Title: Broken Places
Author: R. Anthony Martin
Release Date: May 13, 2016
Genre(s): Gay, diversity, friendship
Page Count: 300 pages
Reviewed by: Tosha
Heat Level: 2.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
A vicious lie plunges Robert Robinson’s life into darkness. As he prepares for his freshman year of college, he tries to put his tragic past behind him and move forward. But suppressed sexual desires ignite when he meets Jelin Church, the best friend of his roommate, Shawn Collins. Shawn Collins, the star shooting guard for the PCU Tigers, has dreams of making it into the NBA, but those dreams are threatened when illegal recruiting gifts surface. Now he must choose between advancing his career or destroying his best friend, Jelin. Jamal Lewis, a brilliant freshman on an academic scholarship, has plans of earning an MBA and opening a community development center in Newark, New Jersey. But when his father unexpectedly dies, Jamal is confronted with an offer from Shawn’s basketball coach that seems too good to refuse. One by one, their lives are entangled in a web of deceit. A tragic racial-profiling incident exposes their secrets, potentially ending their dreams. In order to survive, Robert, Shawn, and Jamal must confront their inner broken places, work together to fight the forces threatening to destroy them, and prove the bond of friendship is stronger than hatred.
Oh my gosh, I do not think that I have ever read a book that has touched a spot so deep in my heart like this one did. This book is definitely one of those books that is a very rare read. This book is not about just one main character or point of view but a book about several individuals that are brought together in different ways with different perspectives on life. This book is so emotional that you will definitely need a box of tissues but at the same time it is a book that will bring you hope as well. Hope for a better future. This book is sadly to close to the truth on some things that happen in it which makes it even sadder but in the end it is also a book that gives you a look into what could happen if people quit looking at each other’s sexuality, the color of their skin, their athletic abilities, their religion, their intelligence, and even where a person comes from and instead looks a person and bases their reaction to each person based on if they have a good heart or not. That was my take away from this book. And my favorite part of this book is the quote about a person broken places can grow back stronger!!!
This book as I said is about several individuals. Robert is glad to be getting out of his hometown and the nightmares of his past. He is looking forward to starting a new life and leaving behind the pain. But Robert does not understand that you cannot wish away being gay. He has to learn to accept himself and he has to learn that what he perceives as his fault is not.
Jamal is the first one in his family that is going to attend college. His family believes that he will be the one to get himself out of the poverty they live in and in turn helps his family as well. Not just with getting out of poverty but also by bringing them all together. Jamal is extremely smart but when the devil comes knocking and even if you know that it is not the right thing to do, the lure of helping his family may just be to much to ignore the devil after all.
Shawn is an up and coming star. He knows his basketball career is going to take off quickly now that he is in college and making a name for himself rather quickly. Only problem is Shawn believes he is entitled and does not have to work at anything else. Because of this he is easy manipulated and may end up costing him everything.
Jamal, Shawn and Robert are all roommates in college. The unlikeliest Of roommates. If Shawn could just except Robert then things would be good but he does not care for Robert for one reason, and that is because he is gay. Jamal has his work cut out for him in trying to make Shawn understand that just because Robert is gay that does not make him a bad person.
Then there is Jelin, Shawn’s best friend, thrown into the mix with his own secrets and desires that Shawn is not aware of and it is one huge mess.
But let’s not forget about Latisha. Latisha in her own way brings a new perspective to everything. She does not realize her own self worth and places all her dreams on Shawn and his making it big and taking her with him. But of course that is not the case and Latisha is in for some hard realities.
Can this group of people make it through their first semester without damaging themselves too much or will it take a huge loss for them all to realize what Is truly important in life?
This book as I said was completely incredible. With the mix of characters and each of their points of view, I have never read a book like this before. This book is definitely a book I will not soon forget. I really hope at some point there may be a follow up book on these characters because I would love to know how their lives turned out in the end. Definitely a highly recommended read!!
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