I started this one evening and finished it the next morning. I love it when I find a book that draws me in like that and makes me want to keep reading! The story is told from 17-year-old Evan's POV. He's been brought up in an ultra-strict and religious Greek household and has suffered appalling abuse from his mother since a young age. Not only is she physically abusive, but she is also constantly telling him she wishes he would die. His father tries to intervene when he can but largely turns a blind eye. On top of all this, Evan is gay, kissed a boy for the first time at Bible Camp and is falling in love with his best friend Henry. Evan tries very hard to keep all the elements of his life separate. He doesn't want anyone to know he is gay and he doesn't want anyone to know how his mother treats him. But when Henry starts flirting with him and eventually comes out as gay, everything gets increasingly hard to separate. Evan is terrified of his mother finding out, but also terrified of losing Henry, the one good thing in his life. I wanted to reach into his book and pull Evan out into a hug. He was such an endearing character, trying so hard to please everyone. He escaped his life through art and through pouring his heart into endless journals, which when filled, he buried. A truly touching and emotional read, I was with him all the way, willing him to stand up to his parents, willing him to hang onto the happiness he found with Henry. I almost felt proud as his character developed and the ending was very satisfying. A great read, which made me tearful and made me smile. Can't wait to read more from this author.
A thought-provoking and powerful story, which seems almost unbelievable, were it not based on the author's own experience of growing up. Very well written, it was a good example of how the power of words can affect you and force you to think about a subject from a new perspective. Mercifully free of graphic sexual content it gives the reader an insight into the real problems faced by some young people and how they deal with them as best they can. I recommend it.
A heartbreaking, but yet beautiful story of Evan, a young man and son of Greek immigrants, trying to find his place as he grapples with being gay. Evan's life at home is far from easy--his mother is abusive and doesn't believe in his dreams, his father is passive toward his mother's behavior. His life at school becomes harder as suspicions arise regarding his sexuality and that of his friend. His safe place is an abandoned monastery and his greatest secrets are in his notebooks. His fear of being outed as gay becomes his saving grace when it happens--it sets him free to move on, love and accept himself, and pursue his dreams.
I could not be more effusive about this book if I tried. The narrative is absolutely heartbreaking, powerful beyond measure given its foundation in the author's real life experiences. Evan is reserved, but resolute; some other characters are so well villified that you want to enter the author's world and help rip them to shreds. Wonderful writing.