Sunday, October 16, 2016

Book of the Week: Reclaiming Hope by Shell Taylor #Review

Author: Shell Taylor
Book: Reclaiming Hope
Series: Home for Hope #3
Stand alone
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publication date: October 14, 2016
Length: 222 pages


Four years ago, Kollin Haverty’s best friend, Riley Meadows, dropped off the face of the earth. When he shows up out of the blue, armed with a flimsy excuse for disappearing and having nearly completed his transition from female to male, Kollin wants to pick up where they left off. But Riley’s unwillingness to be honest with Kollin prevents him from fully trusting Riley again. Despite Riley’s insecurities and Kollin’s abandonment issues, they quickly discover there’s something more than friendship between them.

When a ghost from Riley’s past unexpectedly appears with haunting memories in tow, Kollin’s anger about being lied to outweighs his desire to be the understanding boyfriend Riley needs. As Riley’s web of strategically withheld secrets begins to unravel, he must find the courage to pursue his own peace before he can move forward with Kollin, and Kollin must decide what’s more important—supporting his best friend or protecting himself.

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Going into this book I wasn't sure what to expect. I had never read a book with a transitioning person, adult or young adult, and as my first it’s hard to grasp what you are getting yourself into or where the story will take you. I am in awe of the emotional story that Shell Taylor wrote. This story was so moving and real that it’s hard to delve into while reading it or right after. It was emotionally educational as well as eye opening and made my heart go from hurting to full of love throughout the story.
Kollin is a college student still living home with his two dads when his best friend, that abandoned him 4 years earlier, walks back into his life. Kollin isn’t sure what to think of the why’s Riley left but he’s a pretty forgiving guy, more than most people I know, and tries to wipe the slate clean for them to go back to being best friends again. A lot has changed for Riley, emotionally and physically, since they last saw each other. Riley isn’t the same guy that left years earlier he is mid transition, he has had some rough times since he left, and emotionally all over the place.
Their developing relationship was anything but easy. Kollin being a pretty easy going guy tries not to push but with so many emotional landmines around Riley he feels he needs to know more in order to be a good friend and to move forward with the romantic relationship. Riley doesn’t want Kollin, perfect gorgeous Kollin, to know about his tainted past or see his body because he doesn’t think Kollin can want him, not the true him, not the way he is now.
Adam and Eli really try to help the way good parents do; and with how open and honest the communication is between them and Kollin it really does help in some ways. Kollin’s insecurities with the physical side of their relationship coupled with Riley’s ever changing body dysmorphia makes for an emotional ride but one that I would still call low angst.
I loved how the author handled the details of Riley’s struggles in his transition with the physical aspect of still not having the parts he felt he was missing, to the parts that were complete but still carried scars, and so many psychological issues. They never bogged the story down, to me they made the story that much better. This is one friends to lovers book I wish everyone would read.

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