Author: Devon McCormack
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 07/28/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Young Adult
Running naked through the woods, Cal flees the sadistic man who abducted and tortured him. When he stumbles upon a convenience store, he breaks in to steal food. A young store clerk, Jake, confronts him, and they get into a fight that ends with Cal being knocked unconscious. He wakes in the home of Jake’s Uncle Gary, the owner of the convenience store. Realizing Cal needs help, Gary tries to communicate with him, but despite Cal’s efforts, he can’t bring himself to speak. Instead, he writes down his experiences. Horrified by the perverse cruelty Cal endured, Gary takes him to the police, who track down his tormentor.
Abandoned by his parents before his abduction, Cal doesn’t have anywhere to go, so Gary and his wife eagerly welcome him into their home. He feels fortunate to be with such caring people—something he’s never had before. Despite their help, he still can’t find his voice, and he wonders if he ever will. And Jake certainly isn’t making things any easier. It’s clear he doesn’t want Cal to be part of their family. But the more Cal gets to know him, the more he realizes Jake might be the very person who can heal the deep wounds left by his horrifying past.
I really waffled on what to rate this book for a couple of different reasons. The story itself isn’t bad but it’s also not what the blurb promises, in my opinion.
It was the blurb that drew me in. The promise of a young man escaping from a mad man and rebuilding his life sounded extremely interesting. However, that’s not what I got. Instead, it’s a fairly typical, though still well-written young adult tale of two young men falling in love. The fact that the story itself was well-written and entertaining is what stopped me from rating it any lower.
Cal escapes from his kidnapper and torturer and finds a new family in the home of Gary and Lucinda—Luce—and their nephew Jake. After the seemingly required I don’t think he’s gay subplot Cal and Jake begin a relationship. It’s a sweet relationship and enjoyable story despite a few clichés used in the plot; the jealous ex making up a lie. Additionally, Luce, an important supporting character, was at times unlikable as she worried more about what other people thought than about Cal and Jake.
The aspect of Cal’s kidnapping unfortunately has little to do with his relationship.
There is so few mentions of it that it was almost like it didn’t happen. The only time it was mentioned significantly was at the beginning and the end. The other mentions were so negligible that I can’t remember how many there were. This should’ve been a major aspect of Cal’s life but instead it only comes up when it’s necessary for the plot. There’s no nightmares or PTSD and he doesn’t talk about what happened. There’s no mention of Cal seeing a counselor, though Gary does say at the beginning that he’ll need it.
I know McCormack can write exciting stories with well-rounded and deep characters so I don’t know why he didn’t do that here.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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