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These Gentle Wounds

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  735 ratings  ·  154 reviews
Sometimes I wish I’d lost a leg or something. Everyone can understand that. They never get it when what’s been broken is inside your head.

Five years after an unspeakable tragedy that changed him forever, Gordie Allen has made a new home with his half-brother Kevin. Their arrangement works since Kevin is the only person who can protect Gordie at school and keep him focused
Paperback, 307 pages
Published May 8th 2014 by Flux (first published May 1st 2014)
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Helene There is a flirtation more than anything. I'm not sure I'd really call it a romance.…moreThere is a flirtation more than anything. I'm not sure I'd really call it a romance.(less)

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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  735 ratings  ·  154 reviews

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Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: boy-pov
This is one of the most tightly focused 1st person voices I've read. Gordie is a 15 yo boy suffering from PTSD at the hands of an abusive father and a, most likely, mentally ill mother, or perhaps she had PTSD herself, whichever, the mom isn't in the story, only the consequence of her very major action.

This book is painful and sad and I wanted to reach through the pages and scoop up Gordie to hug him and also shake him and tell him, please, please, please, get it out. Talk to someone. The unspoo
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
I was really surprised by this book! I first heard about it while browsing NetGalley about a year ago, but I was denied an eARC. So since then I've been meaning to get it out from the library, and today I finally did. I read this book in one sitting. Though it's a quick and easy read, it's not particularly light. There are some thematic elements in this book relating to trauma that make it quite powerful.

What I appreciated a lot about this book was how it highlights the relationship between two
Tee loves Kyle Jacobson
These Gentle Wounds is an AMAZING story and one I will re-read for years to come. I have someone who is very close to me and near and dear to my heart who suffers from PTSD and I have to say reading this book had me crying so hard because I know his struggle is like Gordie's struggle and I often wonder if he will ever get help or trust someone like Gordie did.

This is a story about a 15 year old bot who has suffered a horrible tragedy at such a young age. After the tragedy he goes to live with hi
J.H. Trumble
Jun 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What a touching, heart-rending book Helene Dunbar has given us for her debut!

Gordie's life is ripped apart when his mom does the unthinkable and drives her car in the river, her young children strapped in their seats. Only Gordie survives, but the trauma has left lasting scars.

Dunbar's treatment of post-traumatic stress syndrome is so full realized in this beautiful novel, as well as the ambiguities of Gordie's feelings towards his mom, his half brother, his step father, even himself, that you'l
Sep 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I wish I had ten stars to give this. It's right up there with other heart-wrenching books like Thirteen Reasons Why and The Fault in Our Stars, and honestly, this one may have resonated with me even more. I was so engrossed I couldn't tear my eyes away until I'd turned the last page, and I cried oh-so-many times. I ADORE this book. Fervently.

Aaand I'm not going to say much more about it than that. Just go read it.
Sofia Li
*I recieved this book from Lady Reader's Bookstuff fo review purposes which does not in the slightest affect my honest review of the book*

Where do I even begin with this book? How do I start telling you the numerous ways this book touched me? How do I even begin to try and explain when you haven't read it yet?

I think the best way to describe this is as a rich meal. These Gentle Wounds had all of the different types of foods that make you remember why you live to eat. The meat is delicate, and te
Rachel Solomon
Nov 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Emotional, beautifully written debut. Gordie is a character who feels so real, and the boy POV is one of the best I've read in a while. As he lost himself in grief, I ached with him -- that's how deeply the reader is placed in his head. I love reading sibling relationships in YA, and the bond between Gordie and his brother Kevin was both loving and complicated. The romance was also incredibly sincere.

PTSD isn't something that solely affects members of the military. And it's not something that go
Dec 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book. My God. Why is everyone not talking about this book?! Why is everyone not READING this book?! I will be raving about this book to anyone who will listen.

READ. THIS. BOOK. Read it.

