ARC Review: Defiant Attraction by V.K. Torston


A Contemporary, new adult romance



About the Book

Dan might be the enemy of my enemy, but I’m not sure that makes him my friend.  He’s definitely not my ‘step brother’, no matter what everyone at school says. Honestly, I don’t know what he’s supposed to be to me. Or what he’s becoming…

Fact: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

In the yearbook, I’ll be Sophia Ramos: Valedictorian. Years of honor roll certificates, AP classes, and lugging around an obnoxiously large cello case are about to finally pay off.  If everything goes according to plan, I’ll escape these decaying suburbs for a top university across the country.

The problem? A few years ago, my mom met someone just as broke, just as drunk, and just as impulsive as she is. Approximately five seconds into their relationship, they decided it would be an excellent idea for him—and his son, Dan—to move in with us.  (Spoiler alert: it wasn’t).

Now I share a house with none other than Daniel Cole. Even though Dan dropped out two years ago, he’s still the tattooed, bad boy, heartthrob, legend of St. Anthony’s Academy. He and I aren’t supposed to have anything in common.

Living together means war. First, Dan and I were at war with each other. Now, our rivalry is giving way to an unlikely alliance—two opposing sides teaming up against a common enemy: our respective parents.

Which is to say, we’ve been hanging out.

Question: What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?

Here’s the thing: My brain is a complex organ. One hundred billion neurons, each with an average of seven thousand synaptic connections to other neurons. My brain is my ticket out of here.

My heart, by contrast, is a pump. It moves blood around.

I know Dan is off-limits. I know I shouldn’t do something I’ll regret. And I know how much is at stake (my family, my future).

So why can’t I stop thinking about him? Those inscrutable jade eyes. The smile that can say a thousand different things at once. That tattoo curving across his abs…

Even though I know better, I feel that pounding in my chest. And it’s getting harder to ignore.

But if I follow my heart, I can never go back.

Answer: There is no such thing as an immovable object.





4 stars

Whoa, this little book took me by surprise! V.K. Torston’s debut novel is a raw and gritty, emotional read that is all about the beauty and intensity of first love in the face of torment and misperception, about finding yourself and figuring out what is important, and then fighting for what you want the most. It’s a beautifully written story full of heartache, sweet and fun moments and hope, and I loved it!

Sophie is a smart and serious high school senior who has the world at her feet. Valedictorian of her school and with a prestigious college in her sights, she is on her way to making a success of her life. She’s also on her way of getting away from her toxic home life. Her single mother moved her boyfriend in three years previously, shortly after which any relationship between them pretty much disintegrated and they became more enablers of each other’s alcoholic tendencies, either fighting or ignoring each other. But with that move came Daniel. Her sort-of-stepbrother-but-mostly-not, Dan is the polar opposite of Sophie, the bad boy with few prospects and the bane of her existence.

Studious Sophie and Dangerous Dan, the pair of us occupied vastly different spheres. I lugged around a cello case and a backpack stuffed with honors textbooks. Dan rarely brought more than a joint and a black eye to class. Where my academic career has so far been marked by orchestra and honor roll, his time at S. A’s resolved primarily around not attending.

There was an instant dislike between Sophie and Dan, but as their parents’ relationship disintegrated, they banded together to help each other cope with the situation. Hanging out, playing pranks on their parents and each other, they formed an alliance which became an unexpected friendship, and the bright spark in each other’s lives.

And then everything changes. A flare of attraction that becomes so much more and, despite their circumstances, something that neither of them are able to walk away from.



I didn’t really know much about this book before going in, but I was very quickly sucked into Sophie’s world and her tumultuous, somewhat forbidden love story. While they’re not related, and not even real step-siblings, there is still that edginess about their relationship, and the secretive nature adds to the intensity of it all as they steal heated glances, hidden touches and steamy moments together.

But the people in their world are so quick to judge, to criticise and condemn what they don’t understand, and once their secret is out, the reactions are extreme, putting Sophie and Dan to the test and forcing them to make choices which will determine the rest of their lives.

I loved this story. Like I said, it was surprising and definitely not what I was expecting but I thought it was really well written and I loved the way it all played out. Sophie’s journey is truly one of discovery, and I loved seeing the innocent young girl break out of her shell and experience life. And Dan absolutely stole my heart! The bad boy with the big heart, he was unexpected and I loved that, and seeing him sweet, funny and totally enamoured with Sophie was just gorgeous.

“Right now you’re the only person in the world who feels how I feel. I’m not losing that.”

Sophie and Dan’s story is a tumultuous one and though the characters may be young, this is definitely not a YA read, with sexy scenes and drama that is definitely for an older audience. It’s raw and gritty with angsty moments, but ultimately this is a romance and the love story is just beautiful. I’ll definitely be looking out for more from this author.

I loved it. 4 stars.

An Advanced Review Copy was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.


About the Author

V.K. Torston is a millennial and ‘cool aunt’ to a brood of nieces and nephews. She was born and raised in San Francisco, attended university in New York City, and aspires to one day live in London. A veteran of the independent music scene, she began writing nonfiction in her late teens. Then she realized that making up stories was way more fun than coming up with endless synonyms for ‘frenetic’ and ‘danceable.’ Her hobbies include drinking too much coffee, making up stupid songs, and ranting about current events. Defiant Attraction is her first novel.

Twitter: @vktorston
Goodreads Author Page


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