I'm not a religious person, but I'm gonna rate and review this book regardless of my beliefs, or rather non-beliefs. This book is brilliant. Both the story and the writing. We're following Andrew, an autistic boy. Life dealt really shitty cards for him. He lost all of his loved ones around him, when finally at the age of 14, he couldn't take it anymore. Meanwhile, there's another boy, Kiernan, they are the same age. Growing up, they locked eyes several times, but didn't actually met each other. And when Kiernan at last gathers the courage to take action, it's already too late. Andrew's careless act started a ripple effect, which affected Kiernan and his loved ones greatly. From then on, there was a lot of hurt and sadness. I couldn't believe what I was reading. I cried from start to finish, with a little breathing time in the middle, but it was torture. “When your world turns darkest, let your courage shine forth,” he said. “Ask for help—from anyone, everyone. Sometimes it’s the bravest thing you can do.” I started reading it around a month ago, but I had to stop several times for several reasons. One, because of the religious stuff. There are ghost, or spirits, whatever you wanna call them, who came back to give advice and guide. And I'm not a religious person at all, I'm not a believer. And even the wording and the vibe of this book is celestial. But I'd like to believe that I'm the kind of reader who can put aside her personal beliefs and preferences and enjoy a book; and maybe even go into it with an open mind. I'm not saying this story changed me, I'm not sure a book can do that, or if it can then this would certainly be it. Two, because it's insanely emotional. Sad and truly heartbreaking. I didn't even get to the prologue (there's a letter before it) and I was already crying. Granted, it was a Monday afternoon, and such as, it was already a shitty day and I only needed a little nudge to burst into tears. Three , this book is just too skillfully written. It's beautiful, but also complex and at the beginning I struggled to understand what's going on. Who's who, which POV am I reading right now, when are we, which timeline? I didn't want to ruin this creation by not understanding it. So I stopped. Again. Then I realized the problem. I'm used to books that are written in linear narrative, this however is completely different. Forgive me, I might not know the correct term, but I try to describe it. The narrator of the story is a 14-year-old boy, he's the brother of one of the MC's. He tells us the events from each character's POV in third person, but he also adds some of he's own experience and thoughts in first person. And sometimes we jump into one of a not so significant character's head, like a police officer, or school teachers, or the Moms, and those couple paragraphs are in first person. There's actually one timeline, but we're jumping from one place to another, from one character to another. Casey, the narrator boy, tells us what happened to each character in the same time period. Sometimes I didn't know who's head I was in, cause there wasn't a name mentioned. Confusing, I know. And because I'm not used to this kind of writing, I was utterly lost. But then I just kept going in hope that something would click in my head, and thankfully I didn't have to wait long, I just needed one answer to an important question, and finally I was able to connect the dots. I was around 20% at the time. From then on it was all clear, but eventually I did go back to read the beginning again in case I missed something. I don't think I ever read anything like this before. It's beautiful and compelling. This is one of those books, that you read once, and never again, because it's too much. Okay, "never" might be an exaggeration. This is a YA story, there's no touching or kissing. But there is abuse (the worst of it off-page) and self-harm (on-page, but not detailed). For me this book was about missed opportunities, regrets and second chances.
Bound by a dark act of hate and despair, high school freshmen, Andrew and Kiernan, learn that their untimely deaths did not bring an end to their pain, but only began the suffering of those left behind. While his lost memories return, Andrew must master seemingly impossible feats, both spiritual and physical.
As a dark spirit stalks Kiernan through the borderlands of life and death, he must also face the pain his actions have caused his loved ones. To save both their souls, Andrew must convince Kiernan to return to life and open his eyes to the love and beauty which had always been there.
14+ due to adult situations
Pain welled up from deep within, overtaking him, boiling forth from his every pore. Every injury from his past, both real and imaginary, manifested at once, overwhelming him, leaving him a tortured thing without a name, lost in a mysterious land at the outer edges of possibility.
Then the voices came, rolling through the sands like tremors from a quake. “Run!” they cried. “It comes! Damnation comes! Beware its path! Damnation comes!”
Kiernan’s feet hit the ground and he ran faster than ever, until his burning lungs and throat failed to draw further breaths and his heart, hammering inside his chest harder than ever, refused a further beat. He sank to his knees, all feeling in his mind and body departing—his emotions and hopes deserted him.
He sank inside himself through the fabric of his strange new reality into the real world, where he could see and hear the hum of fluorescent lights, respiratory machines, and monitors in a bright white room, within which rested his unmoving body, wrapped in white sheets and blankets. He stood invisible to the living, near his mother, but on the opposing side of his comatose form.
He saw the tears running down Kylie’s tired face, the exhaustion pouring forth from her eyes, her hand gripping his body’s hand tightly, and he realized that she had become his only anchor to the living world. He wanted to tell her it was all right, to let her know he was there, but she spoke first.
