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One young man
One desperate decision

Being a teenager is hard enough, but when you have a diagnosis of depression and anxiety life can feel like it is caving in on you. When you add in a new awareness of your sexuality and falling in love for the first time, life can become almost too much to bear.

Ben Harper is determined to make it all work with the help of his best friend and new love, JC Croft. But when his inner demons conspire against him, can he come out on top or will he be crushed by the pressure? 

346 pages, ebook

First published February 21, 2018

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About the author

J.J. Ellis

24 books39 followers
JJ Ellis is first and foremost the mother to five children, four girls and one boy. She is also a wife, blogger and now author. As a Communication Studies major in college she never once thought she would be a writer. She wanted to be a celebrity publicist, but not a writer. Then one day, when she was in her thirties, she suddenly had ideas that would just not leave her alone. Now eight years later, and with a lot of stopping and starting, she feels she is exactly where she ought to be!

Virgin Voyage, her first novel, is the first of a series about the Mannon children and their matchmaking mother.

She lives with her husband, kids and one crazy mutt in Casper, WY. She enjoys reading, writing, computing and graphic design. She looks forward to writing many more romance novels with wonderful, loving characters.

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Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews
Profile Image for Coco.V.
46.3k reviews4 followers
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August 29, 2018
💝FREE on Amazon today (8/29/2018)!💝

One young man
One desperate decision

Being a teenager is hard enough, but when you have a diagnosis of depression and anxiety life can feel like it is caving in on you. When you add in a new awareness of your sexuality and falling in love for the first time, life can become almost too much to bear.

Ben Harper is determined to make it all work with the help of his best friend and new love, JC Croft. But when his inner demons conspire against him, can he come out on top or will he be crushed by the pressure?
Profile Image for Rebecca Austin.
2,976 reviews3 followers
February 23, 2018
Ben Harper feels like his life is spinning out of control. He has just been diagnosed with depression and his best friend, James "JC" Croft has just moved with his family to California. His other best friend and cousin, Abby, is returning home and he is left on his own. Now he is struggling with having feelings for JC and knows that he is gay but is scared to lose his friendship with JC.

As Ben struggles with everything he is going through he also has to face everything with JC who is coming to terms with his own sexuality and being afraid if what others will think.

Can Ben rise above his own demons with the help of Abby and JC or will the pressure get to him?

This was such an amazing and heartbreaking read of what many people go through in life. The book takes a good look at depression and the ups and downs that medication provides and also how someone comes to terms with their own sexuality in a small town where being different is not a good thing.

My heart just broke for Ben from the moment the book began with everything that he was facing. He found an outlet with drawing but while his depression really allowed his creativity to come out it was also allowing him to go to a super dark place that no one else was really aware of.

Ben's relationship with JC was complex as they were best friends for so long but living in a small town also made it hard for them to figure out what they wanted. Every time you thought they were getting somewhere something would happen and JC would be afraid.

I was really not expecting the twist with Jenny but after it happened I was not surprised at all about what occurred.

The ending was such a twist and I was left broken for sure! I was so mad at JC's mom for keeping her own secret which explained everything to everyone and I was frustrated that it took so long to find.

Such a great read but an emotional roller-coaster!
Profile Image for Lynn Cooper.
Author 9 books38 followers
July 10, 2018
Anguish is a heartbreaking yet hopeful read. It takes on some very serious issues, ones that require a lot of inner strength and bravery to deal with. I have a great admiration for the author and the skillful, sympathetic way in which she told Ben and JC’s story. Finding true and meaningful love in this world is difficult enough, but when you throw depression, anxiety and confusion into the mix, it can seem downright insurmountable. I highly recommend this book for all teenagers and their parents. In my opinion, it should be required reading in high schools across America.
Profile Image for Maggie.
Author 24 books81 followers
April 19, 2018

I can’t even begin to describe the emotions that I am feeling over reading Anguish. This book is a very good read and the author really knows how to get at the heart of her readers. But the raw emotions that I’d gotten just from the very first chapter sends chills down my spine even thinking about it. Poor Ben is so confused and in love with someone he thinks he shouldn’t be at the age of 14. He’s afraid to tell anyone because he fears their reaction. This book is very well written and I highly recommend this book to anyone! I’m not even done reading yet!!!!

