Review: The Temptation of Adam by Dave Connis

Title: The Temptation of Adam
Author: Dave Connis
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Hardcover, 224 Pages
Published November 2017

Summary: Adam Hawthorne is fine. Yeah, his mother left, his older sister went with her, and his dad would rather read Nicholas Sparks novels than talk to him. And yeah, he spends his nights watching self-curated porn video playlists. But Adam is fine. When a family friend discovers Adam’s porn addiction, he’s forced to join an addiction support group: the self-proclaimed Knights of Vice. He goes because he has to, but the honesty of the Knights starts to slip past his defenses. Combine that with his sister’s out-of-the-blue return and the attention of a girl he meets in an AA meeting, and all the work Adam has put into being fine begins to unravel. Now Adam has to face the causes and effects of his addiction, before he loses his new friends, his prodigal sister, and his almost semi-sort-of girlfriend.

I received a copy of this book from Dave Connis's agent, Eric Smith, who is perhaps one of the best literary agents in the book/blogging community right now, and he is SO incredibly generous to bloggers all of of the time, and it's thanks to him that I get to read so many exciting, incredible books! Of course, The Temptation of Adam is no different. So without further ado, let's get into the review!

So as the summary explains, Adam is a teenage boy with a porn addiction. To make matters worse, he does something apparently so horrible that he finds himself almost expelled from school. So, as a method of coping (and not getting expelled), Adam finds himself at a support group called the Knights of Vice, talking through his problems and addictions with peers that have some problems of their own. The only issue? Adam isn't willing to admit that he has a problem. On top of that, he's struggling to accept the divorce of his parents and the disappearance of his sister. So, needless to say, his life is pretty difficult. But then Adam finds himself bonding with people he never expected to and uncovering secrets about one old man that he thought he had so figured out, and these discoveries lead them on a journey with both adventure and tragedy in the hopes of finding what they are searching for.

My favorite part about this book was definitely the Knights of Vice. They were such a unique group that all had so many different issues, and I feel like Connis made it very realistic to have some people openly acknowledging their flaws while some were more reserved and in denial. I feel like creating a support group where everyone just immediately opens up and admits their flaws isn't entirely realistic, and Connis seems to be aware of that, based on how he created the Knights of Vice with all of their differing personalities and attitudes. 

As for my favorite character in the book, Addy was the one that I constantly found myself relating to, laughing with, and just generally enjoying the most. She was such a good big sister to Adam even when he could be downright rotten to her, and seeing the strength of their bond among all of the other tragedies going on in his life was, to be totally stereotypical here, a shining beacon of hope. That was definitely a relationship in the book that I really enjoyed seeing.

However, there were just a few things about this book that I wasn't super keen on. One was more of a picky issue than anything else, but there were a lot of obvious typos in this book. It just took me out of the story a lot and was a bit distracting. For example, there was one line in the book that said "What are you up too?" and I did a double-take because it caught my eye almost immediately. I totally understand typos appearing in ARCs because those are unfinished copies, but this is a finished copy of the book with at least 7-8 obvious, eye-catching typos that distracted me a bit from the narrative. But like I said, that's more of a pickiness issue than anything else.

The character in this book that I absolutely could not stand at all was Dez, from the start of the book to the end, and it made some aspects of this book really frustrating for me. She was so hot and cold, which you find out makes a lot more sense in the end, but just as a person I didn't like her very much. (Minor spoilers here, please skip to the next paragraph if you haven't read the book yet!) Adam eventually comes forward and confronts her about a lot of the stuff that frustrates me in the end, but she still doesn't seem to change much. Their entire relationship seemed weird from the start, clicking and beginning almost immediately from the minute he sees her at the diner. It just felt a bit forced to me. And then throughout the rest of the book she is always switching between emotions and saying she loves Adam and then saying they can't ever be together and things just seem to always be her way or the highway and... *sigh* it just got really frustrating, and I don't know what Connis's intention was with the reader liking or disliking Dez, but I really disliked her a lot.

The other complaints I had about this book were pretty minor but still frustrating nonetheless. For starters, I know that Adam had a serious issue that he needed to face, but sometimes the way he talked (or thought internally) about women just made me feel a bit...weird, I guess? I really wasn't a fan of that. And other than that, I feel like the issue that led Adam to being suspended wasn't revealed to us until very late in the book, definitely past the middle point. So as a reader it was frustrating to have the event alluded to without any context so many times throughout the book and being kept totally in the dark for so long. Did he kill someone? Sexually assault them? Cheat on a test? I had absolutely no idea what Adam could've done (especially since he made it so clear so many times that it wasn't related to porn) to land him in so much trouble to be suspended for such a long time, and after awhile it got a bit frustrating not to know.

However, even though I wasn't a big fan of this book, I still enjoyed reading it and I liked it. It took me through the story of an addict struggling to admit his problem while also dealing with other drama and breakdowns in his everyday life. The writing style as a whole was good, and I was interested in the book to the point that I managed to read 200+ pages in one day, so that's always a good sign! And like I always say, just because a book isn't totally my cup of tea doesn't mean it can't be yours. :)

Overall, The Temptation of Adam is a book that takes you on a roller coaster of emotion and I enjoyed reading it. If you're looking for some humor, adventure, and even a little bit of mystery and the fighting of vice, this is the book for you!

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