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I was told that dreams were our heart’s desires. My nightmares, however, became my obsession.
His name is Michael Crist.
My boyfriend’s older brother is like that scary movie that you peek through your hand to watch. He is handsome, strong, and completely terrifying. The star of his college’s basketball team and now gone pro, he’s more concerned with the dirt on his shoe than me.
But I noticed him.
I saw him. I heard him. The things that he did, and the deeds that he hid…For years, I bit my nails, unable to look away.
Now, I’ve graduated high school and moved on to college, but I haven’t stopped watching Michael. He’s bad, and the dirt I’ve seen isn’t content to stay in my head anymore.
Because he’s finally noticed me.
Her name is Erika Fane, but everyone calls her Rika.
My brother’s girlfriend grew up hanging around my house and is always at our dinner table. She looks down when I enter a room and stills when I am close. I can always feel the fear rolling off of her, and while I haven’t had her body, I know that I have her mind. That’s all I really want anyway.
Until my brother leaves for the military, and I find Rika alone at college.
In my city.
The opportunity is too good to be true as well as the timing. Because you see, three years ago she put a few of my high school friends in prison, and now they’re out.
We’ve waited. We’ve been patient. And now every last one of her nightmares will come true.
***Corrupt can be read as a stand-alone. No cliffhanger.
Oh boy. I honestly don’t even know where to start with this book so apologies in advanced if my review is all over the place… there will be ranting and obviously spoilers as well.
This book… was so fucking awful I’m kind of a loss for words. I happen to love the hate-to-love trope and the enemies to lover’s trope but it’s so damn tricky to pull off. Honestly, Penelope Douglas is one of those authors that can pull it off, or so I thought. I loved Rival and I really enjoyed Punk 57 and Bully as well. I’ve had my eye on Corrupt since it was first announced but I was always a bit weary of it because this one seems to have a darker tone. I wish I would have listened to my instincts and stayed far away from this book… The tone of this book is definitely darker, absurd and at times just plain wrong. There were times when rape was insinuated/implied and although it was never specifically addressed, it was enough for it to leave me with a sour feeling.
Michael and his group of friends are the popular ones in high school known as the horsemen (or maybe its horseman?). They can basically get away with whatever they want even years later when they come back to visit occasionally from college. What kind of losers feel the need to come back to hang out with high school kids once they are in college is a mystery to me. The book is set in the present and switches back and forth to three years ago when we find out what happened between Erica and Michael to make him and his friends hate her so much. Let me recap it real quick(ish):
Erica used to date Michael’s younger brother Trevor because they were always kind of pushed by his family to be together but she has always been infatuated with Michael since they were little. Michael pretends he can’t stand her but he’s attracted to her too. When Michael and his friends come back to high school one year, they select a group of girls to party with. Party, have sex with, possibly rape, etc, etc… Erica is tired of being one of the ‘good girls’ so she sneaks into their car. Once they arrive at the catacombs, Michael discovers her and tells her she must ‘pass a test’ to determine if she can stay. Apparently this test involves him blindfolding her and abandoning her while other guys harass her. And by harass I mean they touch and grab her privates and tell her in graphic detail how they plan to fuck her… She must pass the test because Michael lets her stay and shows her around. From the looks of it, their parties either involve these guys abusing/taking advantage/raping girls unless these high school girls have this forced/rough/gangbang fetish that I was unaware of. Michael and his friends end up kind of ‘adopting’ Erica and she ends up spending the rest of the day with them. So much crazy shit happens in this night but here are the main parts: Damon, who is the most demented of the group videotapes himself either raping or having sex with a minor. He says something along the lines of him ‘taking what he wanted’… They end up at a club or bar of some type and some guy is there that tried to rape Erica a while back at a party is there and when she tells the guys the story they decide they want revenge for Erica. Erica comes up with the genius plan to ‘lure’ him to the restroom but the guys take their sweet time to rescue her and she ends up almost getting raped again only to be saved right on time by the guys. They kick his ass, which I find hilarious since they are probably or are borderline rapists themselves. They also set a building on fire knowing even the cops can’t do anything to them. Michael and Erica confess that they have feelings (are horny for each other) and they kiss but Michael refuses to let it go further until she’s 18. He tells her to wait for him until she turns 18, meanwhile he would be off at college doing whatever and whoever he wanted. Oh and his friends would be spying on he for him. She said no and he left her with the guys who proceed to drive her to the middle of nowhere where they, you guessed it, try to rape her. She escapes and somehow ends up with Damon’s jacket, which has his phone in the pocket. The next day, the videotape of him and that girl he possibly raped is leaked online and he and Kai get arrested and spend three years in jail. Michael and his friends vow to get revenge on Erica and ruin her life.
