Sunday 22 March 2015

Review ~ Violence Begets by PT Denys

Reviewed by Donna ~ 4.5 Stars

“I’ve heard that violence begets violence, but in my world, violence begat love.”

Sometimes when you finish a book you look around and look at the others around you and think to yourself…why are you not upset? Why do you not look distraught? Why are you not crying? And then you realise that they haven’t read what you just have. I was stunned, I was speechless, I was bereft, I was in tears but one thing I knew was that I had read a really, really, really good book. This book sucks you in, you can sense the car crash but you cannot help but stay along for the ride and what a ride it was. It was harrowing, it was dark, it was gritty, it definitely wasn’t pretty but it was real.

Life is never black or white, there are many shades of grey, lines are made to be blurred and crossed over and this book certainly crosses some of those lines, but underneath the abuse, drugs and violence there was a beautiful story that was begging to be heard. A story about two boys, two boys whose histories were similar, two boys who couldn’t trust, who were not living but merely surviving, two boys who despite everything find a friendship in each other, a mutual respect and understanding of each other’s circumstances, two boys that were there for each other. One is gay, one is straight, but lines are meant to be blurred, meant to be crossed, there are shades of grey and what develops between these two was heart-warming and heart breaking all the same and this is one story that I am so glad I read.

“What we have is too good for this world.”

This book is emotional and will have triggers for many people but I have a huge amount of respect for the author, not only is this a debut but this book screams I am brave, I will write what I want and how I want, it is my story and I will tell it how I want to, I will write from the heart, I will bleed onto the page, it won’t be pretty but it will be real and it is mine, my story. It isn’t generic, it is definitely not cookie cutter, it is unique and I loved every single word.

This book will put your emotions through the wringer from, sympathy, empathy, sadness, anger, hope, happiness to total and utter devastation but I lived this book and I knew it. My heart knew it, my head knew it, my family knew it and my friends knew it, because I couldn’t stop talking about it. This book makes you think, it makes you feel and for me, it made me cry…a lot. This book is like Romeo and Juliet, but the leads are Romeo and Romeo, Juliet doesn’t make an appearance. There are girl scenes to prove to the world that they are “normal” but there is no connection, the only connection and chemistry that oozes off the page in this book is when Romeo and Romeo are within ten feet of each other. It crackles, it fizzles, it is intense but no matter the fight it is real and cannot be ignored.

“I promise that’s not who I am when I’m with you. You’re all that’s good...”

Rick has just moved to Utah with his family; to get away from bad memories the family ups sticks and moves and Rick is left to his own devices to get on with this life. Rick is hurting, grief and guilt are heavy burdens even if not warranted, but when your own family never let you forget and treat you like a leper you just cannot move on. Always living in his brothers shadow, Rick has never felt like he belonged or was loved, never having a mother figure and shouldering the blame for that too, his brother was all he had. New school, new memories, new friends but Rick is alone and he kind of likes it that way. He just needs to make it to eighteen and then he can move on.

Kevin, every school has one…the bad boy, the bully, he smokes, he drinks, he does drugs and yet he is revered by everyone. Everyone wants to be him and all the girls want to be with him. Kevin needs to be in control, he needs to exert his power and he picks his targets. He has his posse and is always looking for new recruits and Rick is a prime candidate.

We are treated to two sides of Kevin; the Kevin that Kevin wants everyone to see and the real Kevin that the state of Utah would never understand. He has needs and he does what he has to, to sate them. He makes his money to keep up the façade, the parties, the smokes, the alcohol, the drugs but behind closed doors Kevin is trapped, trapped by his life and trapped by his preferences, but it takes a friendship to open his eyes and even though he wasn’t looking for it, it found him, now what were they going to do about it?

I don’t really want to say anymore because you need to go into this book blind and read it as the author intended. To spoil it would be a travesty and that is not my style so all I am going to say is read it, if you love MM books then I am sure you will love it too, it is more YA but the emotions and the connection are extremely real and incredibly believable. The real life situation that many boys find themselves in, am I gay? Or am I just gay for you? It takes that one person, that one connection to make you question your sexuality but you know that bond, that connection must be special to make you even consider it. Some people know, they are born that way, but Rick wasn’t and he really had to come to terms with what his heart was telling him, not his head.

“Violence only begets violence when we allow it to. We always have a choice. Kevin chose me.

All I can say is read this book; it is a fantastic read and one that I will not be able to forget in a hurry. I am glad that I met the boys and while this book isn’t perfect, hence only a 4.5, it is those imperfections that the make the book perfect and as real as the characters.

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