Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Publication date: March 7, 2017
Cover artist: Anna Sikorska
Length: 210 pages
Reviewed by Erin
Eighteen-year-old Oliver’s troubles don’t end when he’s released from prison. He has nowhere to go, and he can’t even think about moving past his crimes while trying to survive homelessness.
Helping an elderly woman after a fall guides Oliver into at least a temporary home. In exchange for odd jobs and some assistance, he’s welcomed into a life with the old twin spinsters, and it seems too good to be true. The neighbor, Simon, certainly thinks it is. He doesn’t trust Oliver or his motives. Oliver is used to that kind of judgment, but it isn’t helping him overcome his guilt. Maybe Simon is right and Oliver doesn’t deserve happiness—or any of the other feelings stirring in a heart Oliver thought he’d closed off for good.
Oliver has two options: let the pain of his past swallow him and destroy all hope for the future, or move on to the new possibilities in front of him. Choosing to live won’t be easy, and Oliver might not be able to do it alone.
It's always an interesting experience when I read a book by a new to me author. I read the blurb for M.B. Mulhall's new book, Driven and was immediately intrigued. I am a huge lover of YA books, and Harmony Ink Press always puts out top notch books, so I was definitely looking forward to reading this one. I liked this book, unfortunately I didn't love it, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of good things going on here.
Oliver and Simon were likable characters. I was really invested in Oliver's struggles to start over again once he was released from prison. Homeless and without a family, he's all alone. Obviously, he's pretty broken and he really tugged at my heartstrings with all he's been through. The amount of guilt this poor guy has to carry around with him was just awful and it was hard to read about him struggling so much. Enter Simon. There wasn't a whole lot of back story given about him so it was a little difficult to get a clear picture of him.
This book was a pretty easy read, even if I wasn't fully engaged in the characters. Like I said I liked them, just wasn't in love with them. The writing is done well and the pacing makes it so the story doesn't drag. There is next to no steam in this book, which I don't mind in the least, however it made it so the connection between Oliver and Simon fell a bit flat. I think there was a bit too much page time spent on Oliver wallowing in his guilt to ever really get to the romance between Oliver and Simon. All in all, this was a good book and I hope you give it a chance.
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