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Book Review: Black Sheep: Letting Go of the Past by Kia ZiShiru

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You can’t outrun your past. You can escape it for a while, but it will always catch up with you in the end.

In the novella Black Sheep, when Vic’s mother moves the family to a new town in an attempt to distance her son from the abusive relationship that so nearly ended in tragedy, she hopes he has put it behind him. But Vic is carrying far more than the visible marks on his body.

His ordeal has scarred him deep inside, and sooner or later he will have to accept the help of his loved ones and confront the nightmare head on. Otherwise it will tear him apart.

Vic sees the move as his chance for a fresh start. He intends to keep out of trouble and finish high school without drawing attention to himself. However, this plan goes awry on his very first day when he meets Jack, sweet, warm, and incredibly cute. There’s no ignoring the attraction that sparks between them, but Vic does his best to fight it.

He has no choice. He’s a mess, emotionally and physically, and he refuses to drag Jack down with him. Besides, if Jack ever found out the truth about him, it would surely mean the end of their friendship.

Jack falls for Vic the moment he lays eyes on him, and, incredibly, Vic seems to like him too. Not that he makes things easy. Jack has to use every trick he knows to persuade the other boy to admit his feelings, and even then, it’s obvious Vic’s holding back.

There’s a world of pain in his eyes, and he shies away whenever Jack gets too close, refusing to open up. Vic appears unable to prevent himself from straying ever farther down a path of self-destruction, and Jack is desperate to prove to him how much he cares before it’s too late.

Heart-breaking, poignant, hauntingly-written…these are just a few of the adjectives that spring to mind when describing this novella. It’s a story about coming to terms with the past, and learning that love can be a source of enormous strength and comfort, as well as incredibly destructive. Though the author tackles some sensitive subjects — suicide, self-harming, abuse — she does so with subtlety and compassion.

I totally fell in love with Vic and Jack as characters, and am intrigued as to where the next book in the series will take them.

An emotional read I know I won’t forget in a hurry.

Written for the Boys on the Brink Blog

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About Jamie Deacon

I’m an aspiring author of gay romances for young adults, writing novels where boys battle the odds to find love, acceptance, and their place in the world. My passion for the genre of m/m YA fiction inspired me to create the Boys on the Brink blog, where I share book reviews, author interviews, giveaways, and more… As well as being an avid reader and writer, I love going for long walks with our crazy Staffordshire bull terrier, supporting Liverpool Football Club, attending shows (especially musicals) at the theatre, and curling up on the sofa on winter’s nights with a mug of hot chocolate and some reality TV.