Evan Carter has spent most of his teenage years moving from one town to another, never staying long enough to make connections. This makes it incredibly easy to jump from one girl to the next, and Evan has become an expert in finding the right type of girl. While Evan might be free of emotional complications, but the people he goes to school with are not and the latest girl he hooks up with results in Evan getting seriously assaulted, leaving him without a spleen and a sense of security.
His father decides to take Evan to rural Minnesota to help him heal. The majority of Sex & Violence takes place here, the summer before Evan’s senior year of college. He works to come to terms with what happened to him and tentatively begins making actual friends, rather than just acquaintances. Girls, especially a certain one, comes heavily into play, but the focus is on Evan figuring out how to become comfortable in his own skin again, not any one girl or any one friend making everything okay for him. However, even though the bulk of the novel takes place over the summer the last 50 pages cover nearly all of Evan’s senior year of high school. The important parts of the novel clearly take place during that summer, but to spend 200 pages going over 3 months to give the next 9 months only 25% of that, could be seen as a little uneven (almost as if that last chunk wasn’t completely necessary).
Mesrobian’s novel can be harsh and raw, but also comes off as genuine and even heartfelt (at times). Sex & Violence is a Morris Award Finalist.