Also, bring tissues. Every chapter rips your heart out as you watch Gordie try to cope with the terrible incident from his past and the horrors that have carried through to the present. There were times I had to close the book and physically hug it like I wanted to hug Gordie. He is an amazing character...kin
Kristen Lippert-Martin
Nov 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is one of those "in a class all by itself" kind of books. The writing is gorgeous, real, moving. The story itself, well, it's as heartbreaking as it gets. If you've ever heard about a family tragedy and wondered, as I often do, "How does a person pick up and go on after that?" then read this book. Gordie is a hero for being the caring, amazing kid he is despite what's happened to him. Reader advisory: read with a huge stash of tissues at the ready. Actually forget that -- make it a bea ...more
Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, arc
This is a heart-wrenching, beautifully-written book. Not the kind that I would normally pick up, but I'm so glad I got the chance to read an ARC! Helene Dunbar has created a one-of-a-kind portrait of a boy in distress who has to dig deep to find the courage and strength to help save himself and someone even more vulnerable than he is from an abusive situation. I know that Gordie's sharply focused story will stay with me for a long time. ...more
May 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I feel like I'm going to carry Gordie with me for a long time. This character was so impactful, that while reading, I found myself thinking about him all throughout the day as if he's real. This book is about perseverance, love trust, and transformation. A book about death, yes, but also a story about a teenage boy, struggling to find a life after a crushing loss. It's beautiful and haunting. Read it. It's spectacular. ...more
Melissa (thereaderandthechef)
Apr 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: earc, review, netgalley
When I started reading These Gentle Wounds I felt like if someone spilled a bucket of cold water over my head. Seriously, this book chilled me at the beginning and a little bit more further inside. I liked how Helene Dunbar wrote this story with stark honesty without sugarcoating the after effects of traumatizing events. Although it is sad, I think this is the best way to understand what the characters are really going through.

Okay, maybe "understand" is a strong word. Try to understand works be
Apr 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
A little out-of-step here, but this was so unrelentingly horrific that I almost rebelled by the end. Not that such an appalling combination of things was impossible for one kid to have experienced, sadly, but frankly, I didn't think he'd be capable of the kinds of relationships he stumblingly builds. (Also, the romance? Nice but I didn't quite buy it.) It's always hard being inside the head of someone who's unable *and* unwilling to communicate, and the trope of "I can't tell anyone about this, ...more
Aug 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reads-of-2016
"I'm really, really tired of the past"

Alright guys; time to admit something embarrassing. You know that feeling when you're book shopping on Amazon, and it's the wee hours of the morning, and you feel absolutely invincible? That's how I snagged a copy of this book. I binge bought books on Amazon at three am, and this book had caught my interest.

I am so freaking glad I did. This book did so many things right. It handled an array of dark and deep topic manners in a realistic way that wasn't ro
Jun 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: yas
I loved this book! It accurately depicts a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and how they are finally able to begin over coming it. Another thing, more than one person saved him. In several books, protagonists are always saved by a single person, typically a romantic interest, but in These Gentle Wounds, several people help him along the way and he is able to feel free once again. The writing also seemed incredibly believable and the tone had great darker undertones, which I loved. For ...more
Lisa Maxwell
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, 2014-books
Wow. Where to begin?
THESE GENTLE WOUNDS is a heartbreak of a book, and I mean that in the best possible way. From page one, it grabs you, winds itself around you, and refuses to let go. This book is so beautifully written--its understated prose evokes such pain and heartache with such subtlety. If you love beautifully written, emotionally driven contemporary YA, you will adore this book. It's the kind of book that stays with you, long after you close it and set it aside.
Chris Struyk-Bonn
Nov 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
Amazing book. Dunbar has done an incredible job of entering the head of someone who has experienced a traumatic event and deals with the aftermath on a daily basis. I completely believed Gordie's response to the life-altering moment when his mother drove he and his siblings into the river. The book is riveting both emotionally and psychologically. ...more
Perla The IB Teen Book Blogger
Maybe the best book I read all year- can't wait for it to hit shelves. Geordie and Kevin, I got so emotional reading the scenes between the brothers- but being in Geordie's head was so intense. I LOVED THIS BOOK! ...more
Jan 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: beta
Definitely one of my favorites. I love Dunbar's writing style and heart wrenching story. ...more
Vicki Cose
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful, beautifully written and touching story!
Jeremy Martin
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
My heart 😭
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Just because you think you need something doesn't mean you do."

"You know, to be with someone and think you'll be with them for the rest of your life. I mean, how do you know?"

