Title: Iris After The Incident
Author: Mina V. Esguerra
Publication Date: August 5th, 2016
Genre: New Adult; Contemporary; Romance
Format: Kindle Edition
Rating: ★★★★☆ 3.5/4 stars
Which moment has defined your life so far?
Whether she likes it or not, Iris’s life has been divided into two: Before the Incident, and After the Incident. Something very private was made very public, and since then life has been about recovering from being shamed, discovering her true friends, and struggling to find a new normal.
Two years into this new life and she finally connects with a guy again. He lives in the apartment down the hall, he’s hot, and he doesn’t look at her that way. He doesn’t know what happened. But he also won’t give her his name, not right away—which has to mean he’s got something to hide too.
Iris wants to start over. Should she do that with the only person who will understand, or is this the same idiotic decision that got her in trouble in the first place?
“We’re both trying to start over, but we can’t. We’re not allowed to. There’s always going to be someone from our past who knows the ugly thing we’re trying to hide. We don’t see it every day now because we’ve run away from those people, but we didn’t run away far enough. They’re around.”
Iris’ life has been split into two since ‘The Incident’ which left her humiliated and shunned from her friends and family. Rejecting her ex’s proposal that she move to America with him to avoid the backlash of what happened, Iris instead lives in solitude, and tries at all costs to avoid interacting with people in fear that they recognise her. Returning home from work one night, Iris gets trapped in her apartment elevator with a man who also lives in the building. As the two get acquainted, her neighbour, like her, is reluctant to reveal his name. Is her handsome neighbour hiding a scandal of his own?
I discovered this novel through a diverse NA reads list I saw on Twitter, and the synopsis of this novel piqued my interest, both because it is set in the Philippines and also because it involves a sex scandal. I also discovered while looking up this book online that this novel is part of #romanceclass, which is a range of romance books by Filipino authors, and finding this large collection of diverse romance novels was awesome! – Website can be found here.
Also, I’m coming out of a reading/reviewing/blogging slump, so this review is briefer than I’d like, but I really wanted to review this novel.
Iris was a great character. You feel for her considering everything she’s been through. She’s smart and strong and so wise. She’s a character you really root for and seeing her grow and change throughout the novel made me so happy! As for Geo’s character (that is, Iris’ love interest) I don’t have much of an opinion on him. He was perfectly nice, and I felt awful for what happened to him in the past, too. I just felt slightly disconnected from him.
What I liked about Iris and Geo’s relationship was that they had such a unique connection due to their bad experiences with public humiliation. They could relate to one another unlike anyone else in their lives and their bond was so heartfelt! Having said that, I wasn’t much invested in the romance aspect of this novel, and I think that was because I didn’t feel much of a connection to Geo’s character. But their relationship was really sweet and entertaining! And the sex scenes were fab.
I wish we saw more from the BISHes (that is, Iris’ group of friends, all of which are overcoming their own humiliations.) Like, I loved this group. It was so nice to see a group of women building each other up! I wish I had a friend group like this.
I actually took a break from this novel after first picking it up. The main reason being because March was a pretty awful month for me, and reading about this young woman still feeling the impact of something terrible that happened to her two years later was really sad to read about. Iris was so isolated and lonely, avoiding as many people as she could on a daily basis because of her humiliation. But I read the remainder of the novel in about two hours. I was absorbed! Seeing Iris take chances, meet new people, come out of her shell, and reflect on a past she’s tried so hard to avoid and not think about was so entertaining! I was slightly kicking myself for putting this novel on pause for so long because it’s such a positive and empowering novel.
This novel was such a refreshing read! It had a strong female protag, a romance with a deep and unique connection, and an amazing ‘girl power’ group of women who built each other up. It was so much fun, and I look forward to reading more novels from the #romanceclass collection.
Would you read this novel again? Yes, I love the novel’s empowering and positive message!
Who would I recommend this novel to? NA/romance readers looking for a short and diverse romance novel.