Author: C. Kennedy
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 480 pages
Rating: A List
Blurb: A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
High school senior Michael Sattler leads a charmed life. He’s a star athlete, has great friends, and parents who love him just the way he is. What’s missing from his life is a boyfriend. That’s a problem because he’s out only to his parents and best friend. When Michael accidentally bumps into Christy Castle at school, his life changes in ways he never imagined. Christy is Michael’s dream guy: smart, pretty, and sexy. But nothing could have prepared Michael for what being Christy’s boyfriend would entail.
Christy needs to heal after years of abuse and knows he needs help to do it. After the death of his notorious father, he leaves his native Greece and settles in upstate New York. Alone, afraid, and left without a voice, Christy hides the myriad scars of his abuse. He desperately wants to be loved and when he meets Michael, he dares to hope that day has arrived. When one of Michael’s teammates turns enemy, and an abuser from Christy’s past seeks to return him to a life of slavery, only Michael and Christy’s combined strength and unwavering determination can save them from the violence that threatens to destroy their future together.
With a foreword by Jamie Mayfield.
Review: I am not even sure where I should start with this book. Am I supposed to tell you each and every little thing that I loved about it? That will have me talking (writing) for a while my friends, because this was an amazing book. A very emotive read, one of those books that leave you emotionally drained.
You know the feeling when you have to take a break between books because the book you finished was just that intense? Well, that was the feeling.
I finished this book while on a plane, on the way to the GRL convention in Atlanta, I cried a thousand tears on that plane, I couldn’t help it. So, I think it is fair to issue a tissue warning here.
Our main characters are Christy, a broken boy who has been abused in the most horrible ways you can possibly imagine. Once he is rescued, after years in captivity, Christy decides to leave his native country, Greece, to relocate to the States and find help to recover from such trauma. He can´t speak, one of his many injuries is a deep cut on his throat that needs to heal before he can even attempt to speak.
“Because of you, Michael, my heart begins to grow wings.” C.
And, as his counterpart and the object of his affection, Michael. Your average teenager. He is athletic, a good friend, a great son. It´s not over done, he is just a good kid. He is gay and noticed that there is one constant presence during his practices, Christy.
“Don’t judge yourself by what others did to you.” M.
They meet, talk, or at least Michael talks while Christy writes, and find that they have more in common than just the same school.
Though Michael learns about Christy’s damage throughout the whole book, he knows the basic when they start their relationship. It´s so good to see the changes in Christy´s demeanor; how being with Michael makes him feel more comfortable in his own skin. He stops being scared all the time, and when he is playful he is the best.
It’s not an easy relationship for these two, one that takes a lot of courage on Michael’s part. There is more than just the abuse on Christy´s side, he is in danger, they both are. It turns into a bit of a mystery/suspense sort of thing. To know who Christy really is, why he is in danger, why are they being threatened?
And as if they didn’t have enough, they have to deal with the homophobic classmates, and the hate crimes.
This book is about abuse, surviving abuse, coming to terms with it. Accepting it and moving forward. It is also about a boy falling in love for the first time with someone who needs more than just a boyfriend, he needs guidance and someone that understands what he’s been through. As if, finding your place in the world wasn’t difficult enough, Michael is dealing with a whole lot more.
“Live your life to the greatest extent possible. Abuse doesn’t define you.” M.
What makes this book unique? For me it was how in perspective Christy´s reality was expressed. For example, one of the things that Christy asked Michael was if it was correct that he was to shower once a day, even if he was not expected to have sex with someone. That moment for me was the OMG moment. Because it puts everything that happened to Christy into the bigger picture.
He lived his life as a slave; everything was about sex, actions and consequences, punishment. He was so scared, each time something seemed like a mistake, or that he was wrong he turned to Michael and asked what his punishment was going to be. It broke my heart each time.
What makes this book unique? Family, friendship, healthy relationships, love, overcoming adversity, forgiveness, kindness. These are what this book is about.
“A learning curve isn’t a perfect arc.”
I know there is a sequel in the making, I can’t tell you how much I need that sequel, see them happy, healing, loving and enjoying life.
No other fictional character deserves happiness as much as Christy does.
Reviewed by Connie