Sunday, June 21, 2015

Review: Secrets and Demons by Daniel Devine

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Title: Secrets and Demons

Author: Daniel Devine

Publisher: Spice Boy Publishing

Release: 7th January 2015

Genre: M/M (Young Adult)

Rating:

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Synopsis

The Runaway Bestseller Liam Secrets and Demons is the first in the series. Liam is a lonely teenager, lost in a world of his own. Unwilling to speak for the last six months and starving himself, Liam has no friends and is constantly bullied. Jayden is a new kid at school. Immediately he is drawn to Liam’s ice blue eyes and the beauty of his features. After a struggle and unconditional love, Jadyn finally gains Liam’s trust and love; ignoring all the other students’ taunts and warnings, befriends Liam and becomes his constant companion. When Liam is hospitalized and in terrible condition, Jayden realizes his feelings for Liam may run much deeper than “just friends,” as he stays by Liam’s bedside. It’s a story of deep love and friendship and finding sexuality in the midst of it all. By facing their own secrets and demons, these two boys find something neither one was looking to find.

Mark’s Review

I must admit to having read this book in one sitting. A book that covers a lot of issues; eating disorders, trauma, physical abuse, discrimination, bullying, murder-mystery and questioning one's sexuality. So a lot of ground covered in a few pages. However, it is incredibly well paced, sensitively handled and leads to a beautiful ending.

Liam is sixteen and hasn't spoken a word since his tenth birthday after an extremely traumatic experience. This provides the murder-mystery. What did he experience at that age that has traumatised him so much he hasn't spoken a single word in six years? He is also suffering from an eating disorder and is wasting away, basically on a one way road to self-destruction. However, he insists on going to school and his grades, especially in Math, are first class. As you can imagine he is viewed as a bit of a freak by his classmates and therefore very lonely. Until Jayden, who is new to the school, turns up and befriends him.

Jayden is attracted to Liam I reckon, first off, out of curiosity and then when Liam unable to speak looks at Jayden, Jayden is captivated. Liam talks with his eyes and he has beautiful eyes at that. They do the talking and are the gateway to Liam's heart and soul. When Liam ends up in hospital Jayden almost makes it his mission to help him overcome his issues. I must admit this is a very noble thing to do especially from a sixteen year old, which left me thinking about what exactly is trying to be achieved here. But when we meet Jayden's family all becomes clear. The whole family has a very high social, moral and caring conscience and of course this would obviously have been Jayden's example as well while growing up. His dad is a policeman (a caring one) and his mum a social worker. Maybe a little too perfect in many respects but nonetheless you could feel the love and understanding Jayden's parents have for their son, complete and unconditional. The type of parents or people that can extend this sort of love to anyone else providing them a safe and secure place to be. This was certainly going to be crucial in Liam's case in the long run over his issues. As with a lot of cases like Liam, sometimes I would like to believe that teenagers like this just need love and support in order to be able to deal with what's going on in their lives.

I just loved Liam and my heart went out to him just as Jayden's did. This beautiful boy with eyes that can look into your soul, but who is suffering on the inside, trapped by his circumstances. Jayden doesn't see his attraction to Liam in a sexual way at first. He just sees him as a very close friend but everyone else, including his parents, sees that the infatuation is more than just good friends, allowing Jayden to make his own conclusions on the way he feels about Liam.

Before reading this book you need to realise it is a book written for teenagers. Why read YA? Well, why not? After all, what was the first Harry Potter novel but a YA novel and enough adults were enraptured by that series too. So it's an insightful story dealing with a lot of issues that some teenagers have.

Therefore, when I first started reading the writing style, sentence construction and lexis was probably a little on the straightforward and simplistic side for adult tastes, but this didn't detract from the strong message being portrayed in the story for me personally. Needless to say there is no outright raunchy sex scenes, more one of discovering emotions and feelings for the first time for each other, and trying to come to terms with these things. The normal emotional turmoil a lot of teenagers go through.

Therefore this book deals wonderfully and very sensitively with all the issues I mentioned at the beginning of my review while providing a beautiful story that certainly kept me invested emotionally and intellectually all the way. I loved both characters in this book and would most definitely pick up any sequel to this story.

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