Be prepared for a sort of lengthy, semi-personal review of my favourite book this year. You have been warned.
The Temptation of Adam is about Adam Hawthorne’s fine life. Ever since his mother left, Adam’s life began spiralling down. He has to live with his estranged father who would rather read Nicholas Sparks novels than talk to him. His older sister that he admires so much left with his mother. Oh, and he curates porn video playlists and watches them at night. But he’s fine.
When a family friend discovers Adam’s porn addiction, he’s forced to join an addiction support group: the self-proclaimed Knights of Vice. From there, he meets a girl that might just be broken as him, his sister returns unexpectedly, and things are starting to look up for real in Adam’s life. But will he let his addictions get the best of him?
PORNO IS NOT TABOO, YO!
When I first found out about this book and its wonderful premise, I was like: omg, I need this book in my hands ASAP. Because where have I seen a YA book that talks about porn addiction? Personally, I haven’t encountered one prior to reading this book, but let’s face it: talking about what gets you off is totally awkward, and I love the risk Connis took in writing and delivering this book unto the world.
ADDICTIONS, SUPPORT GROUPS, AND A MISSING ALBUM.
Besides the pornos, the book also deals with addiction in general and its various forms. When Adam first attends a Knights of Vice meeting, he meets a circle of teenagers who, like him, have their own little vices. There’s alcohol addiction, sex addiction, drug addiction, and even addiction addiction or being addicted to addiction. That’s a lot of addictions lol. And it didn’t feel like Connis was trying too hard to be inclusive for everyone here. These addicted teenagers weren’t mere plot devices just to drive the point of the book. They were memorable.
Speaking of the Knights of Vice, I thought they were a highlight of the story. If I could join a support group for life I would gladly choose to join this group of young-adults. I actually almost teared up in one scene when Adam and the Knights were all gathered and talking about overcoming their addictions. Talking about wanting to be normal.
Now the Knights of Vice are sort of assembled by Mr. Colin Cratcher – Adam’s chemistry teacher who happens to be a record producer in his spare time. The book goes off in this arc about Mr. Cratcher finishing a decades old album with Adam during his probationary period from school. It may look like that a lot is going on with this book, but every arc is connected and eventually leads up to this…ending! I don’t want to spoil it for y’all, so you just have to read it.
Though the ambitious plot is also one of my few critiques of this book. Amazing and well-written as it was, I can’t help but ponder after the read if there’s more to tell in this story.
THIS BOOK IS PRETTY SIGNIFICANT TO ME.
I entitled this review in this way because I really felt the impact of Adam’s story in my current life situation. Because I myself struggle with pornography.
It didn’t come to a point wherein my perusal of porn turned into a full-grown addiction, but I believe I was already heading in that direction. This happened around three years ago. I found self-acceptance and self-worth in watching faceless bodies getting it on in my phone screen. It was unhealthy and I was already in a bad place with my anxiety at that time.
Why am I saying this? I believe the greatest books out there is like this. They make you write long-ass, personal reviews. They make you open up about your messy life to strangers on the internet. Up until now I struggle with the temptation of opening a private tab on my phone and scroll through porn, but this book made me not do it.
Now I don’t want to romanticise this entire situation by saying oh, read this book and you’ll be cured of your addiction! I still believe getting help from your family and friends is the way to go, and stories like these are only moments of inspiration/motivation for you to make that first step into getting better.
And if anyone’s curious, I’m living pretty fine without pornography. Two weeks isn’t groundbreaking but hey, it’s progress.
These kinds of books are always the hardest ones to write reviews to. I find I always have a lot to say but I can’t fathom them into coherent sentences and/or critiques.
The Temptation of Adam is damn near perfect. I love everything about this book – plot, characters, writing, ending (!). Dave Connis is an exciting new voice in YA, I hope you don’t miss him amidst all the buzz.
And because I can, allow me to quote my favourite line from the book (not final btw!):
We’re all variables of broken and holy light, and that’s the only thing about the world that doesn’t change.