Saturday, 15 October 2016

Confess by Colleen Hoover & Domestic Violence in YA

Confess is pretty unique in its premise. It tells the story of Owen, an artist whose art is inspired by people's anonymous confessions.

Side bar - I kept thinking, this is such a good idea why has noone thought about this?! - Perfect example of Colleen Hoover's creative prowess. 

He's in desperate need of an assistant to work in his studio and in walks Auburn and unbeknown to her, Owen is harbouring his own secret linked to her past. Auburn has had it pretty tough in her teenage years and finds herself taking Owen's job offer because she desperately needs the money. And once Owen comes into her life, everything changes and they soon find there are secrets that threaten to destroy them ....

This story, like every Colleen Hoover book I've read so far, juggles some heavy themes and does so really effortlessly.
This just makes the entire story feel so whole and real because it isn't necessarily about one thing in the same way we don't always battle with one issue at a time. It's a romance and a familial drama and a story about abuse and a coming of age story. All of these themes coupled with the fact that there is a strong element of secrecy binding these themes together is why I think you can essentially read this book in one sitting.

Owen and Auburn narrate the alternate chapters which, at times, made it so much more emotionally draining because you feel everything that both protagonists are feeling and going through. You continue to find yourself drawn into both of their worlds as we slowly discover some, at times, shocking things about them. Another heads up on Colleen Hoover, there's always at least one thing something that you don't see coming unlike most YA which also keeps it fresh from other YA you might read (seriously I always try and guess and you will

Confess however didn't flow as well as It Ends with Us mainly  because, a lot of Owen's dialogue was so over dramatic and self indulgent. I also didn't appreciate the insta-love vibes I was getting in Chapter 1 it came across as a little creepy and obsessive. So given everything that happens to Auburn later on I reaallly didn't want her to be involved with this kind of person.

It is however still important read because of how it portrays the complexity of abuse. Here is a character who because of things that happened to her which were beyond her control, is subject and vulnerable to emotional, psychological and sexual abuse. And even if we see these themes in YA, rarely do we see them outside the paradigms of romantic relationships. This is the sort of genre I didn't know I needed to read more of until now. Not only that, it's also so great when an author decides to use a younger character to tell this kind of story. For a 21 year old, Auburn has already experienced a lot. And so have a lot of other young people who I think socially, are sometimes forgotten in this narrative.

Confess is heartbreaking and hopeful all rolled into one.

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