Author: Mia Asher
Publication date: August 23rd 2013
Source: Purchased on Amazon
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble
One glance was all it took…
I'm a cheater.
I'm a liar.
My whole life is a mess.
I love a man.
No, I love two men…
One makes love to me. The other sets me on fire.
One is my rock. The other is my kryptonite.
I'm broken, lost, and disgusted with myself.
But I can't stop. This is my story.
My broken love story.
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)
Oh. My. God. OH. MY. GOD. OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD. CUPCAKESCUPCAKESCUPCAKES. OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD. Yup. That was literally what was going through my head while I was reading Arsen. To sum it up, I was a mess. I'd say that I was a beautiful mess but I'd be lying, I was an ugly wreck. I am being completely honest when I say that I have never felt this many emotions while reading a book till I read Arsen, me reading Arsen is like watching ten women ugly cry, see it now? It took me a couple of days to finally get myself to read this book because I honestly just hate books about cheating, cheating is a hard limit for me but when I kept seeing so much great feedback about Arsen, I decided to take the plunge... and I did not regret it one bit. Deciding to read Arsen was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made in my entire life and I mean that seriously.
Reading about Cathy's infidelity was difficult because I have always thought that when you "fall out of love" with someone, you can just split with them or something but reading this book made me understand how hard that is to do. It's not as easy as snapping your fingers and you'll suddenly be separated, there will always be some kind of emotional connection that will bond the two of you together and that's why I saw why Cathy couldn't leave Ben because through it all, she still loved him. I had to take a number of breaks while reading this book because every time I would turn a page, I could feel my heart chipping away, piece by piece and that really broke me. The magic of this book is not that it can make you feel more than you thought you could, it's that it will connect with you in a level that you never thought could be possible between a reader and a book/character. I don't mean it in a way I was imagining myself as Cathy (I would hate to be her, to choose between two great, depends on how you look at it, guys? Ouch.), it was Mia Asher being able to make you empathize with and understand Cathy, and they weren't all positive feelings either. There were times when you could feel Cathy's self-loathing and that allows the reader to see that she isn't so heartless because she knew what she was doing was wrong, but that sense of guilt still wasn't enough to make her stop herself. I think right from the very get go, we have to remember that Cathy is a human being and that if ever you were in her situation, wouldn't you do the same? (So stop judging her... okay, maybe you can judge her just a bit.) It was interesting seeing how Mia Asher was able to make Cathy both the protagonist and antagonist because it makes her even more relatable and palatable to the readers.
The biggest question in this book is: Which Team are you on? Team "Super-Sweet-But-Has-A-Naughty-College-Sweetheart-Who-Brings-Cupcakes-And-Is-Now-A-Devoted-And-Attentive-Husband" Ben or Team "Arrogant-Cougar-Material-Who-Makes-Women-Within-A-Fifty-Mile-Radius-Drop-Their-Panties" Arsen? I'd say both but we all know how that worked out for Cathy... Mm-hmm, don't eat more than you can handle, guuuurl. But seriously speaking, it was really hard to pick and I understand Cathy's dilemma and all we can really do is blame it on Mia Asher. It's like while you're reading the book, there will be a scene that will make you swoon over Ben but suddenly, another scene will pop out and make you fall in love with Arsen like OH MY GOD. DON'T MAKE ME CHOOSE. PLEASE. It's exactly like that. While you're reading the book, you'll be falling in love with Arsen in the present but when you're reading about Cathy's past and how great of a husband Ben is, you'll fall in love with him too. You really just can't win with those two. And the thing is, both men aren't perfect but they're the type of guys that will appeal to you and make you slowly fall in love with them. I was Anti-Arsen at first but as I read on, I grew to love the guy and well... stuff happens.
This book made me laugh-cry (laughing while crying), classic cry, bawl, wail, sniffle, almost break my phone, and smile. Oh yeah, I need a heart transplant since Mia Asher legit broke my heart. Thanks a lot, Mia. I have never been so moved while reading a book and I am so glad that I decided to read this book. (Though I am still on the fence on books with cheating in them.) The way Mia Asher wrote the scenes between Cathy and Arsen weren't, in anyway, gross or dirty because you could see how there was a connection between the two and it wasn't just a way to get release and that's why it was so hard to hate Arsen, you can see that he's a pretty decent guy and that it's really not his fault... maybe.
Arsen is a beautiful yet brutally honest novel about infidelity and learning to face the consequences of our decisions, it is a very powerful novel that will speak volumes to so many people that are willing to listen and I suggest that you do. I read Arsen a few days after it came out but I'm only writing my review now, why? Because it was so hard to collect my thoughts, to be able to verbalize what I felt for this book and even now I feel like this review is so insufficient. Arsen is easily in the Top Five of the best books I have ever read. EVER.
All I can really say is that this book will stay with me for a very, very long time. It's not a book that you will easily forget, mostly because it feels as though it's a real person's story being told to you, as a pre-cautionary tale or just something shared, it will really imprint itself into your mind. Mia Asher has created a novel worthy of every praise that it's been given and even more because she has written not just a book but a voice that yearns to be heard and is also listened to. Arsen is exactly what it says it is, a broken love story, broken but not impossible to fix. Throughout the whole book, I was kept on my toes because of all the turns, deadends and swerves that Mias Asher placed in the book, I just kept on guessing because everything was so unexpected. And even to the end, you'll still be kept wondering but once you get to that point, you will get the answers that you were looking for.
If I could, I would give this book a gazillion stars because it deserves all that and more but I've restricted myself to giving up to only six stars but I would give more if I could. I just love this book, okay? I can't even explain it. *le sigh* Just, thank you so much, Mia, for sharing this story with us. Really, thank you.