Author: Sam Kadence
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: unknown
Rating: 4.0 of 5 Stars
A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
Vocal Growth: Book Two
Ex-boyband member Dane Karlson is struggling to overcome an eating disorder and a body dismorphic disorder. His fall through a glass table puts him in rehab and on the road to recovery. Then a friend dies. When depression causes him to lose ground, he calls for the only person he trusts—former bandmate Tommy. But Tommy doesn’t know how to help. He begs his friend Sebastian “Bas” Axelrod to aid them through the emotional struggle.
Bas, an openly gay high school student who’s recently lost his grandmother, is trying to survive his last few months of school before escaping to Stanford. Having just lost the only person in his family to care for him, he is victim to the cruelty of the others. His younger brother bullies him, and his parents are suing him for his gran’s inheritance. When Tommy calls, Bas can’t help but run to his side.
Together Dane and Bas find a middle ground, supporting each other through the lows, dancing together during the highs. They build friendships and plan for the prom and graduation, thinking positively as long as they are together.
I like a young adult romance where the characters face severe obstacles. And, in
spite of its deceptively cute title, “Unicorns and Rainbow Poop” gives us
Although part of a series, this book is largely structured to stand alone, and not
having read the other parts didn’t matter. What did matter is the strongly painted
characters of Dane and Sebastian (Bas). Dealing with topics such as eating
disorders, parental abuse and extreme bullying is not something to be
approached with a heavy hand, and Kadence has done a deft job of making the
characters more than a collection of symptoms.
Dane is the center of the story. Struggling with long-hidden anorexia that has
reached a critical stage, he turns to his former boy-band mate Tommy, who in
turns brings a new friend, Bas, onto the scene. Bas’s arrival triggers Dane’s
inculcated homophobia, linked again to his abusive family and not to his true
The setup, like the outcome, can be anticipated early on, but the author’s
carefully twisted path to that outcome draws us deeper into Dane’s heart and
mind and allows us to understand how profound and frightening anorexia is.
Bas has his own troubles, but Kadence takes the time to let the reader see the
strong side of this out and proud young man before bringing his darker aspects to
the fore. Bas is no stranger to serious emotional and physical damage, which
creates a second, more surprising result as his friendship with Dane solidifies
into a symbiotic sharing of strength.
The introduction into the narrative of the tween-girl cartoon world of “My Pretty
Pony” and the unexpected all-male fandom that grew up around it (“Bronies”) is a
clever ploy. Aside from the goofy title, the pretty ponies and their unicorn avatars
at first allow Bas to offer something purely sweet and gentle and non-threatening
to the deeply wounded Dane. The title of the book seems less snicker-inducing
as the reader comes to understand that it is a survival strategy for Dane; a tool
for him to use to overcome the self-destructive impulses that have ruled most of
his young life.
I liked the diverse crew of supporting characters (including some parents who are
involved and positive) who surround Dane and Bas. I confess that I had trouble
believing these guys were all still high-school age, because of the thoughtful
maturity with which Kadence imbues them. However, as role models go, one
couldn’t ask for more.
I could also point out that I disliked the cliffhanger epilogue, which is clearly
setting us up for another in the series. The dark and despairing tone of the
cliffhanger rather spoils the emerging atmosphere of hope that the narrative has
carefully constructed over many pages. This seems, to me, to be a needless
negation of all the author’s hard work. It is a device used by many authors in
many series, and while it achieves its purpose, it does (again, just my opinion)
more damage than good. There are more subtle ways to plug your next book,
and anyone who’s read this one will want to keep going.
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,
|This post may contain affiliate links.
|Prism Book Alliance® assumes no liability for the ownership of photos or content used in guest posts and interviews. The post author assumes all responsibility and liability for this content.|