“How could you do this to me?” She cried. “To your brother? You promised me you’d never hurt him.” She took a deep breath and sniffled. “You promised!”
I trotted into the area of the Intensive Care set aside for my family, glancing briefly around, slurping the last of my soft drink through a straw, irritating every nurse around I am sure—I was seven—but I froze with a start for a second and dropped my forgotten Styrofoam cup, scattering mostly ice and a bit of watered down cola across the floor. I had seen my brother simultaneously in two places, and that is a lot for anyone of any age to wrap their heads around.
He was lying in the bed of course, motionless except for his breathing, which was handled by the Life Support System, but at the same time. I clearly saw him standing close to our mother, Kylie, or at least a shimmery version of him and he was looking back at me, appearing as perplexed as I was.
I shuddered, shaking my head in denial of what at that time, I assumed was impossible, and slipped in beneath my mother’s arm and sought a hint of comfort, as I snuggled against her. “Mommy, let’s go to the church room,” I pleaded. “You know, that one room with the pretty windows and candles.”
A quick glance revealed no further evidence of the apparition and I eyed the laboring machines with discomfort. “It’s quiet,” I murmured. “And no ghosts there,” I added too quiet for my mother to hear.
Kylie brushed my bangs to one side, but as resilient as any child’s unruly hair, they slid back, covering one eye completely. I really needed a trim, but caught up in our family’s catastrophe, such a need fell, like so many other things, to the wayside.
“What if your brother wakes up?” she retorted, “and no one’s here? He’d feel helpless—so alone. No idea where he’s at. Why he’s—”
I pulled away from my mother, interrupting. I was hurting and feeling rather neglected at the time. “Mommy, I have to tell you something about—”
She reached out cupping my hand and made a feeble effort to draw me back to her. “Maybe you’re just too young to understand,” she said distantly. “You are only—”
I whipped my hand free and took two steps back from her, saying something I regret even to this day. “So, if I have an accident like Kiernan, hurt myself like he did, then maybe you’d start caring about me again.”
My mother returned for a time—the mother that had always loved and protected Kiernan and myself, swept me up into a tight hug. As we both cried, she patted my back and made gentle soothing sounds. “Never think that,” she said, kissing my forehead and sighing, torn between her two sons, both of us needing her for very different reasons. “A visit to the chapel, even a short one, will help us both I think.”
We separated and just looked at one another until she reached out and offered me her hand. I forgave her fallibility and accepted, holding her hand against my cheek. My tears fell over her fingers and we just stood there, beginning to heal one another of wounds neither of us realized we had endured.
Moments later, we exited, hand-in-hand, together. The ghost of my brother watched us leave and looked with longing one last time upon his own comatose form.
this was a really sad book of death. so much death. by accidents , cancer and a few more. it dealt with bullying, hate love and abuse. it was just strange reading this book!
This was definitely a tear-jerker. This story was a good and original read. It was about second chances, love, bullying, death, and suicide. Throw in some angels and you get some inspirational aspects. It was definitely an enjoyable read, I'm not a huge fan of tear jerkers but this story touches on alot of things that are happening today and the author did a fabulous job.
A beautiful heartwarming story full of sorrow, bullying, love and second chances. I enjoyed this tale about lives interconnected, angels and so much more. I recommend this story for those looking for a wonderful inspirational read that touches on sensitive topics like bullying and suicide.
Love, hate, bullying, anger, sadness, hope, loss and everlasting happiness. This book is marketed as a LGBTQ Young Adult, and it is that, but it’s so much more. This is not a light read, it’s a book that will have you feeling the full gambit of emotions as you get through it. Don’t be frightened off the gay label on this, this isn’t about sex, it’s about love and acceptance. The beginning trudges a bit slowly, and the losses that one boy must face seem insurmountable - and the deaths of both Andrew and Kiernan is not the end of their story - but just a step on a different path. The book jumps a bit, so it loses it’s rhythm in places, but the emotions that the authors take you on are real, and a powerful message of acceptance and hope. After the roller coaster ride of emotions that I went through throughout the book, I felt a sense of peace at the end. Well done. Reviewed by Cyrene 4 1/2 Stars
Mechanics: It was well written, with the exception of a few mistakes – which we all make. It’s not as easy as one would think to catch every incorrect period, comma, colon . . . although, it is always a good idea to be as thorough as possible because there is going to be that one reader who calls you on it because it can affect the flow. