Title: Not Broken, Just Bent
Author: Mia Kerick
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 180 pages
Blurb: A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
Braving the start of high school, longtime childhood friends Benjamin Wells and Timmy Norton quickly realize they are entering a whole new world colored by their family responsibilities. Ben is trying to please his strict father; Timmy is taking care of his younger sisters. While their easy camaraderie is still comfortable, Ben notices Timmy growing distant and evasive, but Ben has his own problems. It’s easier to let concerns about Timmy’s home life slide, especially when Timmy changes directions and starts to get a little too close. Ben doesn’t know how to handle the new feelings Timmy’s desire for love inspires, and his continuing denial wounds Timmy deeply.
But what Timmy perceives as Ben’s greatest betrayal is yet to come, and the fallout threatens to break them apart forever. Over the next four years, the push and pull between them and the outside world twists and tears at Ben and Timmy, and they are haunted by fear and regret. However, sometimes what seems broken is just a little bent, and if they can find forgiveness within themselves, Ben and Timmy may be able to move forward together.
Review: Some YA books are enthralling and exciting for adults just as any other adult title. This book though is a YA story for a pure YA audience.
So, I find it interesting and not easy at all to write a review while separating that concept from the overall enjoyment of the book.
These character’s voices are unique, simple and genuine.
There are no high expectations, there are grammar complications, even the language and style of the dialogue is simple, easy to follow.
Everyday life, everyday choices these boys have to make, and above all real life experiences with the normal reactions and consequences of those choices.
Both Tim and Ben are faced with the transition from childhood into adulthood in different ways. They come from different backgrounds and are dealing with their own situations at home.
Their friendship, is the one constant in their lives. For Tim it’s a safe haven, for Ben it represents a challenge.
But while they are both comfortable with each other, and with exploring their new found desires together, both of them are still not being one hundred percent honest with each other.
Ben struggles with his sexuality. Tim with his family reality. And like the boys they are, they don’t know how to deal with it all. They make mistakes, and learn from them.
I liked the simplicity of the story telling, it felt real. I liked the sense of “conversation” Ben has with the readers throughout the book, but I found myself wanting more of that.
I loved how the author managed to keep the sex off page, but was able to share and transmit the intimacy of their relationship to the readers.
While strict, Ben’s father was an amazing character, and contrary to many YA titles a great role model. It is hard to find a father figure that is present, that imposes respect, that teaches values and is demonstrative of his love for his child.
I want to see more parents like this one! I don’t want to always hate the parent, or find them unfitting for the task of raising a child.
Even with Tim’s issues this book proves that you can have fully functional characters, real characters, and still make a great story.
I think this is the message, the value of friendship. The value of love, parental and romantic. That no matter what, if given the opportunity even a broken boy can heal and overcome adversity.
Overall, for me, this was a great book for the YA audience.
Reviewed by Connie