The girl who’s had everyone meets the boy who has no one.
For Bella, the sweet-talking, free-loving, hip-checking student manager of the Harkness men’s hockey team, sex is a second language. She’s used to being fluent where others stutter, and the things people say behind her back don’t (often) bother her. So she can’t understand why her smoking hot downstairs neighbor has so much trouble staying friends after their spontaneous night together. She knows better than to worry about it, but there’s something in those espresso eyes that makes her second guess herself.
Rafe is appalled with himself for losing his virginity in a drunken hookup. His strict Catholic upbringing always emphasized loving thy neighbor—but not with a bottle of wine and a box of condoms. The result is an Ivy League bout of awkwardness. But when Bella is leveled by a little bad luck and a downright sinister fraternity stunt, it’s Rafe who is there to pick up the pieces.
Bella doesn’t want Rafe’s help, and she’s through with men. Too bad the undeniable spark that crackles between the two of them just can’t be extinguished.
If you’ve been following my reviews, you know how much I love Sarina Bowen; but I never thought she’d be the one to finally write a book like this one. The Shameless Hour is a big, fat and loud middle finger to slut-shaming, and to double standards. It’s also a big shout out to feminism, and to diveristy, both cultural and sexual.
Bella’s enthusiasm had obliterated all of my caution. She wanted me. And I could no longer think of any reason why I couldn’t have this.
But let’s start from the beginning. Rafe is about to meet with his girlfriend, to celebrate their birthdays and finally losing their virginity, but he finds out she’s cheating on him (ouch), so that’s when he sees Bella, his neighbour, and they end up having a one-night stand. Rafe is immediatly ashemed of himself, both because of his upbringing, and because he doesn’t do casual. On the other hand, Bella doesn’t do relationships. But she loves sex, and that’s what she does. So finally we have a role reversal to our usual NA scheme.
I was tainted. And nobody was ever going to let me forget it.
I loved Bella since I read The Understatement of the Year, which is a great M/M book, and I was so excited to read her book. She’s just great, she’s not afraid of being herself, she tries as best as she can to ignore what people say about her, she’s a woman through and through, fighting for respect and equality. But then she gets in trouble, and shame and fear get the better of her. Something’s put on the internet, and Bella can’t even get out of her room without feeling everyone’s judgemental eyes on her. I think Sarina Bowen got perfectly the character development, and Bella’s reaction to what happened to her.
“You’re not okay. And I’m the one who noticed.”
Rafe is, at first, the only one to be there for her. Since he’s a great guy, he’s there as a friend. He gives her the strenght to fight for herself, to understand that she has no reason to be ashamed, that what anyone else thinks doesn’t matter, and that she’s not alone. Thanks to his insistence, Bella finds it in herself to go out, to live, and to try to move on.
“All good things are risky.”
What I loved the most about this book was everything it dealt with. First of all, slut-shaming. Bella is “slutty” to basically everyone but the hockey team she works with, and I loved that we got to see the “slutty” character as the heroine of the story, fighting all double standars. Then we have Rafe who is of Dominican origin and not as rich as most of the Harkness students, and some gay, bi, and even asexual characters (and that’s something I’d never read about before, so slow clapping for the author). Then she talked about rape-drugs, cyber bullying, and STDs. I mean this book simply and truthfully deals with everything you want to read about.
It’s hard to admit you’re just in someone’s periphery when you imagined you were closer to the center of their world.
And of course, there’s a romance to die for. Rafe is a bit naive, while Bella is loud and has no filter, so it was funny to see him getting all flustered whenever she made a sexual innuendo. He’s very sweet, and she’s always trying to play the tough one, but she melts whenever those espresso eyes look at her. It was super cute.
People say that revenge is sweet. And they’re right. But lying naked beside the boy who guards your heart is even sweeter.
Now I can’t wait to read Lianne’s book! (Bella’s floormate, who’s a Hollywood celebirty and a hacker, but hides in her room; should be fun).