Author: Mia Kerick
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 230 Pages
Blurb: A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
As a musician at the popular college café Coed Joe’s, high school senior Kai Manter is never lacking for male attention. Out, proud, free-spirited, and sexually aware, Kai sets his sights on his darkly Gothic and undeniably bad-tempered coworker, Jamie Arlotta, a freshman at the local arts university. Sporting long hair and alluring hippie style, Kai expects his interest will be reciprocated, with satisfying sex as the end goal. That’s what usually happens. But Jamie’s lessons in life have been harsher. Having been sexually abused by his older stepbrother for several years, Jamie has grown an impenetrable outer shell meant to keep the world at a safe distance.
Kai is angry at first when he takes the brunt of Jamie’s bad temper, but after Kai accidentally discovers the abuse Jamie has suffered, he wants to fix things. Kai’s plan is based on what he knows best—music—and he stages a “musical intervention” to let Jamie know he’s not alone and things can get better. When Jamie’s perspective changes and he emerges from his shell, Kai changes, too, gaining a whole new understanding of what sex can be when love is there too.
Review: There is one thing I love just as much as I love books and reading and that is music.
So when a good book comes with a great playlist, I am in my element.
This is an honest story about two boys in very different places in life, with a lot of healing and growing to do.
Kai is an adorable character, I love being inside his head. He had a very unconventional upbringing, with hippie parents. He had a very happy childhood, a loving family. He is a very sincere guy, and up until meeting Jamie he enjoyed his life and his sexuality in a very open way, just as horny as the next boy. Taking his relationships very lightly, with one bad breakup in his past he is trying to move forward.
Jamie, on the other hand, wasn’t so lucky. He is a very complex character, with so many layers to his personality. He goes from cold to hot. Angry Jamie, to sweet, to frightened Jamie and everything in between.
Music is Kai’s way into Jamie’s heart. The way he has to break those walls Jamie put up and see what’s going on behind them, who the real Jamie is. It takes awhile, some serious effort on Kai’s part but he gets past them and what he finds is a broken boy, stuck in an abusive relationship, a prisoner of his own fears and demons.
I loved the slow burn of this story, the pace was perfect. You can’t rush the healing process of a broken boy. Kai’s patience is a key element in this story. He is not good with words but music speaks for him.
He can show Jamie that his love is sincere and that he is in for the long run. Something that neither Jamie nor Kai have experienced before, love and intimacy beyond sex.
“But when all was said and done,
the love between us in the little bed,
as well as in our hearts,
was so real I could practically touch it.”
There are mentions of sexual abuse, you should be prepared for that. You will be so invested in Kai and Jamie’s relationship that it will break your heart to read it.
The family unit, Kai’s family, was amazing. I love them, especially his brother Charlie. They are not just brothers but best friends, confidants. Charlie is Kai’s rock when he needs him most, completely unconditional.
As a YA book I think the author deals with the difficult issues in a way that is real but not crude. The boys are turning into adults, they are learning to do that together. They have adversities that they must overcome, but it’s all part of the same process.
This coming of age story will warm your heart, bring love and music into your life. I found myself going over my playlist, on my phone as I have most of the songs Kai plays, and listening to them while reading. I recommend you try that, it will be a completely different reading experience.
I will leave you with one of the many fabulous songs Mia Kerick chose to be part of her book.
Posted on January 13, 2014, in Connie and tagged a haunting past, Abuse, Acceptance, Angry, Angst, B List, Breaking Down Walls, Broken, Coming Out, coming-of-age, Connie, Contemporary, Crazy Family, DSP, Family, fantasy in modern times, Fear, Finding Yourself, First Love, Friends to Lovers, Grief, Harmony Ink Press, Healing, Issues, Love, Making a New Family, Making a New Life, Music, Musical Intervention, Personal Demons, Playlist, Sweet, YA. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.