Author: J.P. Barnaby
Genre: Contemporary/(Young Adult)
Length: Novel (238 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (October 8, 2012)
Heat level: Explicit
Heart rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts
Blurb: I can’t describe what it’s like to want to scream every minute of every day.
Two years after a terrifying night of pain destroyed his normal teenage existence, Aaron Downing still clings to the hope that one day he will be a fully functional human being. But his life remains a constant string of nightmares, flashbacks, and fear. When, in his very first semester of college, he’s assigned Spencer Thomas as a partner for his programming project, Aaron decides that maybe “normal” is overrated. If he could just learn to control his fear, that could be enough for him to find his footing again.
With his parents’ talk of institutionalizing him—of sacrificing him for the sake of his brothers’ stability—Aaron becomes desperate to find a way to cope with his psychological damage or even fake normalcy. Can his new shrink control his own demons long enough to treat Aaron, or will he only deepen the damage?
Desperate to understand his attraction for Spencer, Aaron holds on to his sanity with both hands as it threatens to spin out of control.
Review: By taking on the Aaron challenge you will most definitely come across beautiful writing, a well thought through story, plenty of angst and characters that will pull at your heart.
Aaron had been assaulted, violated and almost killed when he was sixteen. His best friend died and he bears the scars to forever remember the event. Since then, Aaron the world had known for sixteen years had disappeared, and the new, damaged person was born in his stead. The new Aaron barely functions and each day for him is a challenge. He doesn’t see any hope for the future, after all, it’s been two years and nothing has changed, he still dreams about things he would sooner forget and he still flinches each time someone offers touch in comfort.
Spencer has been deaf his whole life and while he’s happy with who he is, it’s the rest of the world that he has a problem with. Others can’t seem to see past his lack of hearing and what’s left for Spencer is a rather lonely existence.
When the two are paired up in a programming project in college things change and their lives take directions neither of the two had expected.
Just the blurb for this story draws you in all but screaming ‘read me’. Two characters with a difficult life who find each other and make their own happy future. What more can you ask for? I enjoyed the story as well as the way the author presented the characters. I did think they needed a bit more developing and I as a reader should have been pulled more into it. The subject matter is really heavy and it is something to keep in mind before reading, but precisely because of it, I expected more. The story seemed unfinished in some aspects and certain situations played out differently than I expected them to. But my biggest frowning moments happened with personality flips that occurred both with Spencer as well as Aaron’s mother. I can’t say they have grown since the beginning of the story, they just changed, maybe for worse or for the better, but either way I didn’t quite appreciate the change.
Believe it or not, this was my first J.P. Barnaby book and I certainly haven’t made the wrong choice for my first try. I didn’t think the book was too emotional, certainly not something that made me cry and with that in mind I do recommend it. Even to those who are afraid to tackle a difficult subject – you will love the characters even if you have to squint at the rough bits.