Tue
Dec 9 2014 10:30am

First Look: Katy Evans’s Ripped (December 9, 2014)

Ripped by Katy EvansKaty Evans
Ripped (Real)
Gallery / December 9, 2014 / $15.00 print, $7.99 digital

Pandora assumed getting her heart broken by her bad boy ex could only happen once—until Mackenna Jones comes back to town for the biggest concert of his career. They say girls are getting pregnant just thinking about the Crack Bikini tour and it's destined to be a huge hit.

Oh, it'll be a hit alright—when Pandora comes out swinging. She and her friend Melanie are determined to humiliate him onstage. But when they're caught by security and her ex is summoned, Mackenna decides not to press charges if she'll join him on tour and follow certain conditions—rules designed to give him the upper hand and keep her in close contact with him once again. Soon, the passion they once shared is reignited, and no matter how much Pandora wants to hate him, her hard exterior starts to crack.

And worse: Mackenna knows it, too. But he hasn't uncovered all her secrets... 

Before we begin, let’s just get the band name out of the way, Crack Bikini. Yes, the hero is part of a band named Crack Bikini. All good? Let’s continue. Fans of Katy Evans’s Real series will be familiar with Brooke’s prickly friend, Pandora. Pandora may seem like a woman with too much baggage and no excuse on her shoulders, but in Ripped you find out why she’s so jaded. The short answer is Kenna. Kenna and Pandora were young lovers with large plans, but things didn’t work out. Pandora didn’t give Kenna the instant “I love you,” that he needed, so he took off and got on the train to music stardom. Now Crack Bikini is in Pandora’s town and she wants revenge. Revenge leads to a reunion and the two are back arguing and at times snuggling between the sheets.

Ripped is a really good look at what happens to young lovers scorned. Many times it’s very easy for the blame to lie mainly on one of the main characters. In Ripped, both protagonists are at fault—it's Pandora's fault she wasn't emotionally mature enough to cop to her feelings and Kenna's for not believing in what he and Pandora had. I did feel that Pandora came to terms with her mistakes a lot quicker than Kenna did. In fact, it was pretty nice to see a scenario in which Kenna had to do some serious backtracking and reflection on his behavior.

Ripped also addresses the issue of the different types of love a young adult and maturing young woman can face in her life. Pandora has different relationships with her mother, her young cousin, her friends Melanie and Brooke, as well as Kenna. Pandora is not particularly open with her friends, and her mother is closed off emotionally. When you find out why she’s named Pandora you’ll want to punch the mom, trust me. The first real sign of unconditional love we see from Pandora is with her young cousin. Meanwhile, Kenna has his own love issues to deal with. He didn’t come from the best family background and his perception of Pandora’s “betrayal” has left him somewhat emotionally distant. It’s up to the pair of them to overcome emotional roadblocks to forge a strong and lasting relationship.

Kenna is a rock star. However, I would not call this a “rocker” book so much as it is a relationship book. Most of the setting takes place behind the scenes. Granted, Pandora and Kenna are brought together while Kenna is on tour but you don’t get too many elaborate descriptions of multiple shows. Instead, the spotlight is really on what happens backstage and beyond the prying eyes of the crazy Crack Bikini fandom. In addition, Kenna’s fellow bandmates are very secondary characters, they don’t necessarily move the plot forward.

As a hero, Kenna is very different from Remy or Grayson from the other installments in the Real series. I’d almost argue that Kenna is the most openly emotional hero in the series. While Grayson and Remy express their angst and frustration through physical outlets, Kenna uses music as his creative outlet. In addition, Kenna is probably the least stereotypical alpha male of the trio. Does he get jealous? Yes. Is he possessive? Yes. But it is not to the same extreme that conditioned Remy and Grayson. He makes for an interesting hero because he is the least dominating hero in the Real series and we see more of a partnership between Pandora and Kenna than the necessarily male-guided pairings of Remy and Brooke and Grayson and Melanie.


 

Learn more about or order a copy of Ripped by Katy Evans, available now:

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Sahara Hoshi reviews for Wicked Lil Pixie and is a lifelong reader of romance. Favorite genres include new adult, paranormal romance, contemporary romance and erotica.

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