"Everything finally feels like it's where it belongs."
Fadzlishah Johanabas
Nov 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
That feeling when your instinct urges you to buy a random book that you come across, and you end up falling in's indescribable.

As usual, I was at Kinokuniya, looking for the final installment of the KL Noir series. Out of habit, I browsed the Young Adult section, and I came across this book. These Gentle Wounds. How can you not fall in love with the title alone? Perfect, perfect title for a brilliantly written book.

These Gentle Wounds (I can never grow tired writing and saying the book
Brandi Kosiner
May 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
I wanted to read this one because I needed to know more about Gordie and what his dramatic past was that wounded him on the inside. I also like to read a book from a male POV, and see how Gordie deals with it and tries to move on with his life.

The brotherly relationship with Kevin was awesome and I loved how that, and themes of family whether close, coming back into life, forgiveness, being hurt, and all that comes with letting people into our hearts and the messiest and most emotional parts
Sara Grochowski
It's been five years since the tragic day when 15-year-old Gordie's mother drove herself and four of her kids into the river. Gordie should be thankful he survived, but, most days, it feels like a curse. Plagued by guilt over his inability to save his mother and siblings, Gordie struggles to keep his panic attacks and stress-induced ticks under control. Hockey and living with his half-brother, Kevin, and Kevin's father, Jim, has kept Gordie grounded, as well as his budding relationship with phot ...more
May 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!*

These Gentle Wounds was a wonderful book, and also very inspiring. Not that I was jealous of what Gordie went through but I think it's also a story about human strength and that was very beautiful.

Five years ago, Gordie has been through his own personal hell. And somehow, he's never truly left it. He lives with his half-brother Kevin now and his brother's dad Jim, but in his min
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-on-kindle
I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wow.. Where to start? This is a pretty full on book it deals with some issues people unfortunately see in everyday life. Gordie has had a lot to deal with in his 15 year life after a horrible tragedy which ruined his entire family and left him the only survivor he is sent to live with his step brother Kevin and his dad Jim.

After the accident Gordie suffers from a range of issues, depression, PTSD, guilt over something that happen
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful, powerful book. Gordie is now 15 years old. Four years ago he and his three other siblings were in a car with their mother when she drove that car into a raging river with only Gordie being able to escape. As you would guess, the event traumatized Gordie. We adults would recognize his feelings as survivor's guilt and PTSD. But being 15, Gordie is just trying to deal with his nightmares, panic attacks and involuntary movements when he's under stress (he call them "spins").

There is a s
Danelle   Our-Wolves-Den
May 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
There was one sentence that I read that hit home hard enough to make my cry:

"Sometimes I wish I'd lost a leg or something. Everyone can understand that. They never get it when what's been broken is inside your head".

These simple words say so much about how emotional These Gentle Wounds is.

From the very first few paragraph's you will already feel connected to Gordie, you will already want to rush to protect him-which only becomes more powerful as each page is turned.

When Gordie finally gets a c
Mar 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bromance
Well. That was... enjoyable? I think?

It's a bit hard to review this one. Did I like it? Very much so. Is it for everyone? Maybe not. It's definitively not for people who like their stories light and fun (although there was a couple of places where I chuckled). It's a book about a teenager who's fighting crippling anxiety and PTSD, trying to figure out where he fits in life. And overall, I think it's done pretty well (if a bit melodramatic at times). I really liked Gordie's relationship with his
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. YA Fiction - Abusive father, hockey player [s] 4 35 Apr 13, 2018 06:59PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: These Gentle Wounds by Helene Dunbar 1 13 Dec 31, 2014 04:38PM  
Audiobook Version Now Available 1 3 Oct 21, 2014 10:18AM  

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Called the "queen of heartbreaking prose" by Paste Magazine, Helene Dunbar is the author of WE ARE LOST AND FOUND (Sourcebooks, September 2019), PRELUDE FOR LOST SOULS (August, 2020), and THE PROMISE OF LOST THINGS (2022), as well as BOOMERANG, THESE GENTLE WOUNDS, and WHAT REMAINS. Over the years, she's worked as a drama critic, journalist, and marketing manager, and has written on topics as dive ...more

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