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What Keeps Me Going

Shirley Frances

5 of 5 stars false

4.5

An overwhelming story of friendship, love and the unfairness of the society we live in.

Jared is the new kid in town who instantly finds himself befriended by Luke. They are as different as night and day, but perfect together. While Jared is a shy loner who prefers to keep to himself, Luke is the friendly next door neighbor who welcomes him with opens his arms. They are inseparable and their bond is strong enough to withstand anything. Or so they hope.

From their younger days as friends, through their adolescence as lovers until their lives as adults, Jared and Luke’s story is one of love and of hate, of new found love and devastating loss, of new discoveries and repeated let downs. This is their story.

As young boys they find the joy of friendship and brotherhood but also experience the pain of what it means to be themselves in a society that looks down upon the ones that are ‘different’. Their innocence and the beauty of their love is tainted by this and Luke never rebounds from that. He questions himself and his feelings for Jared. He has no one to turn to ask for guidance and he loses his way. His confusion and pain, so very palpable throughout the page, is overwhelming. From the beginning he wins a piece of my heart and I want to shelter him from it all – from the hurt and the pain, from the confusion and the fear. His inner struggles frustrate me and his self-hatred infuriates me because he shouldn’t be made to feel this way, but it is his unending love for Jared and his acceptance of that love in the end what does me in. It was beautiful. It truly was.

Jared, what can I say about him? From an insecure, shy boy whose whole world revolves around Luke and his love for him, he grows to be an assertive young man who stands for what he believes in and for what he feels. He is dealt some horrible cards and some may say that he runs away from his problems, but I see it as him doing the best he can in unbearable situations. His development is a joy to read, but it is not an easy feat. I am with him every step of the way so I see how much he is broken and how deep his pain is. He encounters horrible events and circumstances that are way beyond his control but he pulls himself together and eventually learns to stand on his on.

As you can probably tell by now, this book touched me deeply.

This coming of age story is filled with complex characters, both main and secondary, who grew throughout the story and who were real to me. Of course, most of all I enjoyed Jared and Luke. I enjoyed their interactions, their development and their connection. The writing was amazing, from the range of emotions to the overwhelming series of events presented in the page, the author, DeeJay Arens, gives us a great debut novel. From beginning to end, everything the author expressed on the page came beautifully together to make a great read. It is not light read, but it is a beautiful story of love lost and new beginnings.

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Thank you, Shirley! 🙂

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