Adam Hawthorne is fine. Yeah, his mother left, his older sister went with her, and his dad would rather read Nicholas Sparks novels than talk to him. And yeah, he spends his nights watching self-curated porn video playlists. But Adam is fine. When a family friend discovers Adam’s porn addiction, he’s forced to join an addiction support group: the self-proclaimed Knights of Vice. He goes because he has to, but the honesty of the Knights starts to slip past his defenses. Combine that with his sister’s out-of-the-blue return and the attention of a girl he meets in an AA meeting, and all the work Adam has put into being fine begins to unravel. Now Adam has to face the causes and effects of his addiction, before he loses his new friends, his prodigal sister, and his almost semi-sort-of girlfriend.
The Temptation of AdamFeatured
A Fresh Look at Teen Addiction
THE TEMPTATION OF ADAM focuses on Adam Hawthorne, a teen who has lost a lot. His mom and his older sister have moved away leaving him with his dad—and his dad is too immersed in his own post-break-up misery to pay much attention to Adam. Adam doesn’t have friends anymore, and he’s tortured by nightmares that leave him drifting away from his family. As a result, Adam has found something to occupy his waking hours and his mind: porn.
Adam thinks he’s coping with everything just fine until he’s suspended from school and placed under the supervision of Mr. Cratcher, a teacher/family friend Adam views as a nemesis rather than a mentor. But Adam wants to return to school, so he follows the rehabilitation path laid out for him: he spends every morning with Mr. Cratcher, he attends twelve-step meetings to deal with his porn addiction (even though he’s convinced he’s not an addict), and he joins the Knights of Vice—a group of teens addicted to a variety of things with Mr. Cratcher at their helm trying to guide them through life with wit and wisdom. Adam's interest in the group is cemented when he discovers that an attractive, sassy, and smart girl named Dez is affiliated with the Knights.
I was intrigued by the subject matter of THE TEMPTATION OF ADAM, and I was really curious to see how Dave Connis managed it. Although I’ve read a lot of fiction and non-fiction on the topic of addiction, and I’ve lived with a lot of people dealing with some variation of the disease, porn addiction is a new topic for me—and not one I’ve seen in YA literature. The whole thing could have gone terribly wrong.
Thankfully, Connis handles the topic brilliantly. His teens’ voices are authentic, and that allows him to immerse his characters in their issues and their efforts toward healing without getting preachy or didactic. Although the other Knights of Vice and the adults in the story float in the background, they step forward from time to time to share a bit of wisdom or humor.
The positives of this book are definitely the great characters, the truly lovely writing, and how adept Connis is in dealing with his topic. It’s not a perfect book: the characters make some choices that caused me to have to suspend belief for a bit, and there are inconsistencies toward the end of the book that are hopefully resolved in the final copy of it, but the flaws are not sufficient to keep me from recommending this book to all YA readers. THE TEMPTATION OF ADAM is a fresh narrative and a terrific debut, and I really look forward to Dave Connis’s future books. My thanks to YA Books Central and the publisher for a copy of the book in exchange for my unbiased review.