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen often in this story, but it does happen. For example: * “…help.” I said. (“…help,” I said.) * “…he is not,” she said. “But…” (“…he is not,” she said, “but…”) The correction is in parentheses. It’s obvious that these, and others, were oversights because it isn’t prevalent. There were a few other minor errors in mechanics, but this does not detract from the story because the writing is well written: flowing, descriptive, and nearly flawless. As with the mistakes in punctuation dotted throughout, there are a few moments when tense shifts make it difficult to keep up with the intended timeline. When a writer inadvertently speaks in the present and then shifts to past tense writing, it can make the flow stop and the reader must return and re-read the passage to catch its meaning. Again, this story is well written, but there were a few times when I needed to re-read the passage in order to pick up the flow of the story again. I'm an author and I know how difficult it is to write flawlessly. There are still mistakes in my own books that my editor(s) and I overlook. I point out the errors in mechanics, not as a criticism, rather to give the author a chance to revise (if they so choose) and because there will be a reader that happily points them out to you. Story: I read a few of the other reviews written related to this book – which I don’t usually do. There were those that expressed confusion over the opening chapter of the book. I must say I didn’t experience this. I knew from the onset to whom the teenager was speaking in the Prologue. The only thing that I found detracting was the opening of some of the chapters. For example, Chapter One. I understand the purpose of the scene described; however, it isn’t until several paragraphs later that the connection is drawn and then even more reading before that connection is certain. It isn’t poorly constructed and is well written, just took longer than needs be for this reader to connect the events presented. As the story progressed, I found it to be a bit drawn out and repetitive. I got the sense, however, that the authors' intent was to saturate the reader with imagery in order to create a better understanding of Andrew’s condition, his relationship with Michael, etc. At times, however, it got so bogged down in the imagery that my mind would drift instead of staying with the story. Moreover, there are many moments in the story where the narrator (or author) feels a need to explain, pontificate, or interject some point he/she finds pertinent. Admittedly, I didn’t find this useful for anything other than giving the reader a break from the pervasive melancholy. As for the dialogue, it was often stilted. As with editing a work, writing dialogue is not as easy as one may think, so I won’t criticize the authors’ efforts overly much. Many times, writers will simply write words thinking that’s the way people would communicate in that circumstance. To those writers I’d say, try desperately to place yourself in the shoes of your characters. Immerse yourself in their lives. Stand in your characters’ places and enact the scene within your head, over and over, until you are those characters. Then write the dialogue in all its choppy, distracted glory. That will bring a realism to your writing that your readers will appreciate. Here’s why I interjected that lecture. Again, without giving away too much of the plot – Andrew is now six years of age. He meets up with Michael again (same or similar age). I’ve written the dialogue here only: “I’m Andrew.” “Mom named me after some old artist guy,” Michael said with aplomb, “but you… You can call me Michael.” Okay – NO! I’ve raised four children and own a daycare business, and I’m telling you right now, that as articulate as some six-year-olds are, this type of dialogue has never occurred in all my years of rearing and caring for children. Writing child speak is even harder than writing adult speak, but at least it’s easier to plant yourself in adult shoes to imagine a conversation than a child’s. It threw me off completely, because I would just sit and shake my head at that point. There were many times with the dialogue that I was thrown off like this. By Chapter Four, Andrew’s life is impacted in ways that I doubt many people in reality would experience. Not that it’s unprecedented. There may be people who, before they are teenagers suffer loss on a monumental scale, as in Andrew’s case. In Chapter Four, we’re introduced to two Irish brothers, whose lives are affected by loss early in their childhoods also and who first come across Andrew at the cemetery. From there, Andrew is mentioned occasionally as we delve into the lives of Kiernan and Casey and we’re given more hints as to gifts in common with Andrew. We also get a taste of a secret that Kiernan is trying desperately not to reveal. Kiernan is a teenager, but it isn’t until into Chapter Five that I realize that Andrew is a teenager at this point too. The authors may have revealed the advancement in years and I may have overlooked it. I did scroll back again in attempt to find where Andrew was no longer a little boy, but I still missed it, so as I read on, I found myself viewing Kiernan in a not-so-favorable light – until I realized they were in high school together. From there the aggression and depressive state gets really thick, and it was nearly palpable to that point. Tragedy compounds until the story comes full circle, returning to where it began – at the funeral. In essence, the story, though attempting to add an element of the paranormal by introducing an ability to see and speak to spirits, is really an exploration into the uncertainties, mysteries, insecurities, and acceptance of being homosexual. There are many moments when the authors' writing becomes less heavy on the imagery as the story unfolds; however, it grows more steadily didactic instead. The letter at the end is lovely, if not overly drawn out. Overall, it is a well-recounted narrative saturated in a consuming sadness. Such a story may appeal to some, and if that is alluring to a particular demographic, they won’t be disappointed – in the drama or the writing. If, however, you prefer something with at least some light to break through the heavy veil of despair, you may want to pass this by.
I was able to put myself into the book and watch and feel the raw emotions. I felt their sadness, and feelings of helplessness. I cried for and with them, and was I was filled with awe as they found peace, hope and love. I found myself wanting it to continue on.
I just finished upon broken wings. Excellent read. It kept me interested from beginning to end. I want to read more...