It Happens all the Time
By: Amy Hatvany
Publication Date: 3/28/2017
My Rating: 5 Stars From master storyteller Amy Hatvany—whose writing has been hailed as “gripping and emotionally honest” (Stephanie Evanovich, New York Times bestselling author)—comes a provocative and compelling novel about two friends whose lives are changed by a drunken kiss. I want to rewind the clock, take back the night when the world shattered. I want to erase everything that went wrong.
Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have been best friends since they were teenagers—trusting and depending on each other through some of the darkest periods of their young lives. And while Amber has always felt that their relationship is strictly platonic, Tyler has long harbored the secret desire that they might one day become more than friends.
Returning home for the summer after her college graduation, Amber begins spending more time with Tyler than she has in years. Despite the fact that Amber is engaged to her college sweetheart, a flirtation begins to grow between them. One night, fueled by alcohol and concerns about whether she’s getting married too young, Amber kisses Tyler.
What happens next will change them forever.
In alternating points of view, It Happens All the Time examines the complexity of sexual dynamics between men and women and offers an incisive exploration of gender roles, expectations, and the ever-timely issue of consent.
One of my all-time favorite authors, Amy Hatvany returns following Somewhere Out There (2016) with her most emotional and timely book yet: IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME — an exploration into two different experiences of rape.
A girl. A guy. Childhood friends. Consent. Rape. Their families. A tragedy which changes everything. A desperate need for justice and revenge.
There is one thing (well, more than one) you can come to expect from Amy Hatvany: She is not afraid to tackle tough issues of the heart, with honesty and superbly researched topics —critical for today’s contemporary woman, no matter the age.
Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have grown up together. Best friends from an early age through teen years. Their parents were friends. Ty comes from and abusive father. The Bryant's took Ty and his mom under their wing and have always included them in family activities.
Amber has had food and self-esteem issues throughout her life. Tyler battles his self-esteem issues with his father. Amber always thinking she is fat, to the point she almost lost her life. It is a topic her parents to this day are sensitive about when they note her eating habits.
Tyler has always been her very best friend. He has always been in love with her. The feeling has not been mutual. From Amber’s side, it is more friendship, not love. Now Amber has graduated from college and is engaged to be married. She returns home to visit with her family and runs into Tyler. Tyler stayed in town and become a local paramedic.
Both Amber and Tyler are experiencing things in their own individual lives. Both are troubled in different ways. Even though Amber is engaged to med student Daniel, Tyler is excited to have his old friend back in town. Deep down he always hopes he has a shot. Amber starts second guessing her decision to get married.
They go out and have too much to drink, which leads to a sexual encounter. Things get out of control and Amber says, “no.” Tyler does not stop. This devastating experience changes the dynamics of this couple and everyone close to them, including their family, forever.
Hatvany explores both sides of the story, combined with her own raw emotion and personal tragedy. A sense of powerlessness and self-destruction behavior.
Amber doubts herself. How could this have happened? Her best friend. How could not remember the events and how they unfolded? What happened to consent? She soon becomes obsessed with taking the matter into her own hands. She will force him into admitting what he had done. Was he more like his dad than he wanted to admit?
The characters grapple with themselves as well as one another. Exploring healthy and unhealthy ways people respond to and recover from trauma, including revenge, therapy, obsession, denial, eating disorders, drug abuse, sex, support groups, social withdrawal, exercise, legal action, and violence.
A compelling look at a topic of rape; which is brushed under the radar more often than we may expect. Especially when the victim knows the other party.
Furthermore, when the parents are friends and the person is someone you have trusted your entire life, and now has betrayed you. Shattered lives. Someone will have to pay for the injustice.
Often the law fails the victim. More than one will have to possess the courage to step up and admit their mistakes and be prepared for the consequences. When events are not always black and white. Moral lines are crossed.
Powerful storytelling. Emotionally gripping. Struggling with the aftermath of rape, and domestic violence.
For fans of Diane Chamberlain, Heather Gudenkauf, Jodi Picoult, Liane Moriarty, Jennifer Weiner, and Sarah Pekkanen. An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions. Another winner by Hatvany!
On a side note: When posting a review, I often link to the previous book, read by the author. However, when I scrolled back to reference all the books I have read by Hatvany, I noticed each book was a "5-star rating!" How often does an author consistently deliver quality, high-charged absorbing and timely issues?
It is rare. Why I wanted to include all the book reviews here by the author, for those of you which may be new to Amy Hatvany. An author you will soon move to the top of your favorite author list. Each one is uniquely different with a critical takeaway message.
A special thank you to Atria and NetGalley for an early reading copy. Stunning cover. Would make a great movie
Watch the Video by the Author
"Spellbinding, timely, and unflinchingly honest. This novel will consume you." — Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and Missing Pieces “This compelling, emotional novel reads like the complex truth behind the headlines. It Happens All the Time is a full throttle story with heart." —Deb Caletti, National Book Award finalist “At the heart of this moving novel are characters so vivid and tragically real, you can’t help but understand them as they self-sabotage, even in unforgiveable ways. It Happens All the Time is an important exercise in empathy and an unflinchingly honest look at the impact of all too common traumas.” —Jane Green, New York Times bestselling author “Compelling… a must read for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.” — PopSugar
"Bravely told and intoxicatingly honest, It Happens All The Time is a compulsory read for men and women—it bravely and urgently explores the meaning of consent everyone desperately needs to understand." —Redbook
“It Happens All the Time delves into the issues of friendship, power dynamics, and consent. With nuance and compassion for her characters, Hatvany reveals the fallout of the ultimate betrayal of trust.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Hatvany tackles an important, and timely, subject…this title will be appreciated by fans of Jodi Picoult or Diane Chamberlain.” —Library Journal
“A raw and emotional journey about the shattering impact of sexual assault with the added confusion of the assailant being a loved one. This novel gets to the heart of the deeply pertinent issue of consent…[it] captivates from start to finish and plants a bug of reflection in the mind.” —RT Book Reviews
About the Author
Amy Hatvany graduated with a degree in Sociology only to discover most sociologists are unemployed. Soon followed a variety of jobs – some of which she loved, like decorating wedding cakes; others which she merely tolerated, like receptionist.
“In 1998, Amy finally decided to sell her car, quit her job, and take a chance on her passion: writing books.”
Her background in sociology inspires and informs much of her writing as she tackles timely and controversial issues in her novels including mental illness, domestic abuse, and alcoholism. She is the author of BEST KEPT SECRET, OUTSIDE THE LINES (a Target book club pick in 2012 and a Costco Pennie’s Pick in 2013), THE LANGUAGE OF SISTERS, and HEART LIKE MINE. Her latest novel, SAFE WITH ME, was published in March by Washington Square Press/Atria Books.
Amy spends most of her time today with her second and final husband, Stephan. (Seriously, if this one doesn’t work out, she’s done, kaput, no more husbands.) She stays busy with her two children, Scarlett and Miles, and her “bonus child,” Anna. Their blended family also includes two four-legged hairy children, commonly known as Black Lab mutts, Kenda and Dolcé.
When Amy’s not with friends or family, she is most likely reading, cooking, or zoning out on certain reality television shows. Top Chef is a current favorite. She eagerly awaits auditions for the cast of “Top Author.” (“Quick Edit” instead of “Quick Fire” Challenge? C’mon, producers! That’s gripping television!