Published February 8th, 2012.
Carter didn’t rape me. People at school think he did. Suddenly, new friends are rushing to my side, telling me that Carter hurt them, too. They say he’s getting what he deserves.
Maybe I don’t want to fix this.
Sam is in love with her best friend Nick, but she can’t seem to tell him. So she decides to flirt with golden-boy Carter Wellesley, hoping Nick will see it and finally realize his true feelings for her.
On Monday, everyone at school is saying that Carter raped Sam. He didn’t, but Sam can’t find the words to tell the truth. Worst of all, she’s afraid she’ll lose Nick if he finds out what really happened.
As graduation approaches, Sam discovers that living the lie isn’t as easy as her new friends make it sound–and telling the truth might be even worse. (goodreads.com)
I thought I was going to get pretty enraged by IN TOO DEEP because I have some pretty strong feelings about girls crying rape but it wasn’t too bad. I think ultimately it was all handled really well, the protagonist went through a sufficient level of guilt and it wrapped itself up realistically so I really don’t have any complaints.
IN TOO DEEP tackled all the relevant avenues that it could potentially go down, I think, from claimant guilt to what’s happening to the guy to his future to her future to the repercussions to outward reactions in the face of the lie’s reality and a bunch of things in between. But it doesn’t touch on how a lie about rape ultimately undermines a claim of rape. In fairness it wasn’t relevant to the plot but at the same time I do wish it was touched upon. It’s hard enough for women that were raped to come forward. When a woman cries rape for her own gain it undermines the claim for all, making people that little bit less trustworthy of the next woman to claim she was raped because the last person they knew lied about it. There is just no winning for anyone when rape is claimed when it didn’t really happen and while IN TOO DEEP does touch upon most of it I do think it would have been just that little bit stronger if it broached undermining as well.
Irrespective of the lie it is pretty awful what Sam goes through when people believe it, especially at the hands of Carter’s friends who believe his story blindly. If it were true they’d still be doing the same thing and while it was rough to read something like that I think it’s unfortunately accurate. Rape is belittled constantly when it has actually happened so it’s no surprise that Sam suffered the things she did at the hands of the buddies of her supposed rapist.
It’s hard to say that Sam is a likable character because she cried rape and then perpetuated the lie due to peer pressure and a need for vengeance but I didn’t dislike her. I didn’t find her reprehensible or a disgusting human being. She’s a girl that was scorned by an incredible douche bag. That doesn’t make what she did right but I think it explained enough to make me believe it, especially when the other girls bring in their own stories. Yes, Carter was a douche and yes even I, reading this, felt just a little bit of joy seeing the high and mighty knocked from his pedestal. But rape is a devastating tag and not even the biggest of douche bags deserve to have that kind of lie haunting them for the rest of their lives. It only succeeds in ultimately turning the douche into a victim and garnering him sympathy. Kind of the adverse effect.
I found the end wholly satisfying because everything worked out how I felt it should for everything that had happened. For a while there I was a little afraid that it would tank, that I’d end up with another ACCOMPLICE that had me raging. It didn’t. All of the repercussions you’d expect to happen do and it feels right. Lessons are learned at great cost and life goes on for all. Sickly sweet need not apply. The end is rather ugly but it’s deserved and what’s even better Sam knows it and accepts it.
IN TOO DEEP delves into an aspect of a dark event that I don’t think too many people do. Everyone’s always so focused on the real act of rape that they don’t consider what an unsubstantiated accusation can do to someone. I like it for it’s difference in that regard. That’s not to impugn rape but look at it from another angle where things aren’t what they seem. The Duke lacrosse scandal is probably the most prominent example of something similar to IN TOO DEEP. It’s a good read and immensely satisfying, as odd as it sounds. I’m a fan of characters suffering realistic repercussions for their actions.
Ban Factor: Medium – Reading would need to be involved in this one to find the references to high school sex and drinking. On the surface it might not set off too many alarms although they may be intrigued to see how a liar suffers.