ARC Review: Escaping Reality (The Secret Life of Amy Bensen #1) by Lisa Renee Jones

Pub. Date: July 22nd, 2013
Publisher: Julie Patra Publishing
250 pages

After a mysterious family tragedy, Lara is forced to change her identity and leave her entire life behind. Each new identity controlled by a ‘handler’ she has never met, means a new life to memorize, a new profession, a new home, and all new relationships. Tired of never knowing when her life will be up heaved again, Lara/Amy rebels by putting her trust in a complete stranger, something she knows will only increases the danger she constantly faces. As her new life becomes increasingly entwined with Liam Stone’s, the less sure she is of who is really protecting her – her handler or Liam?

This novel frustrated me more than I can ever possibly say. To begin, I hate how Amy is represented. I am so sick and tired of weak female characters portrayed as needing to be ‘saved’. Amy is not initially a character I would describe as weak, but the second someone walks into her life willing to take control, she doesn’t even blink before giving up all of her independence and strength as a character. She 180s from who she says she is, into the type of character I hate in a few pages.

The second thing that really frustrated me was the lack of a plot. We learn that Amy is on the run from some secret organization/ person/ who really knows, right at the beginning of the novel. Yet, we have no idea what event put her into this type of protective custody, who her handler is, or what any of this has to do with anything that follows because we never learn the answers, and ‘the plot’ is very rarely touched on after the first pages.

Frustration number three, insta-love for a complete jerk. It is so clear Liam is hiding something from the second he’s introduced. Amy herself questions him. Yet, she ever so willingly decides to ignore the feeling in her gut that something is off and she shouldn't trust him, choosing instead to basically move in with him and allow him to take control over her entire life. All within a few mere hours of meeting. I hope how undesirable, unattractive and impractical their relationship is, is obvious to readers, even though its 'desirability' is consistently (unsuccessfully) pushed in the readers face.

And the biggest frustration of all, even though I did not like this book or what it stood for, I am annoyingly interested in book #2 - only because so much was left ambiguous, that I want some idea of what the heck this book that I spent my time reading was actually about.

Rating 3/10 – It’s not a 1 only because of my annoying interest in hoping the ‘mysteries’ are answered in book 2.

** I received a copy of this novel from the publisher to read and honestly review. I was in no way compensated. 

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