by Stacie Ramey
Forced to return to his estranged family, John discovers how hard it is to truly go home.
It’s been a year since John lost his girlfriend, Leah, to suicide. Living with his uncle keeps his mind from the tragedy and his screwed up family-until he gets into trouble and a judge sends him back home. With a neglectful mother and abusive brother, John’s homecoming is far from happy.
As he tries to navigate and repair the relationships he abandoned years ago, Emily, the girl next door, is the only bright spot. She’s sweet and smart and makes him think his heart may finally be healing. But tragedy isn’t far away, and John must soon face an impossible decision: save his family or save himself.
This book got enough feels that left me reeling with sadness, hope and love. Serious issues were tackled and portrayed by the characters, most of which tugged heavily at the readers’ hearts – physical and mental abuse, abandonment, suicide, family struggles, anger management issues, alcohol and drugs.. John, the male protagonist got a lot of angst and fury in his heart – he called it “beast” and “dragon” which he needed to reign in and control, otherwise, it would roar and crash and burn.
I had a hard time identifying to John and his issues. I thought I would never get to like him because he was so messed up, he pushed all the people away from him, always tethered to the bad memories that’s why he was having a hard time moving on, moving forward and coping up. I’d blamed it to the lack of parental guidance. But there was also those other people around him who had shown support and understanding in his situation, so I think John was lucky.
Overall, the book was good, it was heartfelt and dedicated, although the impact on me wasn’t full-force. The writing was great too, Stacie Ramey is a great storyteller. A good quick read and quite emotional journey.
I volunteered to review this book from Netgalley.