* Retro Review Tour & Giveaway *
2016 Rainbow Award Winner – Best Gay Young Adult
When Dashiel’s body is found dumped on an East London wasteland, his best friend Danny sets out to find the killer. But Danny finds interaction difficult and must keep his world small in order to survive. By day he lives in an abandoned swimming pool and fixes electrical devices to trade for supplies, but by night, alone, he hunts sharks—a reckless search for dangerous men who prey on the vulnerable.
A chance meeting with an American boy selling himself on the streets throws this lonely existence into disarray. Micky is troubled, fragile, and Danny feels a desperate need to protect him—from what, he doesn’t know. As Danny discovers more about Micky, he realizes that what Micky needs saving from is the one thing Danny can’t help him fight against.
To save Micky, Danny must risk expanding his world and face something that scares him more than any shark ever could: trusting he will be accepted for who he is. If a freezing winter on the streets, a sadistic doctor, and three thousand miles don’t tear them apart first, that is.
Contemporary, New Adult
274 e-book pages
Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
Click for more information regarding ratings.
Suki Fleet’s writing sort of reminds me of my first experience white water rafting. It was on the New River in West Virginia — and for the time of year we went, that river is the perfect place for those new to whitewater.
Mostly I was excited, my gut tight with anticipation and the first hint of adrenaline coursing down my spine. But when a sport requires a helmet, you know things can get dangerous. So I was also just a little nervous.
When we dropped our rafts, our crew of eight plus our guide embarked on what’s best described as a lazy drift. It was gentle, effortless calm on a glorious sunny day. There wasn’t much to do other than float along the slow moving water and enjoy the scenery. Mountains poking at the sky, a deer lapping at the water’s edge, an eagle soaring on the wing. The mid-morning sun heating my arms and just the barest breeze kissing my cheeks. It was absolute serenity.
About fifteen minutes in, without much warning, the speed of the river picked up — an imperceptible bit. Boulders peeked above the surface. Eddies were swirling in a strangely syncopated rhythm. I could see where the river was dropping in what looked like steps on a short staircase. Our small craft of rubber and air was headed right for it with nothing but eight first-timers and a pro wielding plastic-tipped paddles to navigate and defend.
That was easy. Energizing.
Nothing to be scared of.
LET’S DO IT AGAIN!
And so we did.
And again. With mini breaks of tranquility.
Dragonflies. Daffodils. Mountain Laurel. Sunbathing turtles. Fluffy Clouds.
Each time we hit a rapid — if you could call them that — there was one thing, a different thing about each that made it slightly more challenging than the previous. Tiny differences that were nearly undetectable. A few more boulders, a faster pace, a bigger drop, larger eddies, gurgling swells, more froth on the surface. All nuanced challenges, to be sure. Introduced in increments as they were, and with a guide who knew what he was doing, there wasn’t a single thing fear.
About midday we stopped on the edge of the river for a picnic lunch. At this particular part of the river there was a rocky cliff that rose from the water about…I don’t know, maybe thirty feet. It was a jumping rock — tried and true by thousands of people before us. I’d never jumped from a height of more than ten feet.
BUT I’D BRAVED WHITEWATER RAPIDS FOR HALF A DAY.
So of course, I jumped.
And I flew.
The most elegant cliff-dive ever to have happened in the history of ever.
The Olympic high-dive team recruited me on the spot.
FINE! I stood at the edge of that fucking cliff and looked down twelve thousand feet to my ant-sized pals. Death stared back at me. I couldn’t breathe because of lack of oxygen at that great height. I willed my feet to fuse with the rock.
I became the rock.
The hand of God shoved me.
Or my friend Tom.
I died four times on the way down.
I hit the water with so much force I choked on my bathing suit and sprained a toe.
But I survived.
To whitewater some more.
And I’ll tell ya what, the challenge of the rapids from that point onward was intense. It was thunderous, surging, true class-five business. The kind that takes every molecule of focus and determination. When the guide tells you to lean left, by God, you lean left with everything you have. When he tells you to dig in with your paddle, you go at it like your in a race to unearth a fifty-pound hunk of gold. You become one with your fellow rafters and the raft, your paddle a born extension of you. Everything working in symbiotic tandem to outwit an unforgiving river without a single break to catch a breath.
On the New River in West Virginia, after miles and miles fast roiling water, it calms.
Is it just as gentle as when we started? I don’t know. Somehow it seems more serene, that last half-mile stretch. The breeze, warmed by the sun, feels like a hug. All the colors are more vivid — the trees greener, the sky bluer. The water sparkles like millions of crystals. A red-tailed hawk resting on a limb winked at us. It’s quieter too, eerily so because I swear I could hear the fish swimming under us.
We’d fought. We’d conquered.
We survived. And we celebrated.
It is a literary experience packed with colorful characters and heady emotion. A vivid, intense, and moving journey along the most elegant words. It’s a gently flowing river that carries the soul to unexpected places and around unforeseen obstacles one nuanced step at a time.
With graceful ebbs and flows, sometimes scary leaps of faith — or unexpected nudges — it’s not so scary after all. Because even in the direst situations — ones that are sobering, ugly and gut-wrenching — there’s a glimmer of hope to fight for survival.
Getting to the end of this hard-fought journey, with Suki as a consummate guide, love and hard-won happily ever afters are even more vibrant in their simple beauty.
Advance Review Copy generously provided by the the author via Signal Boost Promotions in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author:
Award Winning Author. Prolific Reader (though less prolific than she’d like). Lover of angst, romance and unexpected love stories.
Suki Fleet writes lyrical stories about memorable characters, and believes everyone should have a chance at a happy ending.
Her first novel This is Not a Love Story won Best Gay Debut in the 2014 Rainbow Awards, and was a finalist in the 2015 Lambda Awards.
Review Tour Details:
February 8 – Gay Book Reviews, Bike Book Reviews
February 10 – Back Porch Reader
February 17 – Dog-Eared Daydreams, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
February 24 – Inglorious Bitches, Ellie Reads (all the books)
February 27 – Lily G Blunt, MM Book Escape, We Three Queens, Mikku-chan