Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5
One of the things I love about young adult or new adult (YA/NA) books is that there is so much story there. Because they are generally about younger people- no longer “kids”, but people on the cusp of adulthood- there is very little, if any sex. And while I love a good sex scene in a book, when there isn’t that page filler to fall back on, the reader gets more story. More thoughts, more feelings, more people around the characters we are reading about. And this book had all of the thoughts, feelings and people that made it such a great book.
Hunter is pissed off at the world. After realizing a betrayal by his father, he blames himself for not seeing what was right there. So he is mad. REALLY mad. When that anger causes him to trash school property and accidentally hit a teacher, his mother brings him to New Horizons- an inpatient facility for teens- as a last resort. Hunter resorts to begging, but through her tears, his mom makes him check in.
Although he vows to himself to just get through his “time” at New Horizons, he slowly begins to come out of his shell. He finds the facility much like high school, with the popular and unpopular kids. And while he was known as a popular kid before, it is with the unpopular misfit kids that he finds himself. And Stray.
Stray. I fell in love with him almost immediately. A foster child who is a cutter, his foster parents sent him there for help. He doesn’t believe they will always be his foster parents though. Because people always leave him. But even though he believes that, he does everything to show his friends how much he cares about them. Even the new guy Hunter.
This book was a journey of self discovery and acceptance for Hunter. They incremental ways he realized small things about himself which joined together so that he could learn big things about himself were so well thought out, so introspective, so heart breaking. People immediately think sad when they hear the word depression. They don’t think anger, rage, self loathing. But it absolutely can be that and Nyrae Dawn shows it beautifully.
Ms Dawn does not shy away from the realities of mental illness at all. There was not glossing over of the ugly, no miraculous recoveries. In fact, this book had me in tears more that once. Because it was just so real.
This could be a tough read for some, but it is so worth it. Hunter and Stray crawl right into your heart- as do the rest of their friends.
Cover art by
ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: October 20th 2016 by Harmony Ink Press
ISBN 1634774191 (ISBN13: 9781634774192)