Title: Weight of Silence (Cost of Repairs #3)
Author: A.M. Arthur
Publisher: Briggs-King Books
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Cover Art: Lyn Taylor
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 Rating stars
A Guest Review by Feliz
Summary Review: Two young men from very different backgrounds find love and trust with each other, which gives them the strength to confront nasty secrets and mean adversaries together.
The Blurb: The wrong secret can poison everything–even if it’s kept with the best of intentions.
Gavin Perez knows he’s a living cliché. He works a dead-end job, shares a trailer with his waitress mom, has an abusive, absentee sperm donor, and he’s poor. So color him shocked when middle-class, white-bread Jace Ramsey agrees to hang out with him.
Granted, Gavin is trying to make up for dumping a bowl of cranberry sauce on Jace at Thanksgiving. And boy, is Gavin forgiven, over and over again…until Jace goes back to college for finals and stops returning Gavin’s calls.
Back home from the semester from hell, Jace doesn’t want to do anything but sleep through the holidays. It’s easier than coming out to his family—or facing Gavin’s hurt. But Gavin’s ready forgiveness draws them back together, and Jace won’t be able to stay in the closet much longer.
Nor will he be able to keep hiding his pain. He trusts Gavin with his body, maybe even with his heart. But can he trust that a devastating secret that’s eating him up inside won’t destroy everything—and everyone—he loves?
Warning: This book contains one slightly hyperactive hero from the wrong side of town, a frustrated college student looking for a little life experience, and an unexpected romance amid dark secrets that just won’t stay buried. Also contains references to physical abuse some readers may find disturbing.
This book is aptly named–some secrets are just so heavy that keeping silent about them can crush a person until they can’t breathe anymore. That’s what happened to Jace Ramsay. He got so tangled up in secrets–someone else’s and his own–that he did something stupid enough to make him vulnerable to blackmail. And now Jace is lost. He can’t ask his family for help because that would mean he’d eventually have to betray someone else’s trust, and he’s made himself guilty anyway, but he’s to weak–at least he thinks so–to get out of the whole disaster by himself, which shames him to the point of self-hatred. He needs someone he feels safe with, someone who will understand him, who won’t judge him or push him, but offer him support and lend him confidence when he can’t find it inside himself. Sweet-natured Gavin Ramsay, with his easygoing manner, with his optimistic lookout at life and his fierce protectiveness towards those he loves, might be just that person for Jace–if Jace could find the courage to trust the man who stole his heart.
Gavin is a living example for the saying: “If life gives you lemons, go make lemonade.” Having been hyperactive his whole life, he’s used to getting himself into messes big and small, and to extricate himself from them again by fast thinking/talking/ acting/ all of the above. Although he’s no slacker, Gavin is a bit of a drifter with not a lot of ambition and no real goal in life. That changes when he meets Jace Ramsay. When Jace withdraws from Gavin after what seemed to be the promising start of a tentative relationship, when Jace returns from College a changed person, Gavin makes it his aim to find out which mess Jace has caught himself in, and to help him out of it.
I loved the characterizations of Gavin and Jace and the way the writing in itself reflected their respective personalities. Not only in dialogue, but also in the narrative they had distinctive, recognizable voices. The writing drew me right into the story from the first word onward–fast-paced in places, almost poetic in others, with sweet love scenes so perfect for the two very young main characters (Gavin is 23, Jace 19), with gripping action scenes and a delicious dash of humor.
Once again, this book is set in the small town of Stratton, Pennsylvania, with Dixie’s Cup, the town diner, as the hub that connects this book to the previous two in the series, Cost of Repairs and Color of Grace (reviews under the cuts). Gavin’s mother Lucia is a waitress at Dixie’s; Jace’ father Keith Ramsay is a colleague of policeman Sam from Cost of Repairs. Dixie’s is where Gavin and Jace literally run into each other for the first time. I was happy to meet some of the characters from the previous books again, even though only in passing. Also, one of the loose threads from the previous books was tied up nicely in here. Weight of Silence is a worthy continuation to a very enjoyable series, and even though it can be read as a standalone, I’d recommend to read the books in order for maximum enjoyment.
However, two things kept this book from being completely perfect for me. The first was the fundamental secret, the one all of Jace’s other secrets came back to and revolved around. It just didn’t quite fit in with the description of his family as a whole–I can’t give away more in order to not be spoilerish, but that just didn’t sit right with me, even thought it’s theoretically conceivable that a scraed, overwhelmed teenager would act this way.
The second, and somewhat bigger issue that I had was the ending. It was sweet, romantic, fitting both Gavin’s and Jace’s personalities, but after the harsh and sometimes raw realism of the rest of the book, the ending–at least to me–sounded overly starry-eyed. It left me on a low note despite the fact that it was a very positive ending. But well, this might be just me, and others might love the book exactly for its ending.
Overall, this book was a very enjoyable page-turner with characters with whom I totally fell in love. I can only warmly recommend it.