I read this earlier but am just now deciding to write a review, because I could no longer stand not to talk about this book. This is my first review a...moreI read this earlier but am just now deciding to write a review, because I could no longer stand not to talk about this book. This is my first review as well so my apologies for the incoherent ramblings which I know are going to take place.
Within the first couple pages I hurt for and fell in love with Stick and Bosten and the unbreakable bond they had. Stick, a young teen tall and lanky for his age, born with one ear and bullied by his peers. His best friends are his brother and sweet Emily. He is much stronger than he realizes, something Bosten knows as well. Bosten, the older brother who protects Stick, and loves his best friend Paul, stays both for his bother and his own fear of their tyrannical father.
In the McClellan family, the rules are severe and their punishments are cruel and inhumane. I ached for them to escape the abuse from their parents, to find salvation. It broke my heart that they were living this way and didn’t question just how different this family was. This little line in particular, a thought of Stark’s when they’re momentarily safe and happy in California with their savior of aunt Dahlia, got to me….
Evan told me that one time he’d worn his Sex Wax shirt to Disneyland, and they wouldn’t let him in unless he turned it inside out, so nobody could read the word “sex”. They said it was offensive. Bosten and I had never been to Disneyland, but after hearing that from Evan, I thought that maybe they had rules about the color of your underwear, too - just like Dad.
While it was great to see them having fun and being free in California, unfortunately, their trip couldn't last forever, and not too long after their return to 'home sweet home', Bosten and his boyfriend are caught together by Paul's mother. When Mr. McClellan finds out, the brutal fight is heard, not seen, by Stick. The morning after, the house is in disarray and Bosten is gone. Thus begins Stick's journey to finding his brother, meeting some interesting characters along the way, some bad, some good. **spoiler warning to be safe** (view spoiler)[Not going to lie, the moment Bosten left, I was both dying to get to the end when Stick and he reunited, while at the same time dreading getting through each page because in the back of my mind, I thought, what if they don’t? Doing my best to not go into too much detail, I will say I was scared half to death when I got near the end and Stick was describing his recent nightmare, as I feared it was not just a nightmare, but the truth, or at least partially so. (hide spoiler)]
On the downside, I was not as invested with the latter half of the story once Stick arrived at his destination, and after all the emotions I went through, the ending didn’t leave me fully satisfied. Nevertheless, I found myself attached to these characters from the start, which doesn't happen as often for me when reading novels. What I also truly appreciated about this story was that it dealt with serious issues as child abuse, implied sexual abuse, and homosexuality, without turning it into something preachy. Though hard to read sometimes, it was just honest and all so authentically written.
Factoring in all of that, it gets a 5/5 from me and I highly recommend anyone a fan of YA novels to pick this up. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)