Review: Seducing Simon, by Maya Banks
Title: Seducing Simon
Author(s): Maya Banks
Rating: 2 stars
One fateful night, Toni Langston seduces her best friend, the guy she’s been in love with forever. Two problems-he doesn’t remember a thing that happened and now she’s pregnant.
Toni Langston has been in love with Simon, her best friend, for years. The night Simon breaks up with his long time girlfriend, he and Toni make love. Toni is devastated and humiliated when, in the heat of the moment, he calls her by his girlfriend’s name. The next morning, Simon remembers nothing of the previous night and Toni is only too relieved not to remind him. Two months later, she discovers she’s pregnant. She wants Simon to love her, apart from any obligation he might feel because of the baby. So she embarks on a quest to seduce her best friend, to make him see her as more than a little sister, to make him love her as much as she loves him. It works. Maybe too well. Now when things are perfect, she faces telling him of the secret she’s kept.
I listened to the audio book version of this, so while some of the Goodreads reviewers mention typos, I obviously didn’t experience those. I will say, though, that the many descriptions of daily tasks (e.g. a character finishing a glass of juice, rinsing the glass out, putting it in the sink, and then washing and drying hands) seemed sooo much longer and unnecessary because I couldn’t skim through them.
I’m also not touching at all on all of the characters’ lack of sexual education in this post, because I’m not sure that’s a problem with this book in particular or the romance genre overall. (More to come on that soon.)
On to the Review: The Firefighter’s (Problematic) Secret Baby
This was my first Maya Banks and I was pretty excited to give it a try because I’ve heard nothing about great things about her. First, let me say that I get that the “secret baby” is a thing in the romance genre. There’s something incredibly appealing about a man taking emotional responsibility for a child he didn’t know he had. I’ve read several “secret baby” books that I thoroughly enjoyed. That said, the events that led up to the secret baby in Seducing Simon were … problematic for me. Very problematic. Let’s play a game, and you tell me what you think of the following situation:
Tony is a shy, quiet guy who likes to hang out with his sister and her friends but doesn’t have many friends of his own. He’s never dated or had sex before, partly because he’s been in love with one of his sister’s friends, Samantha, for his entire life, and partly because he’s awkward around women. Instead, he pines for Samantha while hiding his feelings for her out of fear of rejection. Samantha, totally unaware of his feeling for her, has always viewed Tony as a little brother and has had a full and rewarding love life.
After his parents die, Tony moves in with his sister, Samantha, and one other girl, though many might suggest it’s a bad idea to try to live platonically with someone with whom you’re in love. Samantha is in a serious relationship with a guy she’s crazy about and wants to marry, but one night she comes home, upset and drunk, after finding her boyfriend in bed with another woman.
Tony immediately swoops in and begins to kiss her, though he knows she’s drunk and upset. They have unprotected sex, after which Samantha murmurs the name of her ex-boyfriend and passes out. Tony is filled with regret afterward, realizing that she thought he was her boyfriend. Luckily, when Samantha wakes up the next morning, she doesn’t remember anything about the night before. Tony is relieved that Samantha was apparently black out drunk the night before because now he doesn’t have to have a conversation with her about what happened.
Wow, doesn’t sound so good when the genders are reversed, does it? Then why would it be ok to treat a guy like this, and then lie to him for months about the fact that he’s going to be a father?
First, let’s get the general logistics out of the way: between drunken fumbling and the likelihood of whiskey dick, blackout sex would never be as good as it was in this book. Putting that aside, however, Toni’s complete lack of self-awareness or thought of anyone other than herself during or after the act was completely off-putting to me. The fact that she continues the lies after finding out she’s knocked herself up, managing to do so without one moment of self-doubt or shame, was astonishing to me.
Consent is Sexy, Folks
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: consent is sexy. Consent is sexy. Taking advantage of a drunken roommate after he goes through an emotionally difficult night is the opposite of sexy. In fact, for those of you who don’t know, there’s an ongoing debate about the ability of an intoxicated person to even give affirmative consent for sex. I won’t go so far as to say Toni raped Simon, but what she did definitely wasn’t kosher.
I kept listening to this book with the hope that Toni would look in the mirror one day and say, “Wow, what the f*** am I doing with my life?” Instead, her goals and self-view are reinforced when she loops another friend, Mike, into her troubles, who says that she and Simon are “meant to be together” because she’s carrying Simon’s baby. He then teaches her the subtle art of seduction and tells her to walk around in a t-shirt without a bra to make Simon notice she’s a woman. Because that’s exactly how roommates should treat each other!
Luckily she does get a bit of slap on the knuckles at the end of the book when Simon and the rest of the roommates find out what’s going on and judge her appropriately, but by then it’s a bit late and it’s completely retracted when Simon later says he was a “complete ass” for being (appropriately) angry with her.
Lesson learned: don’t have sex with your drunk roommate, and especially don’t have unprotected sex.