Book Review

Review – Available to Chat by Jacy Sutton

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.

Since I review a fair amount of YA books, I think it appropriate to say this is definitely an adult book featuring some sexually explicit scenes.

26822393People tell Olivia her online beau may actually be helping her fading marriage. The saleswoman she met at an adult toy party claims satisfaction is about the heat, not the source. Olivia’s therapist suggests her romantic fantasies could stoke the embers of her twenty-plus year relationship. Even Olivia’s lust interest, Jake, says, “I tell myself I’m good for you.”

But Olivia knows the only thing getting hotter are her amorous feelings for Jake. He charms her with flirty conversation and reels her in with confessions of his own failing relationship. The more the two talk, and the more he confides, the more Olivia’s thoughts and evenings–which once belonged to her son and husband–are consumed with him.

Olivia tells herself it’s all harmless since the two of them won’t ever meet…until the night they do. That’s when Olivia is forced to confront what she wants, what she needs and what she’s willing to give up.

Tag along with Olivia in this sexy, honest, funny and touching story by Jacy Sutton. (Goodreads)

I give Available to Chat 4 out of 5 stars!

One of the very first things I noticed was how real Olivia’s situation felt. The awkwardness, even after years of marriage, in the bedroom. The way a family can spread into their own corners of the house. The disconnectedness that can happen even when they are all in the same room. It felt so real and so possible. What else felt real? The unfairness of losing a friend early. Not fitting in with a room of people. Making connections with new people who may know what you are going through, that maybe it’s not so uncommon. The lines of morality that sometimes seem to get blurred because of online interactions. The way a new anything–in this case an online acquaintance–can take over thoughts and leave other parts of life a mess.

Another thing I really noticed in reading Available to Chat was about 15% through. One of those things that makes you stop and go, whoa, that’s cool the author can do that. And since it is in the beginning, I’ll share a little more without being too worried about spoilers. Olivia (main character) and Mike (her husband) are at a party, and he has hidden away in a room watching TV. She asks him to come back to the party. Sutton does not mention any emotions here, but they are palpable. There is so much more riding on Olivia’s request and Mike’s denial that I can feel Olivia’s emotions. Or, at least, I’m guessing at how she’s feeling, but it’s very acute. It’s frustration and sadness and a kind of melancholy acceptance. I thought this was really well done. I found this same thing further on as I read, an ability to feel Olivia and Mike’s relationship shifting with a couple of lines of dialogue, no further explanation needed. Like Olivia could feel it slipping through her fingers, and I could, too.

There were some things that I didn’t feel particularly fond of. Part of this has to do with the fact that I don’t condone Olivia’s behavior from the very start, and I found myself hoping for other characters to wind up being better. Highlight to read: (hint: they’re not).

I think the biggest let down for me was the climax felt lacking. But, given the problem that Olivia is dealing with, this almost seems fitting. But then, through this whole story Olivia’s been dealing, on some level at least, with the changes in her relationship. Instead of some big, dramatic scene at the climax, it’s subdued. I think this is fitting for the story, but maybe I wanted to see a little more from it.

The “cyber” scenes read like Jake had just finished reading a ton of romance novels, and I think his choice of words to type seemed unrealistic. They were still effective, though.

There were also some elements of the story that didn’t change much. They were extras that made Olivia’s life more than work and home.

There were also a lot of people. A few characters I couldn’t quite keep straight.

Overall, though, I really enjoyed reading this book that dealt in reality quite well.

Usually I can sit and devour a book with few breaks. But I felt compelled to consume Available to Chat little by little, and savor the bites with reflection and thought before moving on. Awesome job, Jacy.

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