If it was inspired by a true story, this would've got four or five stars from me, but reading the dedication page it seems it was not, therefore only...moreIf it was inspired by a true story, this would've got four or five stars from me, but reading the dedication page it seems it was not, therefore only three stars. As it features such young characters I believe this story will have many readers similar to them. And it's clear enough the message the author delivers through this book. That's why I don't agree with the direction it took, I would've preferred an alternate development.
The protagonists, Rick and Kevin, are teenagers, both sixteen at the beginning. In no way this story should be classified as young adult. The book is challenging in matters of content and actions of the characters. It contains many on page scenes of violence, child abuse, drugs and alcohol abuse, prostitution. Not sex, though, that was glossed over, and this was one of my main "dislikes". If you present your protagonists the way you did why not show them in their sexual interactions as well? Especially as one important point is Rick's sexuality, and I think we needed to see as well how he reacts to his first gay experiences and the dynamic between Rick and Kevin in these moments. If you dare to bring on page such strong and uncomfortable themes, why not go all the way with your characters? In terms of dislikes I could tell a few more: (view spoiler)[I don't remember a justification why Kevin never fought back when he was beaten by his father; the scene at the end when Kevin's father caught them seemed very forced, also the fighting in front of the house party that got Rick to follow Kevin back to his house and all that happened after; the epilogue was told in such an unemotional, clinical voice. (hide spoiler)] In terms of likes, because there were despite my overall reaction: I appreciate authors who don't avoid portraying flawed characters, characters who act bad, make bad choices, try to survive psychically, psychologically and emotionally as their circumstances and means allow, and Kevin, with his background, his issues with control, aggressiveness, was the perfect example. I appreciate when real problems are detailed and not looked over in a story. And Rick and Kevin were beautiful together. They had many sensual, tender, emotional and some tensioned moments together. It was great to see Kevin and his game of seduction turning against him. It was a beautiful romance.
4.5 stars This book took me by surprise, but in a very good way. I would describe it by dark themes and characters with mysterious pasts and plans. Cal...more4.5 stars This book took me by surprise, but in a very good way. I would describe it by dark themes and characters with mysterious pasts and plans. Calyx is such a wonderful protagonist, definitely not defined by an usual combination of characteristics. An empath, drug addict, occasionally a prostitute, flamboyant, provocative, mouthy, seductive, a survivor of the streets and of the gritty world of Juxtapose. Black (Darkness as Calyx calls him) on the other hand is controlled, dedicated to his team, is trying so hard to hide his emotions. These two opposites are so much fun watching them interact. (less)
2.5 stars Although I like darker stories, I cannot say I enjoyed this one. I knew from the start what to expect, but even so it's hard to believe the f...more2.5 stars Although I like darker stories, I cannot say I enjoyed this one. I knew from the start what to expect, but even so it's hard to believe the feelings of the characters seeing them act as they did. Lust between Brant and Wilber - yes so much, love - didn't feel it. Brant was more like a conditioned pet as himself put it at one time, and Wilber is a master who educates his pets and eventually develops an attachment towards one of them. The positive note is that I appreciate the author's effort for using the organized crime as the setting of this story, and for combining such difficult and controversial themes. (less)
A very good read with some dark elements. Freeman and Kit are complex opposites characters: one is an experienced man who recognize his faul...more4.25 stars
A very good read with some dark elements. Freeman and Kit are complex opposites characters: one is an experienced man who recognize his faults, the other is an impulsive young man on his way of becoming an adult. Kit's choices are often misguided, and the negative consequences on his life are unavoidable. Freeman accepts him as he is, without trying to interfere or making suggestions of his own. I truly enjoyed their interactions and how they kept growing closer despite the circumstances that distanced them. (less)