Published by Independent on May 17th, 2013
Silence is only skin deep.
Nineteen year old Daniel Colton is the guy all the girls want to date, and the man all the guys want to be. Moody, with an explosive temper, closed off and sullen, he's also beautiful, tatted in delicious ways, with a pierced eyebrow and spiky black hair. It's rumoured he has piercings in other places, too. Is he really mad, bad and dangerous to know?
Daniel lives with his older brother, Zef, and their home is party central. You want drugs, a good time, liquor, no questions asked? Colton's is the place to go.
When Daniel and good girl Lisanne Maclaine have to work together on an assignment, Lisanne finds there's a lot more to the college’s bad boy than his reputation. He's intelligent and funny and good company. And then she discovers his secret, why he's so closed off to everyone, and determined to keep people at arms' length. But being his secret - keeper is harder than she ever dreamed.
I’ve been trying to branch out of my dystopian/paranormal YA bubble and read some more contemporary fiction which has inevitably led to me crossing paths with New Adult. It’s been…difficult at times but I’m slowly coming around to it although it is frustrating as hell at times. When I was asked to review Dangerous to Know & Love I was naturally hesitant especially since it came with a warning and well… I have a teddy-bear in my Blog header (I’ve asked teddy to close his eyes for the remainder of this review) so at first glance I’m not a “read a book that comes with a warning” kind of girl…or maybe I am? (evil giggle)
Jane Harvey-Berrick is an author I have never come across before and after reading DTK&L I am a bit miffed about that because boy can she tell a story! She took the NA formula, shook some magic dust on it and created a fresh, touching, utterly absorbing story that I could.not.put.down. I still can’t put my finger on why but I thoroughly enjoyed the ride!
The story centres around Lisanne, a college freshman, a bit green and wet behind the ears, a music student, she’s firmly entrenched in her role of the good girl knowing no better. Daniel Colton, the “bad boy”, tattoos, motorcycle steamy glances, whispers of a reputation for sex, drugs and trouble follow him wherever he goes. This is about the time I go “DNF” but something stopped me and despite my misgivings I kept going. Like I said, Berrick knows how to turn a tale on its head. Daniel has a secret, one I was not expecting. It’s not horrible, it’s not going to make you wince or rant like secrets in NA usually do. It will make you think…about the difficulties of being different, the prejudices you hold deep down, whether you could cope in the same situation as the person holding the secret or the one tasked with keeping it.
Our unlikely couple come together over a school project and soon become closer. What I loved most about this book was how “real” it was. The language, the thought processes of the characters, the scenarios were at times achingly awkward but real. There’s no magic chemistry, insta-love, love conquers all type themes going on here. It’s brutally honest, searingly so, at times I winced at the honesty and could not help but get caught up in the relationship of Daniel and Lisanne.
Daniel was my favourite character. Boy does he have a filthy mouth and a sex drive more powerful than a Grand Prix Ferrari. He comes from the wrong side of the tracks mostly because of his brother’s sins but he’s not squeaky clean. While intelligent, mature and (mostly) level-headed, he is guilty of recreational drug use, casual sex and illegal activity. He holds the world at arm’s length to protect himself from its pitying eyes. He can’t stand the thought of people feeling sorry for him so watching his walls crumble slowly as he opened himself up to the love and trust Lisanne gives him was equally heartbreaking and inspiring.
Lisanne was frustrating. I didn’t connect with her as well and it was hard to warm up to her. The typical NA virgin, she was overly critical, naive to the point I thought there is no way in hell someone could be *this* sheltered and overly quick to throw a tantrum, I rolled my eyes at her more than once (a paragraph). As her world broadens (mostly through hot sex with Daniel) she did become more likeable and her best quality was her love for Daniel and her willingness to support him no matter what.
At times the storyline is quite heavy as we follow Daniel and Lisanne through their struggles to reconcile with Daniel’s secret, his reputation and home life. Berrick is not afraid to scale the boundaries of political correctness and really paints a picture of the narrow and petty attitudes held by those who judge first and ask questions later. The anger rising from Daniel in frustration over his situation and his inability to trust those around him was palpable and both he and Lisanne were quick to fly off the handle creating a high state of tension only rivalled by the sizzling, eroticism of their sexual encounters.
There were some moments of light relief interspersed throughout the book mostly sexual in nature including one utterly hilarious male bonding moment between Daniel and Lis’s younger brother than had me snorting through my hands.
DTK&L is a story of patience, love, compassion, sex, prejudice, trust and above all, hope. Utterly absorbing from start to finish, I couldn’t help but fall in love with Lisanne and Daniel’s beautiful,painful, intimate relationship and was sad when it came time to say goodbye. Loved it!