My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

ARC Review: White Fur by Jardine Libaire

Please Note:  I received an advanced reader's copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
When Elise Perez meets Jamey Hyde on a desolate winter afternoon, fate implodes, and neither of their lives will ever be the same. Although they are next-door neighbors in New Haven, they come from different worlds. Elise grew up in a housing project without a father and didn't graduate from high school; Jamey is a junior at Yale, heir to a private investment bank fortune and beholden to high family expectations. Nevertheless, the attraction is instant, and what starts out as sexual obsession turns into something greater, stranger, and impossible to ignore.

The unlikely couple moves to Manhattan in hopes of forging an adult life together, but Jamey's family intervenes in desperation, and the consequences of staying together are suddenly severe. And when a night out with old friends takes a shocking turn, Jamey and Elise find themselves fighting not just for their love, but also for their lives.


To say that White Fur, by Jardine Libaire, is a gritty love story would be a vast understatement.  This saga of love, sex, boredom, and obsession, is mesmerizing, at times.  But afterwards, I felt like I needed a shower.

What I Liked:
Elise is a bit of a stereotype, at first.  She never graduated from high school, doesn't seem to have any ambitions, and (of course) had an abusive childhood.  But as the story progresses, I found I really loved her character.   Elise is kind, loyal, and truly loves Jamie.  She is not a gold-digger, as everyone thinks.  She sees Jamie as a trapped soul who doesn't know how to live.  And her mission in life is to set him free.

Jamie's mother, Tory, is also well-written.  Although I can't say I liked her character, I had some empathy with how she was used up by Jamie's family, and then kicked to the curb.  She, luckily, has a successful acting career.  But she is a bitter woman, using people just as she was used by the Hyde's.

What I Was Mixed About:
The author's seems to favor painting a series of disjointed moments to set a mood.  I suppose that the book is written almost as a collection of memories, much of which are just flashes of moments.   This can be beautiful, but needs to be done sparingly in order to get maximum effect.

What I Didn't Like:
I will say right now that I do not like explicit sex scenes in books.  I think it detracts from the story.  This book goes way beyond explicit and becomes a series of strange, disturbing moments of experimentation.  That would be bad enough, but the author has decided to go into minute details of body functions (and fluids), and it was way too much for me.  I didn't find it at all sexy.

Jamie was a very unlikable person.  I know he is a lost boy and Elise loves him, but I thought Elise deserved better.  Several times in the book, the Hyde family is awful to Elise, belittling her and actually laughing at her.  Jamie does nothing to come to her defense.  He is, for much of the book, ashamed of her.  It's as if Elise is a base sort of need that he needs to feel guilty about.  

Jamie somewhat gets over that feeling as the story goes on.  But something happens towards the end of the book that shows what a jerk he is.  Instead of being there for Elise, he shuts her out, wallowing in his anger at his family.  I became rather tired of the poor misunderstood rich boy routine.   

The ending seemed rushed and didn't ring true to me.  As I don't like to give away spoilers, I will only say that this ending felt like a way for the characters to gain some happiness to make up for all the terrible things that happened to them over the course of the book.  Considering how raw the previous sections were, this ending was almost like a dream of the characters.






Release Date:  May 30th, 2017

Genre:  General Fiction

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  ARC E-book

Recommendation:  If you enjoy gritty realism, coupled with depictions of raw sexual desires, you will enjoy this book.  Despite the beautiful imagery, it was too graphic for me.
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