Sheltered

Sheltered - Charlotte Stein I've sat on this review for four days. And in that time, I re-read this book. I'm ashamed to say that I haven't done that since I read Twilight the first time, but I absolutely loved this book. And I knew that if I could go back and re-read and actually savor the book rather than devouring it like I'm known to do, I'd enjoy it even more. I was right. I was able to pick up details of the book that I hadn't the first time. And I found that there were entire passages I didn't even remember reading the first time! (that's what happens when you inhale a book in a few hours)I put this on my (never-ending) TBR list after seeing it on Kristen's Shelves. But. Well. See, there's this thing. The "thing" being the cover. I mean, seriously. I saw the cover, was completely horrified, and promptly shoved it in the back of my mind. WHO WANTS TO READ A SEXY BOOK ABOUT A DUDE WITH A RAT-TAIL MOHAWK??Not I, my friends. Not I.But then. Then, Cosmo was tweeting up a storm about this book with some *ahem* decidedly delicious quotes. So I dove in.The premise is intriguing enough: sheltered, good girl with overbearing religious parents and an abusive father meets seemingly bad boy with tattoos who enjoys smoking pot every now and then. I figured I'd get a passable plot with some cringe-worthy virgin sex thrown in.I was so wrong. What I got was an intriguing story with a heroine whose voice I fell in love with. I've seen several reviews comment on the overuse of the heroine's narration rather than dialogue, and while I can see their point because I definitely prefer good, witty dialogue to pages and pages of narration, I didn't mind hearing Evie's voice. It read very stream-of-consciousness for me, which I think is super hard to do in third person, yet Stein did it, and did it well. I've also seen in several reviews that Evie's inner voice was a little vulgar considering how sheltered she was. I'll admit that I didn't really notice it the first time through, which is definitely something I would normally be all over. Upon the re-read, I noticed that Stein did it very smartly. It was a slow build, eventually working up to the more graphic language. I also noticed that though Evie seemed sheltered, Stein shows us a dozen ways that she's had her eyes opened to the world (through books and magazines she wasn't supposed to read, to radio programs she wasn't supposed to listen to, to "playground talk" as she called it, to scare tactics by religious educators on what could happen in a sexual situation), so it felt normal to me. Van even comments on it, and I think it sums her up perfectly: "How come you know so much and so little at the same time?" I also got an over the moon, swoony boy who absolutely always said the perfect thing, even when it was decidedly not perfect. Let's talk a little bit about Van (Tyler), should we? Gah. First of all, he's six foot five, y'all. SIX FOOT FIVE. I die. He is strength and hardness and tattoos (not to mention the tongue ring he just removed. guh) and this complete badass persona. But you guise. He is a giant teddy bear. He is so sweet. So loving. So considerate of Evie...I can't. I got pretty prose that I'm more apt to see in other genres of books. I got a book I absolutely fell in love with.The path that we take never felt stilted or rushed. Stein set the perfect pace in Evie and Van's story. The build-up, the climax, and the resolution were all perfectly done. And the ending? God. Even though I'd hoped for just a little more Evie/Van interaction, how she ended it was perfection.Do you see a theme? I've dropped the word "perfect" about eleventy billion times. Rather than continuing to go on and on and on, I'm going to leave you with some of the 29 passages that I highlighted in this book. TWENTY-NINE. I'm not kidding.~*~His voice sounded like molten metal. As if he had something thick at the back of his throat and it was making him sound deeper and richer than he actually was.~*~He suggested devils, skulls, harsh masculine drawings. This thing was…heart poundingly good. She wanted to pluck it, and bury her face in it, and keep it in a vase by her bedside.~*~“Evie,” he said, and inexplicable goose bumps broke out all over her arms. He had been waiting for her. And he’d waited in the Ryerson’s yard too, as though he wasn’t allowed in this one.Not yet, anyway. Not until she gave him permission to come through the wooden barrier between them.“Hi,” she said. Mainly because her mouth had filled with cotton and her brain had disappeared somewhere around his first charcoal-soft gaze.~*~Whereas this…this was wet. His lips sank into a rhythm obviously familiar to him—like a kind of slow rock over her mouth—and there were times when she felt his tongue, hot and slippery. Times when he insinuated himself right against her and that same slipperiness made her go all funny inside.~*~Everything had been cloaked in sensuousness, to the point where details seemed fuzzy and languid.Like the cuff of his sleeve stroking over the back of her hand, or the feel of his breath stirring against her lips. Her lips had grown seventy thousand nerve endings between yesterday and right now, and they seemed to buzz whenever he moved.~*~“See—this is the problem. You don’t even get where this is going. You can’t just ask me to come in, or kiss me, or tell me you want to know what smoking pot feels like. When I’m close to you I feel crazy, okay? When you say my name I feel crazy. It’s not…the right thing for you. I don’t think I can just…be your friend.”~*~The bath wasn’t the best thing. Lying with him spooned up against her, listening to the rain rattle against the glass and his voice like a rolling wave…that was the best thing.~*~There wasn’t a person on earth who’d doubt Van’s presence, while naked. He looked huge, framed by the window, and so very, very intent on whatever he was drawing. Until he saw her looking at him, of course.His eyes met hers. She didn’t mind admitting that it made her stomach bottom out.“Keep still,” he said, as she did the exact opposite. She couldn’t possibly obey while he sat there like that, looking like one giant delicious contrast. Black on white, rough on smooth, big and gentle all at the same time.And he was actually drawing too. He was drawing something even as he half-eyed her, gaze as smoky and gorgeous as ever she’d seen it.~*~"What can I give you? I--""You give me everything."~*~"You don't even know how lovely you are, my Evie."~*~DO YOU SEE THE SWOONS????? And I'm not even spoiling you on the good stuff. The things he says to her when he's drawing her and their first morning after... I can't.In case my review wasn't clear, you need to read this. Pronto.