The Temptation of Adam is a story about a teenage boy who uses porn as a way to cope with the separation of his parents – this coping mechanism turns into an addiction though, & with addiction comes numbness & bad decisions. Although this book wasn’t perfect, I did enjoy it – I obviously share the same sense of humour as the author so I laughed a lot, but the book also made me think & taught me things about addiction that I didn’t previously know or understand.
I was sent an eARC of this book by Sky Pony Press in return for an honest review.
This book contains discussions of masturbation, pornography, drug abuse, alcoholism, overdoses, suicide, depression, sex, cancer, murder & addiction.
The Temptation of Adam was written in a way that made it very easy to read; there was great humour laced throughout the story & the teenagers within the book felt very modern, with their choice of words, their attitude & their endless sarcasm. They also used technology like real teenagers & they had realistic parents. Although my list of negatives for this read is longer than my list of positives, I did actually really enjoy this read & it was the first book I picked up in 10 days that I was actually able to finish!
The writing in The Temptation of Adam had a constant fast pace to it, which in some ways was great as it kept the story going & kept things interesting, whilst also helping to build up the mindset/character of an addict. But, at times the pace was so fast that I found it difficult to concentrate & on more than one occasion I caught myself skim-reading; something which I don’t do very often. Despite this, as I got deeper into the book, the writing started to feel a little addictive (I’m not sure if this was done on purpose or not) & I found it very hard to put the book down during the second half. In some ways it felt like more effort was put into the second half of the book, & that if you managed to get past the first half, you were really in for a treat. I did actually really enjoy the second half of the book & a lot of interesting things happened.
When it came to Connis’ writing of the characters my feelings were a bit mixed. On one hand some of the characters were beautifully complicated, with unpredictable emotions & reactions, mainly due to their addictions, but a couple of the characters (Elliot & Trey, ahem) were so underdeveloped that even after finishing the book I’m not sure who was who, or what their addictions were! This unbalanced character profiling meant that I went from being really into a scene, to not really being interested, & at times I didn’t understand what the point of Elliot & Trey were – other than to make up numbers. I know that books have background characters, & that’s fine; that isn’t the issue here, the issue is that these background characters were almost identical in speech patterns which made it difficult for me to notice, or care, who said what.
There was also an underlying similarity between all of the characters, even the ones who were more developed, in terms of the constant sarcasm & the fact that they all had the same sense of humour – a sense of humour that was made to seem as if intelligence was needed in order to understand it. A lot of the main characters did have their own stories/backgrounds & were enjoyable in their own ways, but they were just too similar! I know that people who band (if you’ve read the book that was an accidental pun) together as friends often have things in common, but this just felt like some of the characters had been copied & pasted, with only minor adjustments made. Having said this, the character profiling & development was another thing that improved as the story went on.
Although I’ve just been pretty harsh about the way the characters were written, I did actually really love the two very main characters; Dez & Adam. It’s been a long time since I’ve rooted for a couple as much as I did for Dez & Adam, & all I ever wanted for them both was for them to overcome their issues so they could be happy in themselves, & together. Dez was really great – she was the onion of the book, with so many layers that were continuously being peeled away right into the final pages; she also had a brilliant sense of humour, but I might only being saying that because she actually reminded me a bit of myself. Considering this is a book about addicts I’m not actually sure if that’s a good thing though.
Adam was also really interesting, & he was a good character to read from the perspective of – being able to really get inside his head meant that I was able to learn a lot about addiction, & as he was addicted to porn (rather than something like drugs or alcohol) I was able to understand the emotional side of addiction a lot better. I don’t know if the author has experienced addiction, but the book definitely felt like it had been written by an addict. I really appreciated that Adam didn’t just magically become cured as well; instead, throughout the whole of the book he was alternating between being in a really good place, to being in a really bad place, & the transition between these two states was always written & presented really well. I definitely connected to Adam, & Dez, on a very emotional level & Connis has 100% done a good job of evoking an emotional response from his readers.
The way that the actual addictions were written was done really well too – at least in my opinion. Adam’s thoughts were always very messy & Connis made sure that Adam would always end up thinking about porn again, regardless of what situation he was in – Connis never let me forget that Adam was an addict & this was such a key part of why this book worked. Dez’s behaviour was also incredibly messy & she behaved so erratically that it was obvious she was an addict – it was still made very clear though, that Dez still was a person, & a young one at that, with feelings & intelligence & thoughts & all of that other stuff & her human-ness always shined through her addiction.
I also appreciated how Adam’s family reacted to the notion that he was an addict & I loved how accepting they were – despite how damaged Adam’s dad was himself, he managed to snap out of this when he son needed him & this was great to see. As I’ve said in other reviews, it’s very rare that we have parents in YA that are good parents & I’m so pleased that The Temptation of Adam generally had a very positive stance on parents! Even with Dez, whose parents weren’t necessarily the best, they still ran to her when she needed them & this made me all sorts of emotional. The parents in this book were also quite responsible & they put rules in place!!! Even though the teens do end up going on some sort of adventure, the parents know & Adam’s older sister is sent along to keep an eye on them!
The final thing I want to talk about in this rather long review is the two things that made the book feel a little unrealistic…
1. For some reason the teenagers in this book seemed to have a lot of money – they were constantly meeting at a milkshake bar & all I kept thinking was… HOW ARE THEY FUNDING ALL THE MILKSHAKES?! It actually got to the point that I was really angry about it; we know that Dez’s parents are super rich, & as Dez doesn’t have a job we can assume she gets some sort of allowance from her parents – but this goes totally against her character & her values. Plus, none of the other teenage characters seemed to have jobs & yet they were always buying milkshakes without any comments being made about their allowance or wages running low. In some scenes it would be okay to guess that Adam’s older sister was paying the bill, but she couldn’t have been earning that much money; regardless of how good at her job she was & Adam’s dad only worked in publishing so I don’t see how he would have been able to fund all these bloody milkshakes! Poverty is something that is massively avoided or just totally ignored in YA & I’m planning to write a post about it some time soon… seriously, how did they afford all the milkshakes?!
2. The whole idea of Mr Cratcher, who I haven’t actually mentioned before now but whom is a huge part of the story, was ridiculously unbelievable. Mr Cratcher is the one who runs the addicts meetings for the teenagers in the story, & he knows Adam because he taught both Adam & his sister Addy. My issue with Mr Cratcher was that I don’t see how he would have been allowed to spend so much time, unsupervised, with a group of teenagers – especially at his own home! I know Mr Cratcher was a good guy & all he wanted was to help these damaged kids, but I’m fairly certain that he would not have been allowed to do what he was doing in the UK! Plus, the background story that comes out & inspires the adventure the teens go on was just a bit too far-fetched & was definitely hard to believe.
Also, spoiler: Adam’s parents should not have got back together!!!
Okay so, this was a pretty mixed review, but I want to make it clear that I did enjoy this book; it was funny & educational, & I connected with the characters quite well – it also got me out of a mini reading slump & for that I am very grateful. I think this book is definitely worth reading, but I know it won’t be for everyone; I think you definitely have to have a very dry sense of humour to understand the characters in the book & you’ve got to be able to deal with the fact that a lot of the book is based on stuff that isn’t necessarily believable… but hey, it’s fiction, it’s not supposed to be completely believable!
It’s available on Amazon.co.uk from December 7th, Waterstones from November 23rd & from Amazon.com & Barnes & Noble from November 21st, but all of these retailers provide the option to pre-order the book now.
Unfortunately, it isn’t available from Audible.