Review: Coercion by Lux Zakari

How far will one woman go for love?

Introverted and insecure Valerie Mercer was promised that during her senior year of college she would finally attract attention from boys…but never dreamed that would include Michael Vartanian.

Good looking, troubled and every parent’s nightmare, Michael is adamant on introducing Valerie to a world of both pleasure and, inadvertently, heartbreak. His interest in Valerie is dependent upon the mood and fidelity of his on-and-off-again girlfriend, Breeze.

Nevertheless, Valerie lets her hope and desire override common sense and soon finds she can’t deny Michael anything…no matter what’s at stake.

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Rosalie's Review: 5/5

I truly had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book, but what I received was something out of left field: a realistic coming-of-age story with characters so real you nearly expect to run into them on the street.

Coercion is a bittersweet tale about a shy young woman, Valerie, who enters her senior year of college, thinner and optimistic about her romantic prospects. She attracts male attention, which is foreign to her, and also encounters a high school crush – bad boy, bad-influence Michael.

Michael is everything Valerie is not. He’s not academically ambitious, not particularly driven by anyone or anything, a habitual drug user, and constantly on the outs with his longtime girlfriend, Breeze. Michael is particularly taken with Breeze almost to the point of obsession; they don’t get along most of the time, but mutual understanding keeps drawing them back to each other. They are routinely unfaithful while still remaining jealous of the other’s infidelity. Breeze goes through a number of both reputed and verified sexual partners, while Michael notices sweet Valerie, and proceeds to take her on a dark sexual journey, either unaware or apathetic that her heart is in the balance.

This book was—oh, what’s the word—fantastic. It typically isn’t my sort of story, admittedly, but I found I couldn’t stop reading. Every page, every word, hell, every syllable drew me in even more. What really propelled the novel forward were the characters. These were true people on a page, complete with their virtues and vices. I really loved Valerie, even in her weaker moments, even when I thought she was a complete moron for the way she allowed herself to be treated. Sometimes people are morons. Sometimes people are weak. Sometimes people make the wrong choice for the wrong reasons. Sometimes people do the same thing over and over again expecting different results. Sometimes, smart girls fall for the bad boy. And if we’re being truthful, the bad boy doesn’t always turn into Prince Charming. Sometimes it goes exactly the way it should.

This novel was a perfect blend of characterization, dialogue, writing, angst, realism, and the unexpected happy ending. Anyone who loves a good story will adore Coercion. I eagerly await Lux Zakari’s next work. This is definitely an author to watch.