Title: The Bravest Thing
Author: Laura Lascarso
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: April 17, 2017
Genre(s): Young adult gay love, football, homophobia, bullying, mental/physical abuse, drug abuse, self harm, second chance
Reviewed by: Natosha
Heat Level: 4.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
High school junior Berlin Webber is about to reap the fruits of his hard work and land a football scholarship—if he can keep his sexuality a secret from his best friend, Trent, and their homophobic coach. Then Hiroku Hayashi swerves into the high school parking lot on his tricked-out motorcycle like some sexy comic book villain, and Berlin knows he doesn’t stand a chance.
Hiroku is fleeing his sophisticated urban scene to recover from drug addiction and an abusive relationship when he arrives in Berlin’s small Texas ranch town. Initially sarcastic and aloof, Hiroku finds in Berlin a steady, supportive friend who soon becomes more. As Hiroku and Berlin’s romance blossoms, they take greater risks to be together. But when a horrific act of violence tears them apart, they both must look bigotry in the face. While Berlin has always turned to his faith for strength, Hiroku dives into increasingly dangerous ways of coping, pushing them in opposite directions just when they need each other most.
Two very different young men search for the bravery to be true to themselves, the courage to heal, and the strength to go on when things seem darkest. But is it enough to bring them back together?
The Bravest Thing….this could not have been a better name for this book then it is. This name truly represents, in my opinion, exactly what this book is about for more then one reason.
First and foremost, I believe that it needs to be stated that this book may contain TRIGGERS for some people so I believe that there needs to be TRIGGER WARNINGS for abuse both mental and physical, drug abuse, homophobic slurs and bashing, and self hate. Those are the most important triggers that I think should be stated ahead of time before reading this book.
This book was truly an emotional read. I believe that both of the main characters went through hell and back to find one another more then once. Hiro definitely had it rougher in some ways but I believe that Berlin’s journey in this book was no less hard or no less important.
I do not want to spoil this book for anyone so I am just going to give my opinion on the characters instead of what this book is mainly about.
Berlin in my opinion is a strong person. So much more strong then he gives himself credit for. Yes he hides who he is for a long time but in my opinion it is not wrong to come out about your sexuality until that person is ready. I do not believe that it made him weak in any way but I do feel like him hiding it for so long and dealing with the things that people, including his best friend, say about gay people and the slurs they throw around did chip away at him. I think it made him feel weak and vulnerable and I believe he allowed himself to take the blame for some of the things that happened to Hiro because he felt like he should have been stronger and came out sooner then he did. But in my opinion, none of it was his fault if for no other reason then because he was not ready to come out but when the time was right for him and not for the sake of others, he did just that and he owned it and faught for what he believes was the right thing to do.
Berlin is one of those people that you meet and you can immediately feel the goodness in him and you know without a doubt that he is caring and he feels deeply for those he loves. Berlin is one of those people that would walk to the ends of the earth to save or take away the pain of someone he cares about. That makes him an extraordinary person.
Hiro is one of those people that is good hearted but he hides behind a facade. He does not want anyone to see the pain he feels. He does not want anyone to know the things he has allowed to happen in his life and he does not believe in his own self worth. Hiro is one of those people that has an addictive personality and when he is feeling low he does not know how to deal with it so he turns to things that will make him feel better for a little while but destroy him more on the inside.
This is a book in my opinion about learning how to be brave. It is a book about learning ones self worth and not depending on other people to make you feel better about yourself. It is about learning to lean on others and about learning to stand up for yourself and your beliefs. It is about setting boundaries and not only you respecting them but the person you are with respecting them. It is about be brace enough to not only love someone else but above all to learn to love yourself. Like I said this is an emotional read but it is also a very powerful read. I am so glad that I read it.