By: Kate Avelynn
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Published: Nov. 22, 2012
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Sarah O’Brien is alive because of the pact she and her brother made twelve years ago — James will protect her from their violent father if she promises to never leave him. For years, she’s watched James destroy his life to save hers. If all he asks for in return is her affection, she’ll give it freely.
Until, with a tiny kiss and a broken mind, he asks for more than she can give.
Sam Donavon has been James’ best friend — and the boy Sarah’s had a crush on — for as long as she can remember. As their forbidden relationship deepens, Sarah knows she’s in trouble. Quiet, serious Sam has decided he’s going to save her. Neither of them realizes James is far more unstable than her father ever was, or that he’s not about to let Sarah forget her half of the pact...
This is definitely an interesting read and I'm not quite sure that I've ever read anything like this before. It definitely has some touchy subjects in it regarding not only incest and abuse but rape as well. When I read the synopsis I immediately knew that I had to read this book. I needed a change from the regurgitated stories I had been reading and I knew I needed something new and different fast and this story did the trick.
Sarah and her brother James have been tip toeing around their father for years. He's an ex-boxer who used to be a big deal, that is until a groupie pricked holes in the condom and wound up pregnant with James. He marries their mother due to obligation and before you know it, she's duped him again with another child in hopes that another mouth to feed with fix their marital problems. There's no shocker there that it doesn't and in order to support his family he drops out of boxing and gets a job at the mill. He hates his wife for what she's done to him and his career and resents the children as well and takes his frustration out on them by beating them. The mother does nothing to stop this because she's so doped up on drugs that she probably can't tell reality from hallucinations anymore. So bearing all this in mind, you can draw a picture of how messed up this family is and how insane the story itself will be.
I loved the way that the author wrote the story but I did have a problem with Sarah sometimes. When her brother starts to get overly possessive she blows it off to the fact that he's been protecting her for the majority of her life. However, when he kisses her, she writes it off to stress. To me, I would think that would raise a little bit more concern with her. The fact that the one person that she could always rely on was starting to change and become unhinged. That was the only issue I really had with this book. Right from the beginning Sam comes into the picture and starts to sort of ground her life. He is the factor that makes her question her brother and the promise that she made him, that they would always stay together.
I was glued to the story until I finished it because I had to know what happened next. I will say that I have mixed feelings about the ending. I liked the ending because it wasn't how you'd normally picture the story ending but I also felt a little unsatisfied as well because I still had some questions that were unanswered. I wish I could explain my reasoning over my feelings for the ending but if I did that, then I would give away key points of the story. Just know that this story will leave you reeling at the end. This is a dark story and I think the author did an awesome job writing it. It's not easy approaching these subjects and I applaud her for taking that chance. I will definitely be keeping my eye on Kate Avelynn and will be impatiently waiting to see what she comes up with next.
I chose this quote because it shows how messed up Sarah really is.
"My place is in the kitchen, fishing recyclable beer cans from the garbage and cooking lame boxed dinners for my father and brother. If not there, then locked in my bedroom, listening to my mother and father fight when he stops by her room to "visit". Hoping he doesn't try to "visit" my room as well."