Title: The Ex Trials
Author: Heather Topham Wood
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5 STARS!
(it’s underlined, you know its serious)
*E-ARC recieved via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
One dream vacation in paradise.
One co-ed bachelor and bachelorette party.
One week marooned with my ex.
Six months ago, Casey Silvers ended her scorching romance with sexy rocker Cole Caldwell. None of her friends know the true reason behind her sudden change of heart. Despite her claim of their chemistry fizzling out, her feelings for Cole had never gone away.
After receiving the invitation to her best friend’s co-ed bachelor and bachelorette getaway, Casey knows she must once again face Cole. For one week, she’ll be forced to party alongside the man who has come to despise her. The tropical cruise is meant to be a trip to paradise, but Casey is certain it will turn out to be a vacation from hell.
But as the ship leaves port, past secrets are revealed—secrets that could change the fate of Casey’s romance with Cole. With forces keeping them together, Cole and Casey soon discover that the passion between them has yet to extinguish.
I received an E-ARC from netgalley in exchange for an honest review and it was ultimately the book description which made me want to pick it up. I thought this book would be a great light hearted read, I figured two exes on a cruise together would be filled with bantering back and forth and they would end up falling back in love but it actually really shocked me with the revealed secrets being of such deep subject matter. I felt like fist pumping the air with the message Wood was trying to convey.
The Ex Trials is a transcending contemporary romance, Wood acknowledges the problems in our society in relation to Women, double standards and rape culture and she drives home the point that we have to transform society away from both the rape culture it has created where the victim is always questioned and belittled as well as the double standards of Women. This is first shown in the opening scenes of the book which feature Casey’s inner monologue where she states ‘Society hadn’t evolved. We were still separating Women into the Madonna’s and the Whores’. I LOVED this not only for the incorporation of Casey’s inner monologue because this is a moment in which she is baring her soul, it is raw and honest and it allows us as the reader to enter her private thoughts. But also because of how true to reality this book is, why are Women referred to as ‘Sluts’ and ‘Whores’ for sleeping around when Men are praised and high fived. This was the beginning of the many questions the book poses to the reader in terms of society.
‘I think a therapist can help you learn things not only about yourself, but about how women perceive themselves. I’ve read up on rape culture and there’s this idea in our society that women allow themselves to be raped’
The Ex Trials, has so many different elements to it but it ultimately is Casey’s journey to find her true self and to have acceptance for who she is. As the story develops we understand that there is something Casey has to come to terms with and as she begins to understand this particular situation, she begins to see herself in a new light after making herself feel guilty and ultimately punishing herself for so long.
I would give The Ex Trials, 5 stars. I had no trouble finding myself immersed into this story and I didn’t want to put it down so I could find out what happened next. The revealing of secrets incorporated a sense of mystery which added another level to what I had initially expected to just be a light hearted romance. Overall I was left smiling over this book, I found the inclusion of rape culture and how our society perceives it to be really interesting, it’s unlike anything I have read before therefore making the book unique. I find it very reassuring that authors are willing to take the risk to include such subject matter in an attempt to make a difference in our society and it’s wonderful to see.
Overall I would recommend the Ex Trials to everyone, regardless if you are a fan of contemporary romance or not I think this book is worth your time to check out in relation to how realistic and honest the writing is in relation to our society’s problems with rape culture as well as the image society presents of Women. Throughout your reading experience you will see the romance elements but it also poses many questions to you as a reader which is an excellent skill Wood has because she is making the book hit you on a more personal level.
Would The Ex Trials be something you would be interested in reading? Let me know your thoughts in the comments and if you like it’s incorporation of the deeper issues of our society.