I wanted to read this because I hadn’t read anything of this author before. And for the first 25%, everything was fine. More than fine, really. But then all hell broke loose.
The blurb is quite revealing. In fact, it seems everything is told there. In truth, all of that happens during the first 25%. From then on, the book seems to go nowhere. I mean, there wasn’t a definited plot-line in which the story was developed. It was a chain of events with no evident purpose.
The first quarter of the novel was very agile and compelling. I grant that. It grabbed my attention and didn’t let me go. Cal runs from the place where he had been kidnapped and tortured and gets into a store, Jake’s Uncle’s store. They welcome him home and the police finds the criminal and kills him when he attempts to resist.
This loving marriage formed by Gary and Luce, who receive him with open arms, finds no legal obstacles to “adopt” him, and they do it very quickly at that. I had to suspend disbelief at this stage of things. They know nothing of Cal but they love him as a son as soon as he crosses the door. The only one who seems reluctant is Jake, their nephew, who also lives with them.
But it only last a short while.
There is no real character development.
It’s hard for me to come to terms with stories like this: the teenager who lives a traumatic experience and suddenly he gets to meet this perfect prince in shining armor who is so patient and handsome and upright. Usually, this situation gives me a sense of implausibility. And this is no exception.
From Cal’s part, his abduction and trauma are forgotten very easily, he overcomes it and has a normal life. Oh, yeah, he lost his voice and can’t speak for a few weeks, but then he finds it, and he looks like a normal person again. Oh, yeah, he goes to therapy once or twice, but then he cancells the appointments and none is the wiser. He’s not scared of people, he’s not scared of being touched, he trust everybody and has no problem doing it, no inner conflicts, and no inherent fears. There is a few seconds in which there could be a reminiscence of his experience, but it’s forgotten in the next scene.
From Jake’s part, he soons declares his love for Cal, and he even asks him to marry him. Things were happening so fast and with no depth at all, so I couldn’t find anything of this believable at all. Jake is so perfect, he is the ideal boyfriend who promises to protect Cal from everything and he doesn’t care what anybody says about him. He had metal skin in order to ignore the outside world and all its challenges. He’s so hot, he’s not in any sports team, but he’s a math genious who somehow managed to develop a bulging biceps even when resting. He even ends up with a full 5-o’clock at the end of the day, for God’s sake. Yes, I’m aware there are people in high school who has an impressive full beard already. Yes, it’s quite possible, I don’t deny it. But this description fits a 20-something guy rather than a 18-year-old one. This only added to an already incredible situation.
They don’t feel like adults. They are supposed to be 17-18 years old, but they felt they were 10 years older each. So mature attitudes, so confident behaviours, so hot bodies. After a few days being together (I mean, being official boyfriends), they already know the other one is their everything and that they want to spend their whole life together.
Just no. I couldn’t buy it, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t.
And what happens next is hard to accept, too.
Misfortunes, one after the other.
Spoilerish: There is the prom dance date scene, the health issues with Jake’s uncle and aunt, the bigotry of the town, Jake’s decision to flee with Cal and live together elsewhere (whoa, stop there, Jake! Take is easy!), Jake’s jealous ex incident, the marriage episode (life is short but your love story is not that profound, guys!), and if that wasn’t enough, the kidnapper appears at the very end of the book, when he was supposed to be dead.
It’s too much.
Too many things in such a short notice, and all of them are so dramatic and unusual that it sounded like a Greek tragedy rather than a story about two teens being together and growing up together.
The aspect I liked the most were Jake’s friends. I could feel Mallory and Keith and Blake behaving like normal youths, and follow their adventures with a real interest. They were more believable than the main characters, and that is very sad. I also liked Gary a lot, and Luce, despite all. They were very well defined, very well developed.
But everything else? It got out of hand fast.
It was a miss for me.
***Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.***