Fast forward three years and Damon and Kai are out of jail and Michael and the rest of the guys put their payback plan back into motion. They somehow managed to get Erica a penthouse apartment at Michaels family’s building where Michael happens to live. Damon and a few of the other guys follow Erica around school and even in her classes and taunt her and threaten to hurt her mom. They end up burning her house down (where her mom still lives, luckily her mom wasn’t in the house at the time but Erica has no idea where her mom is or if she’s safe) and they will only tell her if her mom is safe if she does what they tell her. Many times, Michael and/or the other guys corner her, threaten her and tell her in explicit detail how they plan to have fuck her, which other than Michael, this isn’t something she wants at all, so are they threatening rape?? Is Michael okay with this?? I wasn’t sure if he was just stupid about his friends rapey tendencies or if he preferred to stay blissfully ignorant or if he didn’t care, but in another scene when he thinks Damon may take things to far with Erica (he wants to break into her apartment and Michael won’t be there to stop him if he goes off script), in order to steer him clear of that plan, Michael offers Damon drugs… date rape drugs. He tells him to go have fun somewhere else. And yes, Michael is fully aware that these are date rape drugs. Swoony, right? Fast forward to a bunch of other bullshit that happened and Michael and Erica end up banging. He reconsiders his plan but still ends up going along with his friends. When his friends find out Michael slept with Erica, they make their own plan. They all almost rape Erica once again but just in time they find out that Erica wasn’t the one that leaked the tapes. Everyone except Damon, who is still team rapey, is all of a sudden ‘oh my bad, let’s be friends’ and this dumbass girl is like ‘okay.’
I guess things are fixed between Erica and Michael cause they are back to getting in on when all of a sudden Erica notices Kai watches them (as they get it on). Poor guy is emotionally scarred since going to jail and he admits he’s ‘broken’ because he hasn’t been able to be with a woman since then. All of a sudden, a threesome is happening and I was still trying to pick my jar off the floor. I didn’t buy for one second that Michael would be okay with sharing Erica, but I guess I was wrong because he ends up handing Kai the condom as Kai takes her from the front and Michael from behind. Boom, Kai is magically fixed! Maginal vaginas for the cure! They realize that Trevor (dressed as Kai) along with Damon were the ones that tried to rape Erica three years ago and despite their ‘keep Erica safe’ plan, Trevor (yes her ex and Michael’s brother) ends up kidnapping Erica. He almost ties her up, yada-yada-almost kills her, plans to kill Michael but Michael ends up killing him instead and everyone lives happily ever after.
There was so much wrong with this book. I’ve read some pretty bad books before but those had more to do with personal taste, this book however was just wrong, gross, morally fucked up and wrong on so many levels. I hate when sexual assault is used as a plot device in books but to have Erica be near raped so many times was so fucking ridiculous. Sexual abuse should not be a book trend, and yes, gangbanging someone (like they almost did with Erica, they got…close. Very close) is still rape even if they ‘make her beg for it.’ I was disgusted with how insinuated forced sex was used in this book. We get many scenes where it was implied and never once was it addressed. There was this scene where Erica overhears Damon having sex with a girl who is clearly crying and telling him to stop… and never once is this addressed. I actually am not even sure if Michael of Kai or any of the other guys ever apologized to Erica for planning to rape her and destroy her life and letting her think her mom was dead/hurt or for burning down her house. (BTW, her mom was safe and Erica was like oh no biggie, that house was old anyway). Needless to say, I was not a fan of this book or these characters at all. The sex scenes were very explicit, not tasteful and the plot-line was ridiculous. It was also so very unnecessarily fucking long. Almost 15 hours of my life that I will never get back…
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