Author: Claire Davis and Al Stewart
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
Cover Artist: Noah Homes
Rating: 4.75 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 12/01/2016
Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)
Love is sure and timeless and forever. It whispers over the morning coffee and the last thought before sleep. Love is beyond hope, and cruel as life.
Kaz has been in the UK for almost a year, but the days pass by in an endless round of alcohol and nothingness. He has a story but no words good or bad enough to tell it, until one day, he is assigned a new peer mentor who asks him to help train a sponsored running team. Something that was stretched as old parchment breaks inside, and memories begin to re-surface.
Zack is overjoyed when his friend Adam asks him to be part of the sponsored run team trying to make money for the local homeless shelter. All day he makes cakes to lighten people’s load, but something is missing from his life. Then he meets the boy with eyes like the desert, and with every step he runs, Zack’s light burns away the darkness in Kaz’s heart.
As the race heats gets nearer, Tork, Adam, Zack and Jo realise that under Kaz’s careful programme, they have a chance to qualify and set right some of the wrongs of this world.
This book features the characters Tork and Adam from The Invasion of Tork and The Invasion of Adam.
There are times when you read a book and the reason if affects you is as much to do with the time or the circumstance you read it, as the book itself. For me this was one of those books.
My mother came to the UK, with some of her family, at the very beginning of WWII, a dangerous time to be Jewish and travellers. They settled in Salford which at the time was an impoverished working class area, most work came from the docks- and despite poverty, my mum tells a story of being sent out in winter to beg small amounts of coal from neighbours, they were always made to feel welcome and part of a community.
Recent events, Brexit in the UK, Trump in the US seem to indicate that tolerance and inclusion are waning, especially towards those who are viewed as ‘other’ and different. Reading this book was a strong reminder for hope and love.
Kaz arrives in the UK from a nameless country where being different could lead to death and persecution for his family, as an athlete he has attracted attention so his family pay for him to leave. He’s lived in a hostel for a year, and, as he tells everyone everything is great. He’s great, the jobs he gets are great. Except of course nothing could be further from the truth.
When Kaz is almost kicked out of the hostel for drinking, Tork bends the truth and says that he is going to coach a relay team set up to raise money for a homeless shelter. Running was such a huge part of Kaz’ world, and it starts to save him now. Zack is in the relay team, sweet kind hearted and overweight, he shows his love by cooking and wears his heart on his sleeve.
Kaz and Zack start to train with each other, and Kaz won’t drink if Zack cuts out the snacks, and they start to talk to each other. From the moment they meet they are attracted, but they talk and flirt and start to fall in love, while Kaz battles not just the numbness that litres of cheap cider can bring, but his survivors guilt and fear.
All the characters in this felt real, all were flawed and human. I enjoyed so much that this was a moment in these peoples lives, and that while it ended very positively, they had a way to go and there wasn’t a tagged on epilogue where everything was perfect.
There are parts of the book where everything is a little too easy, and lacking in the depth of emotion that I have come to associate with these writers, but that’s a minor niggle really.
While you could read this as a standalone I guess, I would recommend reading the Invasion of Tork, and the Invasion of Adam first, as the whole series is not just beautifully written but empathic and reminder that people do care.
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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