Taking that brave step as Ben did was tough but it needed to be done! I love it when a character surprises me...Ben and JC are no different!

Wow, reading this book brings back memories when I was a teenager and dealing with depression. Ben in this book reminds me of myself at that age. Reading Anguish gives you a better understanding of what the LGBTQ community really go through in their everyday life and just reading about it breaks my heart.

Reading to the last word of Anguish..I’m speechless. My poor heart is broken for the pain that JC and Ben’s family is going through...but the light at the tunnel was finding out that Ben had two handsome twins.

Dear readers if you have not picked up your copy of Anguish I highly recommend you stopping what you are doing and go purchase it. I don’t usually cry when I read, it takes a lot for that to happen, but this book had be bawling from the beginning to the very end. JJ Ellis is an amazing author and even though Anguish was heart wrenching it’s a very good read!

Profile Image for Tami Adams.
35 reviews8 followers
March 6, 2018
REVIEW - ✯✯✯✯✯

I volunteered to review this book without any promises about the review (the rating or the posting).

I was completely aware of the content warnings when I started this book. Even with that knowledge there was so much about my personal life that never made sense till now. I didn’t realize how much I would come to understand about depression and anxiety. I wish I had been exposed to this book when I was younger. I can imagine how different my life would have been.

I strongly recommend this book to all teenagers and parents of teenagers. Growing up is difficult. Being what society expects a person to be can cause many levels of confusion and secrecy. This book shows how important it is for teens to be open and honest about their struggles. It also opens the eyes of the parents to watch and see the signs of your teens and their hidden struggles to find themselves in the world.

The following is my personal opinion and thoughts about many aspects of this book and its author.

COVER: ✯✯✯✯✯ - This cover sorta made sense prior to me reading the book. Now that I have, the cover explains everything emotional. I can’t say more without giving away the whole meaning to this book.

PLOT: ✯✯✯✯✯ - A 15 yo comes to the realization he is gay....through the book he deals with the depression and suicidal thoughts that come along with the stigma behind what being gay means and the hatred towards those who are gay....his boyfriend is too scared to come out to his family...while the 15 yo wants to....all the issues "closet" gays go through are discussed...it's a wonderful book that could help many teenagers understand that they are not alone.

WRITING STYLE: ✯✯✯✯✯ - I love JJ’s writing style. Things are simple and perfectly written in a language that you swear comes straight from the ages of each character. The adults sound and behave like adults. The children in the book no matter what their age behave and react the way they should.

CHARACTERS: ✯✯✯✯✯ - There are so many incredible characters in this book. Some I will hold close to my heart for a long time. Here are a few.

Evie - a loving and caring mother who unfortunately doesn’t see what is in front of her. She thinks she has everything under control but fails to realize she’s in a spiral that has no end.

James - the typical teenager who struggles to do what is expected of him. Hide his true self from a world of ignorance.

Abby - an open-minded individual who is accepting of everyone without judgement. I wish I had grown up with Abby.

Ben - a young man who dreams of a future we only now are beginning to see. He struggles with his own awareness of who he is. He didn’t chose to be gay...it’s just one of the many things that makes him….well, Ben. Unfortunately he lived in a time when you couldn’t be loud and proud of who you are. He struggled with the secrecy of being gay because the stigma and hatred was so prominent during the late 90’s and even today.

OVERALL FLOW: ✯✯✯✯✯ - I fully admit I cried...the ugly cry...a few times during this book. I felt the struggles, the depression, the uncertainty deep in my heart. I loved the overall flow and cursed every time I was forced to put the book down.

I strongly suggest that any parents who have children who are gay, lesbian or unsure about themselves grab the book so they can understand better what their teenagers is going through. Depression, anxiety and other mental issues are serious and need a platform to be discussed. Find a way before there is an unchangeable moment in your life.

I recently heard there will be a book 2. I’m tapping my foot in anticipation to digging in and learning more about some of the characters I’ve grown to love.

Under no circumstances was I approached by the author to read or review this book. I offered without any agreement or promise for any compensation. I am voluntarily giving my opinion about this book. My only affiliation with the author is that I am a fan and want to support by reading and posting this review of my own free will.
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