Love’s Prey by Meg Xuemei X

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Love’s Prey by Meg Xuemei X
Publisher: Silver Wheel Publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (201 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Xirena’s life has never been an easy one. Deemed a thief, a brute, and a slut by one’s own family and schoolmates might take its toll on your average fifteen-year-old, but Xirena makes no apologies. Then she meets seventeen-year-old Kai, smoking hot and hell-bent on seducing her. But Xirena isn’t having it. Kai must prove to Xirena that his attraction is something more. When he does, Xirena opens to him. Softens around the edges.

Problem is, Kai’s ex-girlfriends are none too happy about this. They won’t allow anyone, especially an outcast, to have the boy they want and will stop at nothing to ruin Xirena. But Xirena stands her ground even if it means wrecking her one and only chance of escaping these backwoods forever.

Love is an incredibly powerful thing. Can it really heal every wound though?

Xirena’s abusive home life reveals itself almost immediately. Some of my favorite scenes in this book show how she’s learned to survive in such a dysfunctional environment. The coping mechanisms that work for her at home don’t always get the same results from emotionally healthy people. Knowing this part of her history so early on also made Xirena’s character development even more interesting than it would have been otherwise.

This book is full of poetry. The characters quote classic pieces of it to each other from memory and sometimes even write new ones. It was surprising to see it pop up in contexts that really surprised me. Most of the poetry I’ve read doesn’t cover the kinds of topics that it does in this tale. While the dialogue in those sections was beautiful, it was also distracting. I was never quite sure if it was intended to be a stylized version of how these characters actually speak or if I was supposed to assume they were literally speaking those exact words.

The budding romance between Xirena and Kai is sweet. The fact that he was older than her and much more worldly made me raise an eyebrow at first, but I was quite pleased to see how respectfully Kai treated her. He is careful to never cross the boundaries Xirena sets with him. That made me like him even more than I would have otherwise.

I’ll be recommending Love’s Prey to the people I know who don’t usually read stories about romance or teenagers. This is a solid introduction to either genre for anyone who is curious about them but not sure where to begin.

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