Monday 20 July 2015

Book Review: Rarity by D.A. Roach

Last Updated: 11 May 2021

Rarity by DA Roach book blog tour banner

AD* | Brogen Mathers can’t deal with teen drama... As an empath, she is constantly bombarded with other people’s energies. Despite coping techniques taught by her psychologist mother, it’s often too much to bear, forcing her to avoid most activities a typical high school junior would enjoy.

Jay Wilken won’t let his past define him... A dead mother and an alcoholic father brought Jay to Stanton, but he doesn’t want pity. His good looks, charisma and friendly nature quickly win over the whole student body, but he has his eye on one girl... Brogen.

Brogen can’t believe anyone could be so genuinely nice. It has to be an act, right? But when Jay literally saves her from deadly jaws, she has to admit he’s exactly what he appears, and he’s worth risking the potential emotional upheaval.

“Drama” might as well be Becca Grant’s middle name... Another newcomer to Stanton, Becca’s blonde beauty and abundant attitude shoot her straight to the top of the popularity charts - and she believes Jay belongs right there beside her. Accustomed to getting exactly what she wants, she launches a relentless mean-girl campaign to shake up Brogen and claim Jay for her own.

Everything changes with a devastating diagnosis... When Jay learns he has a rare and potentially fatal disorder, he keeps it secret and begins to push Brogen away to spare her future pain - which is exactly the sort of opening Becca is waiting for. As Jay’s well-meaning deception unravels, Brogen realizes there is much more than her heart at stake... But how far is she willing to go to fight for someone she loves?

Rarity by DA Roach book cover

Rarity is pretty unique among the contemporary YA I've read. It starts off pretty normal, featuring the usual romance and coming-of-age storyline, with the standard and expected love triangle between Brogen, Jay and Becca. But then it all changes following Jay's diagnosis of the chronic illness. It's important to get the word out there about rare disorders like vEDS, and fiction is a brilliant way to do that. The author handles it well, with care and respect, and you can tell she has definitely done her research. It's a subject close to her heart, as she explained in her interview with me.

That means the author is an expert in drawing on the reader's emotions because she's experienced it all herself. She knows how to make you laugh and cry, feeling for the characters and understanding what they're going through. The characters are all relatable and you really feel as if you know them. It's a credit to D.A. Roach's writing that she manages to pull on her reader's emotions through the plight of the characters. Jay especially is a particularly strong character, not least because his story will help to bring hope and encouragement to people suffering from vEDS, and other illnesses, in real life.

The developing relationship between Brogen and Jay is also written beautifully. It's refreshing to see a relationship developing slowly and naturally, with the pair being friends first before anything else. However, their relationship doesn't really take off until we see their reactions to Jay's diagnosis. It's honest and full of emotion and really takes the book to another level. I also loved that Brogen stuck by Jay through it all - it's sweet and full of hope in the face of a situation like this.

Rarity is definitely worth reading, if for no other reason than to increase awareness of vEDS. If you're looking for a new twist on contemporary YA, this is the book for you.

Rarity is available to buy now (paid link; commission earned).

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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review 

Will you be reading Rarity? Let me know in the comments below!

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