Book Review: Love Punked by Nia Lucas

Love Punked

Author: Nia Lucas

Publication Date: 21 July 2018

Genre: YA/NA Contemporary

Pages: 440

Publisher: Independent

When her life is irrevocably altered by a post-Rave tryst on her mother’s floral patio recliner, Erin Roberts’ long-standing relationship with Humiliation takes her down a path that’s not so much ‘less well trodden’, more ‘perilous descent down sheer cliffs’.

Armed with a fierce devotion to her best friend and the unrequited love for the boy she might have accidentally married at age seven, when Erin falls pregnant at sixteen, life veers off at a most unexpected tangent.

Her journey to adulthood is far from ordinary as Erin learns that protecting the hearts of those most precious to you isn’t balm enough when your Love Punked heart is as sore as your freshly tattooed arse.

Whilst raising football prodigies and trying not to get stuck in lifts with Social Work clients who hate her, Erin discovers that sometimes you have to circumnavigate the globe to find the very thing that was there all along.

This is NOT one of those teenage dramas where the topic of sex when is alluded to behind the scenes but never really confronted. Nia Lucas approaches the topic of sex amongst teens in a way that is brutally honest, raw, compelling, and downright hilarious.

Erin Roberts is a 16-year-old virgin, who is determined to marry Daniel McNamara one day. Problem? He moved away to New Zealand when they were in middle school, so she must move on without him. Determined to have a night of fun, Erin decides to go to a rave with the guy she’s dating, but he turns out to be a real douche, so she knees him where the sun doesn’t shine and leaves him. Erin meets the gorgeous Jameel (Jay), who also happens to be the ecstasy dealer. One thing leads to another, and Erin ends up losing her virginity on her grandmother’s beat up recliner in her garage during the wee hours of the morning. Jay disappears…shocker. And here’s the kicker, Erin ends up pregnant…with TWINS!!!

A month or so after the twins are born, Jay comes back into the picture (he was in prison for getting caught with the gear he was selling…again, shocker). This is when the story really takes off because Erin and Jay band together to do whatever it takes to raise their boys together and give them everything they need…even when it is at the expense of their own hearts. We watch Jay and Erin ignore the truths of their hearts. Jay is in love with his adolescent sweetheart, Casey. Erin is in love with her childhood friend, Gio Romano. Neither one is willing to admit these feelings out loud.

One of the most aggravating parts of the book is Erin’s insecurities about her physical appearance. She overheard an argument between Danny and Gio when she was younger where she was referred to as “rank, ginger Roberts”, which she is incapable of letting go. She clings to this as part of her rationale for why she will always choose her kids instead of following her heart. There were times where I just wanted to shake the sh*t out of her for it, but in the same respect, I remember how incredibly insecure I was when I was 16, and if I ever overheard a crush of mine referring to me as rank, I’d probably react the same way.

I really enjoyed watching the progression of Erin’s character. She matures from being an insecure and inexperienced teenager into a wonderful mother and woman who ensures that her children are always well cared for. She makes a lot of mistakes along the way and has to pick herself up repeatedly, but she always forges ahead against all odds.

I definitely recommend this book to young people especially. I think it’s incredibly important to address the reality of teenage sex, and the consequences associated with it. There’s no glamourizing in this book. It’s completely raw and honest.

Thank you to Nia Lucas for providing me with an eBook. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

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