Wednesday, November 30, 2016

ARC Review: If I Should Stumble (Tork and Adam 3) by Claire Davis and Al Stewart

Love is sure and timeless and forever. It whispers over the morning coffee and the last thought before sleep. Love is beyond hope, and cruel as life.

Kaz has been in the UK for almost a year, but the days pass by in an endless round of alcohol and nothingness. He has a story but no words good or bad enough to tell it, until one day, he is assigned a new peer mentor who asks him to help train a sponsored running team. Something that was stretched as old parchment breaks inside, and memories begin to re-surface.

Zack is overjoyed when his friend Adam asks him to be part of the sponsored run team trying to make money for the local homeless shelter. All day he makes cakes to lighten people's load, but something is missing from his life. Then he meets the boy with eyes like the desert, and with every step he runs, Zack's light burns away the darkness in Kaz's heart.

As the race heats gets nearer, Tork, Adam, Zack and Jo realise that under Kaz's careful programme, they have a chance to qualify and set right some of the wrongs of this world.

This book features the characters Tork and Adam from The Invasion of Tork and The Invasion of Adam.

Dani's rating:

Once there was a boy, and he ran like the wind. He ran and ran, leaving his family, his beloved coach, his country, his life. Fueled by fear and desperation, the boy survived.

But his soul didn't.

Now Kaz lives in the same group home as Tork, who is his mentor. It's beautiful seeing Tork so in love with Adam, so kind, so ALIVE. We always knew Tork was amazing, and he just shines here. But even Tork can't help Kaz if Kaz doesn't want to be helped.

Kaz says please and thank you; he puts on a happy smile. He tries to live up to the demands and expectations. But inside there's pain; there are memories. Kaz loses himself in hard cider, wakes up covered in puke, stops showering.

And he finds things, things he needs: a baby carriage, clothes, pretty beads. Even water noodles. Those are important.

To save Kaz from getting kicked out for not following house rules, Tork has Kaz coach the running team he and Adam put together to raise money for the homeless shelter where Adam volunteers.

That's when Kaz meets Zack. And that changes everything.

Zack is light and sweetness. He's a big teddy bear come to life, and he just wants to hold Kaz and never let go. Zack is a chef and loves to eat. He's embarrassed to be so overweight, and when another team mocks his size, Zack melts. He thinks maybe somehow Kaz hadn't noticed before.

But Kaz doesn't see the fat. He sees ZACK. He adores Zack's big, beautiful body. Zack listens. He doesn't judge. He bakes little cakes just for Kaz. Always for Kaz.

This is Kaz's story. And it's a love story. It's heartbreaking. It will make you cry.

But Kaz doesn't tell us his story. There's no long narrative, no harrowing account of an 18-year-old refugee escaping a war-torn country because his gaze lingered just a little too long on boys, never the girls, just the boys.

But we know. We SEE. There are rooftops and longing, and the piles that make Kaz feel safe. There is the silence. And finally there are WORDS.

This book broke me. It made my heart feel really small and tight, like it might stop beating. Then it made my heart sing again.

Because Adam & Tork, friendship, and BOYFRIENDS.

Once there was a boy, and he ran like the wind. He ran and ran, and when he stopped running, he met another boy, a boy who smelled like home.

Waking up, walks and trips, tickles, music . . . the twenty-four hours in a day to spend with someone else—all the things he never dreamed he could have. "Mm. What you do to me. I don't need to see your body to see you." [Kaz] began rocking gently, his head on Zack's shoulder. "You're the cook to all my flour."

This book is a masterpiece. I loved it beyond measure. Read it. Then read it again.

Get the book:


There is no friend as loyal as a book.
~Ernest Hemingway

An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Download links are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the book, author, publisher, or website listed.

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