Reviewed by Chris
TITLE: Finding Aaron
SERIES: Finding Home #1
AUTHOR: Gigi Kern
LENGTH: 112 pages
At 23, Aaron has aged out of the foster-care system and is now a struggling college student. Between his severe Learning Disabilities, ADHD and past trauma, every day is a struggle.
Three years ago, Aaron’s world got a whole lot brighter thanks to his new best friend, Ryan Foster and his family. The Fosters have taken him into the fold. That is, everyone except for Ryan’s Uncle TJ.
When Aaron and TJ meet, sparks fly.
TJ, 31, can’t stand his nephew’s flamboyant, in your face, blue-haired, rainbow loving, best friend. He knows he shouldn’t be so judgmental but after spending five years in Iraq and Afghanistan, his patience is buried under a mountain of guilt and loss.
TJ’s animosity toward Aaron always stresses Aaron out going home to the Foster’s for the holidays but they are the only family he has. He just needs to put up with TJ. He can do that, right?
When something happens that neither one wants to acknowledge, it may just be the catalyst needed for the sparks to explode.
What happens when TJ lets himself see the real Aaron? And, can Aaron let TJ past his defenses, when he’s barely holding on.
There are a lot of things I could say about this book, and very few of them would be complimentary. Just about the only thing it had going for it was the premise, and that was quickly drowned out by the writing, the characters, the frankly confusing scene structure, and the overwhelming urge to smack myself unconscious every time I picked up my kindle to force myself thru yet another twenty pages.
This book, to put it simply, was amateurish and not something I would ever want to spend my money and/or time on.
Aaron is a cliche. And not even a very good one. He is an orphan, wounded by his past in the foster system and his struggles with mental issues. But he is written so over the top, so thinly and with the single intent of forcing sympathy, that I found nothing in him that was not contrived. It was if he had Please Feel Sorry For Me tattooed over his forehead.
TJ, our Wounded Hero, is no better. He hates Aaron initially, but with one smile he is swayed into eternal love of our poor and helpless Aaron. I not joking about that either. Aaron smiles at him once and then suddenly TJ can’t help but fall for the man. There is other stuff going on in his backstory, but mostly he exists, like almost every other character, to fawn over Aaron. If there is chemistry between these two characters, I could not find it, except maybe in that one short flashback.
And talking of flashbacks. What the hell was going on with the structure of this story? At times it was almost like the author closed her eyes and threw scenes at random onto a storyboard and hoped for the best. There were times when there wasn’t even a effort made to integrate the flashback into the previous scene. It just appeared out of nowhere for no reason, other than I guess the author figured that Aaron had been talking about it happening for the last 100 pages so it needed to go somewhere and there was a good a place as any. Even when there were attempts to place them successfully into the story it was done in such a confusing manner I had no clue what was flashback and what was the current story.
It was not a big shock to me to find out that this was a self-published work. Which is kinda shitty to all the other awesome self-published works out there…but I honestly can’t see this book having got thru a round of editors. The way the author seems to think that text speak SHOUTING is a thing that should happen in a book that you are asking people to pay for is a bit astounding. And maybe if it was just Aaron’s pov that did it, I might understand. It could have been just the way Aaron’s brain worked. But it wasn’t. It was like every single character had the same brainwaves as a thirteen year old on a tumblr binge. I find this kind of thing irksome in fanfiction (where I generally have such a low bar of tolerance it is absurd)…there is no way it should be happening in a “professionally published” work.
But you want to know that really confused me and irked me in equal measures above all else? The constant assurance that it was Aaron’s blue hair that marked him out as a freak. This is 2015 (almost 2016) not the 1950’s. I have no ever loving clue why anyone would think that blue hair makes them freak. Especially not college age people. Yet everyone kept bringing it up (in almost exactly the same phrasing–which, yeah, didn’t do a whole lot for selling the characters) as if it was an undisputed fact of life. It was just one more thing that made this story ring as false.
I honestly don’t have the time or inclination to go into every little detail of why I didn’t like this book. I would have preferred not to go into this much detail and just forget the damn thing…but when you give a book this low of a rating it kinda needs to be explained. So I did. It just falls way below the bar I set for stories being sold, and I can’t really do much about that but explain why I feel that way.