Series: The Nicholas Chronicles #1
Author: Matt Zachary
Genre: Young Adult
Length: Novella (72 pages)
Publisher: Porterlance Books (April 6th, 2013)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥2 Hearts
Blurb: “A Life for Nicholas” details the life of a thirteen-year-old boy who is an orphan and living in the foster care system. He has to deal with adolescence, his sexuality, the loss of friends and abuse as he figures out his place in the world. This book is a novella of about 13,000 words and the prequel to “A Home for Christmas” by Matt Zachary.
Review: This short story follows Nickolas, a thirteen-year boy, as he journeys from foster home to foster home. Abuse physical and emotional follows him with little small parts of happiness so short Nick wonders if they are real at all. Facing down horrible after horrible event and trying to still stand strong Nickolas is almost the stereotypical kid you see on these young adult books.
Smart, good grades and a nice shy temperament Nicholas can’t seem to avoid people getting in his way trying to harm him for no apparent reason. His schools peers, his foster siblings, even his foster parent go a long way to make him miserable, and just as he thought he found some peace and normalcy his life gets shaken once again… I’d like to like this character but I didn’t have the chance to actually meet him, get a feel for him. Every event in this story was hastily narrated and lacking.
As much as this book had good premise, it failed to make me like it as it skimmed through hard and heavy subjects with a sense of irresponsibility and insensitivity. Everything Nick felt when experiencing abuse was systematically simply stated and the story moved along without allowing for the feel of them to make a full impact. I was shocked to see Nick narrating his abuses in a nonchalant way, detached, almost as if telling a tale and not events that had him scarred for life. The entire read was set in a very fast pace that allowed no time for thoughts or for feelings to settle, ending with a most superficial describing of a suicide as if it was a walk in the park.
In the end, this was a story that while it worked up your expectations it failed to meet them and left you wondering, “What was the point.”
Heart Rating: ♥♥ 2 Hearts
Review: Nicholas could be the poster child for foster care. Ignored and abused both physically and mentally by his peers and foster parents throughout the book. He makes a couple of solid friends along the way, but both are ripped from his life in one way or another before the end. He’s actually slightly more normal than he has any right to be considering what he’s been through.
There was potential for a better story here than the one that is on the pages. Completely rushed, unmatched timelines and several inconsistencies left something to be desired here. Nicholas gets into a fight at school, okay wait… Nicholas is ganged up on at school by homophobic classmates and defends himself, only to be kicked out of his current foster home almost immediately due to his ‘bad’ behavior. Huh? Then he refers to the last home he’s in at the end of this book as ‘no different than any of the others’, when in fact it’s completely different. For once he is actually wanted and treated appropriately. Again, Huh?
I really wanted to like this book, Nicholas was such a diverse type of character. But sadly the inconsistencies in the story coupled with the urgency to get to the ending were off-putting and ruined it for me.