Iris After the Incident

01 April 2018

We all have secrets, but not all of us have had the misfortune of having some of those secrets leaked and plastered all over the Internet for everyone to see, ready to be pulled up with just a few taps on the screen or keyboard, and making other people feel like they have the right to shame or humiliate us, like what happened to Iris Len-Larioca.

Iris is the heroine of Mina V. Esguerra's book, Iris After the Incident, that I finished reading today.

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?
Shunned by most of her family yet blessed with supportive employers, Iris mostly kept to herself as her way of coping. But as Alanis Morissette sings, "Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you..." Life threw her a curve-ball in the form of Gio Mella.

And what a complex curve-ball he was.

What I love about Mina's Main Characters is that they are never damsels-in-distress. Although Iris had a few doubts because of her Questionable Decisions from the past, she knew what she wanted and damned if she didn't go after it. On the other hand, Gio as the Love Interest was not without issues yet he coped with them the way he knew how. Add fleshed out supporting characters, intense families (and those sex scenes! *fans self*), and Easter eggs from Mina's other well-loved books into the mix and you have one of my top favorite books of hers that I have read. Tall order, you say? Well, aside from the story and further exploration of the NV Park universe that Mina created and I loved, I also got to see a glimpse on my favorite Kimmy Domingo (from Love Your Frenemies) after her happily-ever-after with Manolo on their book!

There are no real, tangible villains in this book aside from judgmental anonymous and faceless Internet commenters.

I have to admit, it took a little bit longer for me to finish this because it felt too dark and unnerving and real at times, not because I had a similar Incident, but mostly because violation of people's privacy and women's rights are hot topics right now. Out of all Mina's books that I have read, Iris and Gio seem to have the issues that are most relevant, what with gossip blogs and social media in full swing whenever one's privacy is maliciously exposed. When it felt like it was just easier for Iris and Gio to give up and revert back to the new normal they were used to before they met each other, what gave me hope is that I was reading a romance book, and [this is not a spoiler, mind you] romance books always have happy endings!

"You, me, falling. Everything."

Ugh. I am swept off my feet. Thanks for another great read, Mina! ♡ (You can contact Mina for copies or you can also 1-Click it on Amazon, OR attend #AprilFeelsDay on April 28!)

PS: Dear Mina, I need a book with Matilda's story, TIA!

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