I love me some teen crime fic. Makes me feel all nostalgic and stuff for Trixie Beldon and Scooby Doo.
First things first~
Killian Kendall appears to be like any other 16 year old kid, but his life takes a dramatic turn when he befriends the new guy at his school, who happens to be openly gay. Being drawn to and hearing Seth’s background, Killian begins to question the relativelyquiet and safe life he has lived to date; the least of these being that he too might be gay. When Seth is murdered and he is left for dead in the same attack, Killian finds the strength to not only be honest to himself and others about who he really is, including the truth about his sexuality, but to bring Seth’s murderer to justice.
Thus begins a roller coaster of a ride which is the making of this young man. Sounds angsty and a bit thrilling, doesn’t it? There’s no doubt it’s definitely that. What more could you expect, though, when an author has the guts to combine a coming out teen story with a bit of romance, a hint of paranormal and a strong dash of damned fine mystery plot. The bottom line is that it works, which I think is a credit to the writing skills of this new-to-me author and the character he has created in Killian Kendall. As you may have gathered, I thought the stand out thing aboutBleeding Hearts was Killian himself. I was engrossed – actually Ithink the word is smitten – by him and his story.
One of the reasons why I found Killian so convincing as a character is because the author avoided the trend in some gay YA books ofthe coming out magically making the teen happy and whole. Yes, I may have raised a brow at the relative ease to which Killian’s future is resolved after he admits his sexuality to his parents, but by no means did he become a ‘perfect’ character. He was still confused, still making mistakes, still growing up. We’ve all been there and done that as teens which is what makes Killian all the more believable and appealing.
It’s always such a pleasure for me as a reader when I find a character engaging enough that I’m actually glad to be on their journey with them, albeit one with lots of highs and lows. (Accompanying those lows is lots of crying, btw. It might not be to some readers’ tastes, but bear with it as it is, no matter how annoying, always appropriate to the context of the story.)
As to the mystery part of Bleeding Hearts? Wave hates it when I give spoilers so all I’ll say is that it was pretty much edge of your seat stuff and the caretaker definitely didn’t do it.
A couple of issues/warnings~
My biggest issue with Bleeding Hearts was that I thought it did fall a bit into the trap of being a first book in a series insomuch that it was packed full of setting and character development. This did not make the story convoluted by any stretch of the imagination; however, there were times I wished there was more of a focus one aspect over the other. For example, towards the end of the story I was far more interested in the mystery as opposed to what was going on in the private lives of the characters and I was a bit disappointed there wasn’t more of a lead up/building of tension to the Big Reveal. I should add here that I’m a reader who prefers the mystery storyline over the private one when it comes to crime fiction so this could also have been my own prejudice playing out. *shrugs*
Those of you who enjoy reading YA, enjoy reading crime fiction or are just plain intrigued by the combination of the two should go out and get Bleeding Hearts. Be warned, though, you will be forking out the hard earned $$ for the next books because the Killian Kendall Mystery series is addictive.