I'm a CREEP by Jaimie Roberts
I'm a CREEP is a unique take on the coming-of-age tale with a revenge plot twist. The storyline is given to the reader through the first person POV of Bryce, a teenage girl who is trying to figure out who and what makes her tick.
The story is told through flips back and forth in time, starting with the horrific incident that first tipped Bryce over the edge and gradually giving more insight to how she used that incident to fuel her fire for revenge. The storyline overall spans about 2.5 years, from just before Bryce's 16th birthday and ends when she is 18. Bryce lives with her mother Brenda, a drug addict that makes heartbreaking choices leading to the initial incident involving Bryce, and her step-father Elijah, a police chief in their Kentucky town. Bryce's relationship with Elijah is a major plot point. I'll be honest, I'm not a huge fan of Elijah or of the relationship these two cultivate. I feel that the way they treat each other seriously stalls the character development for Bryce overall. Elijah is obsessive, possessive, and plays hot and cold. He treats Bryce like a child half the time in the present day. Bryce might think she's the creep, but Elijah sure gives her some competition.
Bryce is smart, but struggles with building healthy relationships with others, especially people her own age. She is bullied at school and is known for being a weirdo. Her only real friend for much of the book is an older neighbor gentleman named Frank. Even there, Bryce uses Frank to feed her neighborhood gossip. I believe her inability to associate with others normally largely stems from her very unhealthy relationship with both of her bilogical parents, and then her relationship with Elijah in turn. Early in the flashbacks, Bryce befriends another bullied student named Adam, and another incident involving him feeds more fuel for that revenge fire Bryce has been building up. With this relationship, i think Bryce unnecessarily hurts Adam by not treating him as a friend, but ultimately as a replaceable stepping stone to figuring herself out.
Interwoven with Bryce's need to seek revenge on prety much 2/3rds of the characters we encounter, we also see Bryce frequently using sex as a way to both humiliate her victims and use them to experiment with her own growing interest in her needs and preferences. While I am all about female empowerment and experimenting to find yourself, I felt like the author created Bryce in a way that it was the ONLY way for Bryce to connect with others, and Bryce did not give anyone a choice in their involvement. She literally was forcing herself on everyone left and right, and that started to feel very disingenuous after it happened with a few people.
Overall, the storyline kept my interest and I liked the fact that the book ended with Bryce feeling like she found herself and taking back her power. Part of me thinks the flow might have been better if there weren't so many flips back and forth in time. It just made the story so choppy, and I found myself often flipping back and forth even more to remind myself what had last happened in that part of the timeline. I also recognize that in telling all of the past at once, it would have given away the full impact of the story too quickly. The main characters rubbed me wrong in some ways, just falling flat, fairly one dimensional. But there were some decent moments with murder and steam, so if you're looking for an erotic thrill that isn't going to make you think too much, it's a decent, quick read.
I received a free review copy of this book from BookSirens and am leaving this review voluntarily.
Character development: 2/5
Dark elements: 4/5
Steamy scenes: 4/5
Overall storyline: 3.5/5
Triggers: Sooo many, reader beware! Rape, non-con/dub-con, murder, underage/taboo relationship.