Ava DeSantis is a plain, unpopular college student when she is approached by a good looking man named Wesley who wants her to tutor him in a subject he struggles with. He invites her to a party and alcohol leads to her brutal rape by Wesley and two other men named David and Sebastian. She’s paid off by one man’s mother, in exchange for her silence. Although that should have been the end of it, Ava spends years plotting her revenge on the men who, after the rape, went on to lead very successful, happy lives as Ava continued to wrestle with her demons.
I’m of two minds when it comes this book. Before I begin the dissection, let me say that I did enjoy it, although at some points in this review, it may not seem like it. It is a very easy read and even at 390 pages, I finished it in two nights thanks to the fast-paced, engaging plot and interesting characters.
First, let’s look at the fact that The Raping of Ana DeSantis is classified as a horror novel. With the exception of a couple of parts, I would not consider this book a horror story. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just a fact. Ava kills her rapists in some horrific ways and the rape itself was terrifying and brutal. However, the horror stops there. I think that this book would be better classified as a dark thriller, not a horror novel. I guess it just depends on each individual’s definition of horror.
One thing I didn’t like in this book was the flip-flop from past to present. Although the title page for each chapter states the time and date of the events to follow, if you miss that, you’ll be lost for a moment. (Obviously I missed one or this wouldn’t have been an issue.)
The rape scene is literally one sentence long. It doesn’t need to be any longer. When the guys wake up from their night of partying, they (and we) discover the severity of Ava’s injuries after the rape, and it quickly becomes all too apparent what they had done. To cover their crime, they do some unimaginable things to Ava involving a turkey baster, a golf umbrella and bleach before taking her to the hospital.
Despite what I feel are this novel’s minor shortcomings, the plot flowed perfectly and the characters were incredibly realistic. Carbia painted a horrifying picture of rape, recovery and revenge. The ending surprised me, and there’s even a little humour thrown in to break the tension which builds slowly throughout the book. The imagery in The Raping of Ava DeSantis is vivid and Ava’s loss and need for revenge, palpable.
I think this book will appeal to anyone who enjoys a psychological thriller, although it has enough gore to appeal to many horror fans as well. The author has a crisp writing style with multidimensional characters and a firm grasp on plot structure. I will certainly be on the lookout for other books by Ms. Carbia.
The Raping of Ava DeSantis releases on October 13, but you can buy it early by clicking here.
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