Tough to Love: Saving Avery (A Novella)

Tough to Love: Saving Avery (A Novella) - Ava Catori I started out this novella with high mediocre hopes, even though it tackled a difficult subject. Rape-as-backstory is so rarely done well, but when the love interest did nothing but bring her pumpkin pie and give her space, I though, "it's not perfect, but that's really cute."It went all downhill from there.First of all, this book is straight-up healing cock. All her problems with "trust" are magically erased when she gets the down low tinglies for our main boy. Honestly, I don't even know why the author threw rape into this book; Avery's general demeanor and attitude towards men is so stock that she could have had any disagreeable backstory. A cheating boyfriend would have replaced her backstory seamlessly. So this book didn't tackle the issue of rape survival so much as just use it for cheap thrills.Furthermore, Steele was pretty creepy. He started off cute and respectful and then spiraled downhill from there into a violent, controlling jerk. This started getting uncomfortable when Avery (remember: rape survivor) salivated over his intimating presence and ability to physically overpower her. Not kidding. She used phrases that are, admittedly, cliched in romance, but they emphasis how big, strong, demanding, masculine, and powerful he is. I hesitate to say that a rape survivor shouldn't act in a certain way, but the complete lack of self-awareness when it came to this aspect created a disconnect for me.The book really started going downhill when Steele beat up her former rapist without provocation. Now, that's an event that can be played with, but 1) it came right the fuck out of nowhere, with no build up, and leads me to believe that he's violent and she'll never see it coming before he hits her the first time, and 2) the aftermath of that was very...Steubenville. Steele and his sister wanted Avery to bring up the rape thing in the resulting battery case, then when she balked, said:He's got a promising future; don't make him give up his career."Yes, let's ignore the needs of the rape victim and instead focus on how hard it is for this violent offender to have to pay for his actions. I know, not a perfect analogy, but Steele did beat the shit out of that guy without just cause. Being angry over a past event is not the same as self-defense, and "preserving her honor" isn't a legal anything.The second half of the book (starting with the fight incident) was told entirely in summary. No joke, no hyperbole. It was a summary that lasted 40 pages. It summarized some interesting conflicts and issues, but the author's notes had no business being pawned off as a finished project. The ending was rushed, even for a summary, and things weren't really wrapped up so much as cauterized. "We had this issue and that one, and then oops the end, everything's better now." Sigh.A galley copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.