Reviewed by PizzyGirl
TITLE: Back to You
AUTHOR: Chris Scully
PUBLISHER: Riptide Publishing
LENGTH: 266 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 12, 2017
Journalist Alex Buchanan has come home to the remote British Columbia town he grew up in, but only because his estranged father is dying. For Alex, the homecoming holds a mix of memories, mostly bad. The only bright spot is reconnecting with Benji Morning, the childhood friend he never truly forgot. As boys, the strength of their bond had frightened Alex. But now that he’s confident in his bisexuality, he’s drawn back to quiet, soft-spoken Ben.
Ben isn’t the same boy Alex left behind, though. His life has been overshadowed by the disappearance of his sister two decades earlier, and now a new break in the case threatens to undo the peace he’s worked so hard to attain.
As Alex struggles to repair the relationship with his father before it’s too late, he finds himself caught up in a twenty-year-old mystery, a story he never expected, and a shocking truth that could affect his and Ben’s future together.
TRIGGER WARNING: Attempted Suicide
This is one of those books I had to put aside and think about before I could write my review. It made an impact on me but I struggled to specifically define why and how. I am still not 100% sure I will get my thoughts all on the page, but I will try.
This story was very well written. The language was lyrical and the overall effect was a story that enveloped me in to the exclusion of all around me. The plot, the characters, the romance, were all so interwoven that it created this holistic story that sucked me in until I became so invested and so interested that I became a part of the story itself.
None of this story was easy or what i would call happy. From the father storyline, to the mystery of who done it, to the second chance romance. All of it was fraught with issues that all worked together to present this somber tale that was interspersed with moments of hopefulness and romance. The characters were rich and there was so much happening in terms of family and character dynamics. I loved that I sort of knew the who and the why before the end, but was always kept on that edge of not quite believing that I knew it all. It was well presented and very intriguing. It was a vital part of the story and drove out the secrets and information needed for many of the characters to start healing.
The romance was believable and very emotional. I have to admit that while Levi was the main story teller, Benji stole the show for me. His quiet uplifting of a dying town was heartwarming especially once his own past was revealed. And his past, OMG, I hurt so bad for this man who just wanted to be loved by someone, anyone, but most especially, the one person who could not see that her love mattered most. His journey was my favorite part of the story and I was so grateful for Levi and the romance because of how it provided Benji with what he needed. .
The one thing that kept this from being a 5 star read was Levi himself. While I liked him and was invested in his journey, I never felt like I ever really got to know him as a man. His history was touched on but there were big voids that left me quite confused as to his current behaviors. The entire 20 year span while he was gone was missing and I felt like it held key clues to help me understand his father issues as well as how he reacted to Benji so intensely. In the end, I loved him for the way he helped Benji heal, but I still never fully understood him or his transformation. There was this constant state of confusion that tugged at the back of my brain from page one and it was rather distracting because it was always just out of reach.
Overall, I quite enjoyed this read and Chris Scully is quickly becoming an autobuy for me. I recommend this story to anyone looking for a but of angst, a bit of mystery, and a well presented town that is just as much a part of the story as the plot and characters are.