Monday, August 27, 2018

Book Review: Torn (Story Ballads #1) by Mia Kerick

Torn (Story Ballads, #1)
Vinny Bucci and Tommy Stecker are almost cousins. (Their mothers call themselves “sisters of the heart,” so that sort of makes them cousins, doesn’t it?) Since childhood, they’ve shared holidays and Sunday services and their passion for soccer. But now they’re eighteen, high school seniors, and what has always been devoted friendship—the next best thing to family—has started to feel like something else. Something more….

Unfortunately, the Steckers can’t accept their son’s same-sex romance, and upon recognizing the teens’ mutual attraction, they push Tommy into dating a girl from church, then compel him to attend a Christian College far away from Vinny’s school. The Buccis and the Steckers—once a family of choice—clash over what’s right and go their separate ways.

Forced into separation, Vinny and Tommy are both devastated, but while Vinny hardens his heart to love, halfway across the country Tommy becomes emotionally and physically ill. Their passion for each other hasn’t diminished, let alone died, but they lose contact, and for the first time in their lives learn what it is to live with a broken heart.

Will Tommy and Vinny find their way back to each other, or will they accept the rules dictated by family and try to live severed lives, their love forever unfulfilled?

A Mature Young Adult Romance

Todd's rating:

Holy crap, that was freaking ANGSTY AF, but I'd expected as much.

I adored both Vinny and Tommy, but Tom's family and the situations they forced him into constantly made me crazy.

The first parts of the book were my favorite, before they left for college and were covertly spending as much time together as possible.

But then Tom left for college and decided that he *needed* to make Jenna his priority, refusing to make any sort of contact for six weeks. Just after them both MC's stressing that "you're mine".


I hated those parts and wanted to strangle both Jenna and Tom's mother.

Yes, Jenna was being lied to, BUT (and this is a huuuuuge but) she had manipulated Tom into ever dating her in the first place, using both of their families against Tommy to get what she wanted, so she received less than zero sympathy from me.
Her plan to trap a man failed. Boo fucking hoo, bitch.

Tommy's mother had no excuse, other than to enforce Gestapo-level control over her youngest son.

Sorry, I still had a bit of pent-up anger over that controlling mess. Using religion and social norms to strong-arm a child into being someone there not isn't acceptable -- EVER.

Once Vinny visited Tommy in Chicago, the story took a turn much more to my liking, as the boys full and TRULY committed to one another. But if Tommy had backslid again, I'm telling you, someone was gonna die, no exaggeration.

I was happy that the physical side of their relationship was written realistically, instead of them being untouched princesses in crystal castles. The sex scenes also had actual meaning, bringing the young MC's closer as a true 'forever' couple vs. just scratching a horny, teenage itch.

Some of the parts toward the end bordered on cheesy, which I thought that the book was actually poking a bit of fun at, not taking itself too seriously. So there was a bit-o-cheese, but it wasn't taken to extremes.

I felt like the story did end with a true HEA, as the boys had known one another forever and been through hell and back with tons of relationship drama, between themselves and with Tommy's family.

They came out the other side stronger than ever and I'd rate this story at around 3.75 stars and recommend it to any YA/NA lovers with the stomach for a bit of angst. Well, maybe more than a bit. ;- )

I'm personally hoping we get a story for Tommy's awesome older brother Dave next, instead of throwing poor Vinny and Tommy into the emotional wood-chipper again.

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