellingly intense (albeit dysfunctional) romance that made it such a best-seller.
Julia has been single for years and her last hookup was disappointing and basically tainted the punch for her. Then, one night at a party, she ends up meeting a woman and ends up going home with her. Much to her surprise and dismay, the encounter is more satisfying than anything she's ever experienced before. She begins to question her sexuality, and realizes that she's always been attracted to women but never let herself admit it on a conscious level. Thus empowered, she goes to a gay bar and ends up meeting another woman who ends up becoming her girlfriend-- but this girlfriend, Sam, has dark tastes and doesn't quite know where to draw the line when it comes to control.
I wanted to love this book but for the most part, it was really dull. Julia wasn't a very interesting protagonist. Bridget Jones was funny and self-aware and relatable, whereas Julia didn't have much in the way of personality. She was the portrait of a victim, and everything that happened to her kind of made it feel like she a vehicle to propel the storyline through this morality tale of an emotionally abusive and controlling relationship. The foreshadowing of the toxic relationship was well done and at first, I wasn't sure which tack this book was going to take. Would it romanticize extremely uncool behavior, like FIFTY SHADES OF GREY did, or was the book going to call it like it was?
IN AT THE DEEP END called it like it was, much to my relief and to the book's credit, and Julia ends up realizing how bad for her Sam is. I wish I could give this book a higher rating, but I just didn't really enjoy it that much and didn't love the writing at all. I wish Julia had been given more of a personality and that we had a better sense of her life beyond her sex life, but it is what it is.
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!
1.5 out of 5 stars