REMINDER: You have until tomorrow, June 17th at midnight to enter the Goodreads giveaway of a signed copy of the ARC for CRAZY!!
It was my turn recently to receive Helene Dunbar’s recently released These Gentle Wounds making its rounds on a OneFourKidLit ARC tour and I couldn’t put it down. First of all, the cover drew me in: a winsome teenage boy resting his head on his arm in a prone position looking out somewhere past you with a lost gaze. I’ve learned on my own book journey how important covers can and should be and this one does the job admirably.
I soon learn his name is Gordie, the lone survivor of his mother’s heinous crime, in which she drove her car into the river along with him and his three siblings. The book is Gordie’s journey, with italicized flashbacks, from That Day five years earlier to his present tortured teenage life. He is left with PTSD that manifests itself in hand tremors, an in-and-out state of awareness he calls “spinning,” and almost total dependence on the protective and loving dominant-submissive relationship with his half-brother, Kevin.
Kevin’s dad took in Gordie after the incident, and Gordie seems unable to negotiate much of normal teen life without his brother’s assistance. Kevin is sixteen months older and faces his own anger issues, but the brothers share a bond that is unwavering until Sarah walks into Gordie’s life. With her own lopsided family relationships, she is able to totally understand and empathize with Gordie, and soon the romance blossoms.
As if life isn’t complicated enough, Gordie’s father reappears on the scene with a twisted motive to regain custody of Gordie. Even with Kevin’s and Sarah’s support, Gordie teeters on the brink of drowning in his own fears and the knowledge about his father that he has kept secret all these years.
No spoilers here, because this book is too good not to let you enjoy it as I did. But suffice it to say, Gordie makes an amazing discovery in the end that gives him the courage to face the demons of his dead mother and very alive father.
All the way through this riveting YA novel, my teacher self and my writer self pictured this book in the hands of school counselors who could use it powerfully in group or individual sessions about abuse. Even if that doesn’t happen, I’m sure this book will speak volumes to anyone who has had a brush with any kind of abuse.
Hey READERS, I would love to hear from you.
Is your MIND FULL of old thoughts or new?