Author: P T Denys
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: unknown
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
After a tragic accident devastates his family, 16-year-old Rick St. James starts his junior year of high school alone in a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. When he meets Kevin Vincent, he’s too distracted by the promise of new friends to see that Kevin has secrets of his own.
Having created an environment where he’s feared and admired by his classmates, Kevin finds pleasure in using his good looks and violence to control and manipulate those around him. Secretly, he cruises the gay club scene, turning tricks to earn money so he can party and get high.
As Rick’s dad becomes increasingly violent and abusive at home, the two form a surprising and volatile trust. In this battle of wills, their precarious friendship will either keep their lives from blowing up around them or possibly light the fuse that will cause the explosion.
So, this is probably the most difficult book I have ever read. I requested it from Prism as I always do, by reading the blurb but not any reviews, and this is the one time I am thinking maybe I should have. There were numerous points at which I nearly stopped reading it. Why? I’m a mother. My youngest son is almost the same age as Rick and Kevin. It was extremely difficult not to mention painful to read the horror in this story.
I persevered but again I am still in two minds as whether that was the right thing to do. I finished it feeling hollowed out. I found myself clinging to the hope that even after all the darkness there would be some small chance that they would get their happy, that somewhere the universe would think these two boys were owed a chance to know more about love instead of the bleak horrors that were their lives. I won’t be giving anything away by telling you that is not the case.
Rick has only recently moved to Utah, his family are starting over after the death of his older brother, and after a couple of weeks at school spent alone as the new kid Kevin Vincent takes him under his wing. Ricks mother died in whilst giving birth to him and his father has always blamed him for it. When his older brother gets drunk one night and phones fourteen year old Rick to come and pick him up he stupidly agrees. Rick idolises his brother and can’t say no, he also can’t drive a car very well and when they crash Jason is dead on impact.
The guilt that Rick lives with is huge. He lost his brother, his one ally in a cold house and is plagued by nightmares. He can’t stop his tears. He is constantly re-living the crash, seeing Jasons dead body on the road. He has no one to talk to about his feelings; he never talks to any friends, not that he has many, and his father is too tied up in his own grief and hate to bother with him. When his father finally snaps one day he lets out that anger and grief on Rick in the form of physical violence and the cycle has begun. Rick is no longer safe in his home. His step mother chooses to ignore what is in front of her eyes, enabling the violence, and Rick’s life has gone from lonely to dangerous in the blink of an eye.
Kevin Vincent is far more difficult to work out and far more damaged. He sees the new boy who always looks as though he has been crying as a challenge. To his ‘friends’ he is the tough guy, the leader of the gang and the one everyone is afraid of. He earns their friendship through fear, keeps them loyal with drugs and booze and is careful not to let them see the other parts of him. He prostitutes himself in men’s bathroom stalls to enable him to afford to get into bars and pick up any man he wants but this is side that is hidden from his friends and father. His home life looks perfect to anyone outside, his father is always polite to his friends; he appears to everyone as strict but fair. Appearances can be deceiving. Vincent lives with a psychopath. The abuse he suffers is very different from Rick. His is well thought out and involves no emotion just pain and terror.
Both these boys live in fear and the violence on page is terrifying. They are drawn to each but their relationship is based on fear, hatred and mind games initially. It is certainly not a healthy relationship to begin with, I’m not even sure if it was healthy at the end but it did change along the way. Both these boys were desperate for affection and love and I hope that is at least part of what they got from each other whilst dealing with the hell of their families.
The ending killed me. Although I could see it coming in one form or another I still held hope that the author would give them their chance, just give them a tiny bit of happy and a reason to continue. Nope, your heart will be pulled out again.
My emotions are still all over the place after finishing it. It is a very stark reminder that the world can be a very dark place. This book is not for everyone, I’m still not sure if it was for me, and should come with some pretty big trigger warnings. It is not a story that will leave me quickly nor is it one I think I could re-read. You may wonder why 5 Stars? The writing deserved it. The story deserved it. Just because it made me uncomfortable, made me cry and wasn’t about the HEA…it was still worth it.
I will leave you with one final thought; never become that neighbour that looks the other way. If you suspect it then do something about it!
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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