Author: Daniel A. Kaine
Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal Romance
Length: Novel (200 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (August 26th 2013)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts
Blurb: Born with a birth defect called Devil Syndrome, it is impossible for Josh Harper to hide the two small stumps of hornlike bone atop his head. If people also knew about his ability to create force fields with his mind, they’d lock him up for sure. Left to fend for himself on his eighteenth birthday, Josh tries to make it on the streets. When he’s attacked, he’s rescued by Sam Mitchell, who has an equally strange power—and a set of pure white wings.
Sam ran away from home a year ago, and the new life he’s built for himself includes living in an abandoned house and looking after three younger kids, all with Devil Syndrome. Then along comes Josh. After a rough start, their relationship grows and the two young men find a haven in each other’s arms. But when tragedy strikes their newfound family, Sam’s hatred of regular humans spirals out of control, and Josh will have to make Sam see sense before everything he’s worked so hard to build is destroyed.
Review: Josh and Sam share a rare birth defect that sets them apart from almost everyone else. ‘Devil Syndrome’ as its known is presents itself in the form of two small stumps on the forehead, sort of like horns. Side effects may include wings, the ability to create force fields and sometimes manipulate energy. Soon enough, Josh and Sam will share much more than ‘being born this way’.
Josh was handed off to his drunk, abusive uncle and aunt five years ago when his mom died of cancer. Now on his eighteenth birthday, after years of verbal, mental, and physical abuse he is handed fifty dollars and shown the door. His first night on the streets he encounters a couple of mean homeless bums that intend to rob him of what few possessions he has. He’s rescued by a young man with crackling, electric blue energy in his hands and blinding white wings.
Sam ran away from home after his mother died as well, feeling his father didn’t love him and was pulling away. He wound up in an abandoned house with three children that all share the same birth defect that he has. He protects shelters and feeds these kids keeping them as safe as he can from the hatred of the outside world. He finds Josh in the alley about to be mugged and saves him, bringing him back to their sanctuary. The two share more than a common bond of their syndrome; their attraction is immediate and mutual. But Josh fights it at first, completely thrown by the foreign urges to touch and kiss his avenging angel.
This motley crew sets up a home of sorts with petty crimes, robbery, and an occasional sleight of hand feeding and keeping them alive. And though they don’t all always agree on the execution, they realize it’s the only way to survive at the end of the day. When a bully that has always been a thorn in Josh’s side confronts Sam, after Sam humiliated him for picking on Josh, the results are deadly. In the aftermath, Sam pulls away not just from Josh, but also from everyone. With the help of an unlikely ally, can Josh convince Sam that he loves him and convince him they deserve to be happy? Before Sam does something that will put everyone with their syndrome in jeopardy.
I loved this story and the play on words with ‘devils syndrome’ when these kids are anything but evil. They are forced to make, sometimes bad, decisions by a society that has shunned them in order to survive. Both characters grow tremendously throughout the story as individuals, but ultimately it’s their connection to each other that saves them in the end. Not a lot of positive gay YA books out there, this one definitely hit the mark!