Review: Knee Deep by Jolene Perry

Knee Deep is an interesting look into abuse and how it progresses in a relationship.

The story follows Ronnie Bird as she gears up for a great senior year with her boyfriend Shawn and best friends Luke and Mindy. Shawn has been working a lot and extra tense, so Ronnie is determined to be there for him. But, she keeps doing things to upset him, like wearing platform shoes. As the story progresses, Shawn becomes increasingly controlling, belittling, and possessive it is obvious that he’s going to hurt her.

As Ronnie’s relationship spins out of control, her friendship with Luke begins to change, as well. Luke has been her best friend for years, but as Shawn’s behavior becomes more irrational and as Ronnie starts to do things, like Drama Club, on her own, she find her feelings for Luke changing from friendly to romantic. Recognizing how she feels only adds to her guilt and confusion about Shawn.

I know people who have been in physically and mentally abusive relationships, so I’m familiar with how difficult it can be for them to leave, but I found it very interesting to see inside Ronnie’s mind as Shawn’s behavior progressed into more dangerous acts. Author Jolene Perry did an excellent job of showing Ronnie’s guilt, confusion, and conflicted emotions. While you read her rationalizations you can’t help but think, “Are you kidding?” but they are actually very realistic.

Because Luke recognizes what is happening and is hurt by her rebukes when he shares his feelings for her, it is not clear how the story will end, which I loved. I’m over triangles in which it is clear who will end up together once you hit the middle of the book, so how Perry plotted the resolution was a breath of fresh air.

If you are interested in a realistic look at a situation faced by millions of women, I suggest Knee Deep.

3 1/2 stars

About Knee Deep

Shawn is the guy Ronnie Bird promised her life to at the age of fourteen. He’s her soul mate. He’s more uptight every day, but it’s not his fault. His family life is stressful, and she’s adding to it. She just needs to be more understanding, and he’ll start to be the boy she fell in love with. She won’t give up on someone she’s loved for so long.

Luke is her best friend, and the guy she hangs with to watch girlie movies in her large blanketopias. He’s the guy she can confide in before she even goes to her girlfriends, and the guy who she’s playing opposite in Romeo and Juliet. Now her chest flutters every time he gets too close. This is new. Is Ronnie falling for him? Or is Juliet? The lines are getting blurry, but leaving one guy for another is not something that a girl like Ronnie does.

Shawn’s outbursts are starting to give her bruises, and Luke’s heart breaks as Ronnie remains torn. While her thoughts and feelings swirl around the lines between friendship and forever, she’s about to lose them both.

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About Jolene Perry

Jolene grew up in Wasilla, Alaska. She graduated from Southern Utah University with a degree in political science and French, which she used to teach math to middle schoolers.

After living in Washington, Utah and Las Vegas, she now resides in Alaska with her husband, and two children. Aside from writing, Jolene sews, plays the guitar, sings when forced, and spends as much time outside as possible.

She is also the author of Night Sky and The Next Door Boys.

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