Sunday, 2 April 2017

It Happens All The Time [Book Review]

Hi there!

Title: It Happens all the Time
Author: Amy Hatvany
Publisher: Atria Books
Published Date:  28th March 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

*Thank you to the publisher for the review copy*


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Synopsis: From master storyteller Amy Hatvany—whose writing has been hailed as “gripping and emotionally honest” (Stephanie Evanovich, New York Times betselling author)—comes a provocative and compelling novel about two friends whose lives are changed by a drunken kiss.

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.

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Review: It Happens all the Time by Amy Hatvany took me less than a day to read. As I have been struggling with a reading slump last month, I hope it reflects how spectacular this novel really is. It made me pay attention. It made me want to know how things were going to end. But most of all, I felt so much for the main character, and that is what matters most of all, because for this kind of novel you need this.

At the beginning of the novel there is a letter from the author to the reader, and if you don’t usually read those, I recommend you do this time. The author herself is a sexual assault survivor, and I already knew that this story was going to be personal, and really dig deep into those emotions which surround the topic because of this. This novel is also told from the point of view of both the rapist and the victim. It was quite eye opening.


If rape is not something you want to read about, then I must clarify that this is not one for you. Although it does explain the scene, it’s not as explicit as it could’ve been. But that doesn’t mean to say that it isn’t explicit. There is also the mention of anorexia in this novel, so if that is a trigger for you, then consider yourself pre-warned as of now.

The plot of this novel is quite simple. It’s a very character driven read, and it follows Amber and Tyler, who are best friends. There are time jumps as we get to see them in the present day, and see flashbacks of their past together which relate to what is happening at the current time. That way, we get all the background knowledge on how they met, how their friendship works, and what has been happening in their lives up until the point of the rape scene. The novel goes past that as well, and we get to see the aftermath and the outcome of everything that happens as well.

I have to admit that sometimes the time jumps were a little jarring and confusing to me. It took me a while of reading to realise that I was reading about a scene in the past. But then at other times, the switch was quite obvious. I think it is the only issue I had with the novel at all.


Hatvany’s writing style is also very simple and straightforward as well. I wouldn’t say that we are lacking imagery or beautiful descriptions. More so, she simply describes what is necessary for the story, and that is it. I think that was a good element to this novel, because the story is not about her writing style, or the setting, or anything like that. What it is about is rape, and how it makes both people feel afterwards, and what they can do about it. The style doesn’t take away from the author’s intention, but adds to it instead.

The characters were what really made this novel. Amber is a girl who struggled with anorexia a lot in her teenage past, and Tyler was there to help her through it every step of the way. She came close to death, but she has since used her experience to learn and conquered it with her career choice. She’s bubbly and lively, but that all changes… Tyler has had issues with his father since he was a child, and his parents have divorced since. He has anxiety, but he keeps it secret and to himself. He loves Amber with everything in him. To hear that she is dating someone else crushes him, but he tries to be happy for her.

They’re best friends, and yet rape still occurs. To see how this happens, and what happens afterwards, you’ll have to read the novel yourself.


This book made me feel so emotional. My heart broke over and over again for Amber… for her parents as well. I felt such a deep routed connection to her because Amber is someone who is strict with herself and ambitious, always trying to reach her set goals. Which I feel is much like myself as well. I also felt sorry for Tyler. His parents weren’t the best. He had a tough childhood. I felt angry at him, but also sorry for him at the same time? It was so confusing… and I think that is what Hatvany wanted us to feel. The secondary characters, such as the parents of both main character’s, and their friends, were very well fleshed out. I understood their emotions as well, and how they contributed to the story.

The novel is story, but that isn’t it. There is another step. It taught me something about consent, and about the importance of teaching your children what it means, how to identify it, and how to know when it is missing. It taught me that importance myself. Hopefully this is something I will remember all my life, because it is so important. I hope that is something all readers can take away from this novel at the end of it.

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Gif Summary:


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Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Olivia’s Question: How long have you known your best friend for?


Olivia-Savannah x

18 comments:

  1. Wow- this sounds like a powerful read and one that is full of emotional impact. I am very curious about the two points of view. It sounds like the author has done a great job crafting both characters. I think the subject of consent is important- and one that we need to educate everyone about.

    I saw a video that explained consent using tea and thought it was something everyone should watch as it explained it very clearly to me. In case you haven't seen it and are interested here is the link to the Youtube video (or you can Google tea and consent on any search engine if you don't like clicking on links in the comments). It is a very short video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQbei5JGiT8&vl=en

    Thanks for sharing!
    ~Jess

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    1. I am amazed that she managed to include the two points of view so well and portray them both with such deep emotional depth. It really is an important subject. I hadn't seen the video before, but it was very informative. Thank you for sharing it with me!

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  2. This story sounds interesting with a good premise, thanks for introducing me to it!

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  3. I love a book that can really draw you in. I think it says a lot that you read such an emotional book in less than a day. I will have to look for this book. Great review!

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    1. Yes, usually they are hard to be addicted to because they can be painful to read. Even though this one was serious in subject matter, it was still written incredibly well.

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  4. My best friends can be counted on one hand, and I've know them since grade school. We're all married with children now. =)

    Lonna @ FLYLēF

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    1. A small but tight group. It's impressive that you've all stayed such good friends for so long. How lovely <3

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  5. I love books that I can't seem to put down. This sounds like that kind of book.

    Thanks for the honest review.

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  6. Great review, Olivia! This sounds like such a tough book but at the same time from what I can tell from your review I'm sure it's powerful and important as well.

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    1. It is one that is hard to read but so worth it, Stephanie. You've got it.

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  7. Glad you found such a great book to get you out of your slump! And it sounds like the heavy topics were written well. Seems like the characters were written well too since you were able to sympathize and feel sorry even when you were angry. Great review!

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    1. It managed to pull me right out of it! This one perfectly played on my emotions to make me feel what the author wanted me to...

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  8. Sounds heavy! Was the rapist Tyler? Cos that's... not sure how I feel about that!

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    1. He was... which made this book pretty unique and hard to read at times...

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  9. Okay, this sound very intense. As a sexual assault survivor, I actually do read books with the "trigger" in them, I just feel like I need to read or see other experiences to help deal or understand my own past. I will have to add this to my list. It was not one I'd heard of before. REally great review!

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    1. I think there is something about reading about others who have had the same experience which can help you learn more about yourself and what you have been through. I am so sorry you went through that yourself, Lisa :/ I hope reading this works for you.

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