Reviewed by Chris
TITLE: Broken Souls
SERIES: Scarred Souls #3
AUTHOR: T.T. Kove
PUBLISHER: Arctic Circle Press
LENGTH: 232 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 12, 2016
“Jumping my teacher was a great idea at the time.”
Chad hasn’t had an easy life, with an abusive father and a mother who killed herself. Add to that Dion, the teacher he’s in love with, rejecting him, and a mental illness taking over his life: things are far from great—even if they feel great in the clutch of mania.
Jeremy has a hard enough time dealing with Dion cheating on him, and he does not need the student in question to show up at his door. But Jeremy’s not heartless either, and he helps the beaten teenager.
It gets more complicated when Jeremy realises Dion isn’t over Chad—and then when Jeremy himself starts to care for Chad too. Can they figure out a way to make things work between them, amidst Chad’s deteriorating mental state and the deaths of two people close to him?
Having sex with your college teacher in the middle of the teacher’s lounge is probably not a good idea. Especially when he already has a boyfriend. Especially when you are kinda hallucinating all sorts of shit while it happens. But Chad has hardly lived a life best characterized as full of “good ideas.” Which is probably why he finds himself outside Dion’s, his teacher’s, apartment after being beaten up by his father. It might not be a good idea, but at that point he doesn’t have many kinds of ideas left. With everything in his life spiraling down to who-knows-where, Chad can only hope that Dion and Jeremy, Dion’s boyfriend (who is rightly pissed about that whole ‘cheating’ thing), can help him find a safe place to land.
I have some pretty mixed feelings about this book.
On one hand I really liked how Chad was written. The author really brought out the chaotic and sometimes manic shifts in moods that he experiences. Chad’s bipolar and suicidal problems were very well written. They were certainly not easy topics to tackle, or to read for that matter, but I really liked how the author didn’t half-ass it. It was dark and messy and as a result came off feeling real.
On the other hand all those shifts in emotions made this book exhausting to read. By the time we got to the end of the book, I was just done. I couldn’t read anymore. The downside of having all of Chad’s fluctuating emotions coming out as spot-on, realistic, is that I experienced every single of one of them as Chad did and I was left wrung out by not even the half-way point. Even when we did switch over to Jeremy’s pov–which did actually help a bit in stabilizing the story–I couldn’t seem to catch my breath because Chad was still there on page teetering from one side to the next in quick succession. Only we got Jeremy’s issues added to it. It was, like I said, exhausting.
I was also not really at all comfortable with the sex in this book. The way Chad pushes both Jeremy and Dion into sex with him (during his more manic periods) made me uneasy. But not nearly as uneasy as Chad himself doing these things when he is clearly not in a frame of mind to consent to anything. Add to it the whole teacher-student dynamic and I’m not sure that there was much in the way of fully-consensual sex in this book. Yeah, they all say “it felt good so of course I wanted it” after the fact…but I’m not sure that is enough for me.
Do I think this book is worth reading? Yeah, probably. Just you need to know what you are getting yourself into before you start. Especially when you are triggered by things like suicide and rather frank depictions of depression.