Wow, ok. The writer of the excellent YA book hosted this writer on her blog and something about book and the cover appealed to me. Mostly I wish I ignored this voice in my head.
I do read YAs m/m romances - a lot of them I love, some I disliked same with any other subgenres, but even in the books I loved a lot of kids/teenagers were abuse survivors. I usually do not mind, but the moment it sounds fake to me, I want to throw the book against the wall and hard. I am not an abuse survivor, whatever knowledge I have does not come from personal experience, but I do have at least a little bit of knowledge enough to get annoyed where I do no think the author did their research.
The big plus this book gets is that I thought Kristy's recovery from horrendous abuse was covered sensibly, respectfully (sometimes it went into a public service announcement territory, but I figured if teens reading it will get some extra knowledge , it is all good, especially since I thought it mostly fit in the narrative) and Kristy's reactions as somebody who was recovering from the horrors made sense to me overall. I liked Kristy, I wanted him to get better.
Having said it, it took me literally DAYS to get into this book past chapter 2. See, to say that the author uses a purple prose (flowery prose, call it whatever you like) when she describes Kristy will be a huge understatement. At some point I thought I won't be able to make it past chapter 2.
Here are some descriptions of Christy for you:
"Christy's eyes had sparkled in the bright morning sun like the crystal waters
of the Caribean"
"Christy sat perfectly poised, almost majestic as he looked
up at Michael. His large, crystal, cyan eyes sparkled in the afternoon sun, and
Michael knew without a doubt, he'd never seen eyes so pretty."
white-gold ringlets framed Christy's saintly face and cascaded down his back".
I really dislike this kind of language in my books, so I almost abandoned the story, but since it was a loan, forced myself to continue. It got better, the narrative overall was engaging and very easy read, but sadly these descriptions have not disappeared.
Sometimes I forgot that Christy had hair on his head, because his hair were mostly "ringlets" . I also felt that the author was really really fond of a flowery descriptions.
Christy blushes a "pretty rose", a "pale rose", some other kind of rose.
"Christy shook as a newborn leaf and was pale as a ghost".
While I said that Christy's recovery from abuse mostly made sense, some actions that he took really made no sense to me.
"Christy found me. The first thing he did after his father died was to study records and sit in on Castlios International's board meetings. CI is our primary benefactor".
Now, this is the child (now eighteen year old) who was horrifically abused by his father for *years*. If I read it correctly from the time he was five till the time he was eighteen. I can buy that - author mentioned that the story of the abuse was based on the true events, but I am not sure which part she meant - the abuse itself, or the circumstances surrounding it which made me roll my eyes at times. I mean, there are enough stories in the newspapers about people being kept prisoners for years, but I am sorry, there is no way in hell I can believe that the same "father" who was prostituting his young son to his business partners, who whipped him, chained him, burned his feet, that the same father hired tutors for his son and made sure he actually got an education. Sorry, just no, does not ring a word of truth to me, if his son was a slave he used as he pleased, why would he give him an education?
So, Christy easily being a senior in high school and if he wanted to he could go straight to college just jerked me out of the story and badly. Especially since at times author goes back to the truth and makes Christy ask Michael why people should eat three meals a day (poor kid was only fed one small meal a day by his torturers) and why people should sleep eight hours a day. That *makes sense* - if he had so little connection with outside world and was just property to be used, of course he would have not known the basics of living we all take for granted.
Michael was very sweet, patient, kind, at times I wanted to grant him with Saintly crown, but he was exactly what Christy needed and I was hoping this will work out between them.
Another thing that made no sense - apparently because author wanted to increase the hurt/comfort level to the crazy levels Christy needed to suffer non stop through the story - and hey, if what happened was just bullying in high school, I could buy that (not because I like it, but because sadly it made sense), but it quickly escalated to the crazy criminal levels. And I am NOT talking about the villain who came to get Christy from Greece - he acted and sounded as over the top psycho, but sadly over the top psychos exist in real world. No, I am talking about all of that security, police and all that, who could not catch effing *seventeen years old* after everything he did or tried to do to Christy and Michael. Yeah, ok, just no. I get that the author needed him at loose, so he could continue hurting them, but it sounded silly and made police look like a bunch of incompetent douches.
Sigh, cannot give it more than two stars.