Saco’s (Illicit Liaisons—Volume 1, 2013) second novel about a high school girl coming of age in a sexually hostile world.
Sixteen-year-old Megan Morgan is like most teenagers, save for the fact that she recently halted a consensual sexual relationship with her uncle. As the story begins, she tries to cope with the end of that relationship and live a more normal life. With her mother recently back home from rehab, things are looking up. But Megan doesn’t know that there’s another sexually troubling event in her future—one that will be anything but consensual. After an exclusive party at a wealthy student’s house, where she fought off sexual advances, experimented with marijuana and masturbated in a hot tub, Megan finds herself alone, outside, without her car keys. She accepts a ride home from a seedy student, which leads to an attempted rape. After she escapes, thanks to her own resourcefulness, she lands in an even worse situation: a brutal sexual assault that leaves her beaten and violated. As Megan tries to regain her composure and ensure that justice is done, she longs for what she sees as simpler days, including her relationship with her uncle. Throughout, the book balances the explicit and the mundane. Periods of explicit sex (“Gus’ head was buried between mother’s thighs”) are followed by long periods of inactivity. An uneventful trip to a swim meet, for example, results in stodgy dialogue, as when Megan’s friend explains her interest in various colleges (“I had it narrowed down to Pitt or Penn State. They both have strong programs in the course of study I want to pursue”), and readers may find these sections egregiously slow. That said, the action scenes help to create a twisted, believable tale, as Megan encounters new aspects of a darkly adult world. The conclusion will leave many readers eager for the next volume.
An often slow-paced tale, but one with an engaging protagonist.