A Guest Review by Andrea
Review Summary: Dark and emotional, but the prologue gave me a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel.
Danny is young, gay, and homeless. He lives in the park, preferring to avoid attention, but when thugs confront a stranger, Danny rushes to his rescue. He and the would-be victim, Harry, form a cautious friendship that deepens months later, when Harry persuades Danny to visit his home. Daring to believe he has found happiness, Danny finds his world turned upside down yet again when tragedy strikes.
Until he runs out of options, Danny won’t trust anyone. Finally he has to accept the offer of a home, and Danny becomes David, but adjusting to a new life isn’t easy. When he meets the mysterious Jack, it stirs up feelings he thought were long gone. Can David dare to allow himself to love? Or will the truth bring his new world tumbling down around him?
The thought of parents disowning, abusing, or leaving their own kid homeless because of sexual orientation is vile to me. Some days it feels like every other book I pick up has one of these as part of the story line. It scares me to see something so incredibly devastating to a child become commonplace in romance, because, as much as I hate it, I feel myself becoming desensitized after reading the glossed over versions so many times. It’s because of this that I have so much respect for a book which gives something that traumatic the recognition it deserves.
Danny was kicked out and disowned by his parents when he was 16. Before that fateful night, he believed he had a large, loving family and a few close friends he could count on. He found out how wrong he was when his parents threw him out and everyone he knew and loved turned their backs on him. Having everything he thought was true stripped away from him so quickly changed Danny forever. He learned very quickly that being independent and self-sufficient was a necessity for his daily survival. He vowed he would never trust or depend on anyone else again. It was a dark and lonely existence, but it was his choice and gave him a sense of control. Just the threat of falling in love, and giving someone else that much power, was almost enough to kill him.
Upsetting Danny’s fragile existence is Harry. He’s a 16 year old boy with a crush, who won’t take no for an answer. He ever so slowly works his way under Danny’s skin, and before he realizes it, he is in love and trusting another person. It’s terrifying, but he just can’t bring himself to cut himself off from Harry. Then, tragedy strikes. Danny once again comes to the painful conclusion that he cannot ever depend on someone.
I emphasize all of that so you can get a good idea of how broken and traumatized Danny really is. He runs for his life, from everyone trying to give him a helping hand. At least that his standard operating procedure up until the point he can no longer run, and he is forced to take the help he has repeatedly denied. It turns his life upside down.
What I truly loved about this book was that it’s more about getting inside Danny’s head. The day to day horrors of being a homeless kid on the street aren’t described in vivid detail. This isn’t about abuse, torture, or shock value. Those things are implied, but it’s their effect on Danny which is what really matters. Danny’s is a dark path, but because of the prologue, you know all along that Danny is going to turn his life around. The truly fascinating part is that some of the things you discover along the way will drastically change your expectations.
I couldn’t read this book fast enough. I was anxiously reading in anticipation of the conclusion. I do love a book that pulls me in and doesn’t let go until the final page. 😀 The only issues I had were with how unrealistic I found a couple things. I can’t go into them because it would completely spoil it for anyone else. I’ll just leave it that there a couple important events which I found hard to believe, but they weren’t enough to ruin it for me.
If you like dark and emotional, this is a book for you. I absolutely recommend it.