Reviewed by Christine
AUTHOR: Suki Fleet
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 274 pages
RELEASE DATE: February, 8 2016
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.
In this lovely, gripping novel, I was back on the streets of London, returning once again to the place where I first became enamored of Suki Fleet’s writing in This Is Not a Love Story. I was back where I fell in love with her beautiful young souls struggling to survive the raw, fragile life of homeless youth.
Suki Fleet’s writing is lyrical, honest, and poetic. Her simple phrases and vivid details yield powerful images with clear, stark insight into her characters’ existence and struggles, both internal and external. She paints a picture of a gritty, unforgiving life that still remains hopeful and full of humanity. It is a reality and the norm for some, an obstacle to overcome for others. Whether her characters are embedded in the pavement or merely blowing across it on their way to somewhere else, the reader feels every nuance, every step, and every effort of the day-to-day survival for people who dwell within this world.
Old souls inhabit the bodies of these young adults, both innocent and ancient at once. Danny’s first person narrative is compelling, naked, and heartbreakingly truthful. His humanity and that of those around him is, as in every Suki Fleet novel I have read, the very core of this novel. It’s the nucleus around which the characters’ universe and their tragic stories revolve. Through Danny’s eyes, the reader views the ugliness and vulnerability of life, along with the hope that rises above adversity through loving others—even those who, through their actions, may not truly deserve it. In Danny there is an inherent goodness, despite a tragic past and a harsh life that has left him scarred both emotionally and physically. He is a testament to the humanity that exists within all of us, even when we struggle to see it in others.
Danny’s character and his love for Micky are achingly beautiful. His voice gives the story an immediacy, a sense of being present and witnessing his struggle, his pain, his brushes with danger, and the depth of his connection to those around him. His grief is described with honest bitter-sweetness as he deals with the hole Dashiel’s death has left in his life. When truths come to light and love begins to fill up Danny’s emptiness, the reader is treated to a gorgeous blossoming as the characters learn about themselves, each other, and the significant roles they play in life. Resolutions are satisfying and full of hope, proving once again that love and determination are powerful ammunition against the demons that dwell among us and within us.
Danny and Micky’s story remains with the reader long after the final word is read. Foxes is a must-read for any Suki Fleet fan, and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a story that grabs the reader by the heart strings and doesn’t let go.