I absolutely loved Sex & Violence. It's a book that isn't plot centered but instead character driven and the characterization is done extremely well, making it my favorite aspect of the story. That said, the characters in this book are older teens and it does deal with mature content so I would recommend this book to teenagers ages 16 and up.
Sex & Violence follows Evan Carter after an unfortunate incident in his school’s bathroom. After being brutally assaulted for having a sexual relationship with another student, Evan’s father moves him to his home town. For Evan, moving isn’t anything new but the residents of the town are. Evan’s gone to a number of schools over the past few years and is used to being the guy no one is ever friends with. During his summer in Minnesota, however, things changed. Through no aspirations of his own, Evan ended up befriending the locals in his new town and, probably, had the best summer of his life.
The characterization in Sex & Violence is done beautifully. Although many of the characters say things that are offensive, it’s done in a way that doesn’t feel forced or ridiculous. Throughout the entire novel, the characters felt real. They were characterized consistently and even when they said offensive things, it didn’t feel as though the characters were saying offensive things just to say them. They were convincing.
Sex & Violence follows Evan’s character arc instead of a line of action or plot. Evan’s summer in Minnesota changed his life in more ways than one. Not only did he learn to actually deal with his dad, he made friends (through no real effort of his own), he learned to get along with his dad, bonded with his uncle, and made a lot of changes for the better for himself.