Aaron (Survivor Stories #1)by Published 08 Oct 2012
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I can’t describe what it’s like to want to scream every minute of every day.
Two years after a terrifying night of pain destroyed his normal teenage existence, Aaron Downing still clings to the hope that one day, he will be a fully functional human being. But his life remains a constant string of nightmares, flashbacks, and fear. When, in his very first semester of college, he’s assigned Spencer Thomas as a partner for his programming project, Aaron decides that maybe “normal” is overrated. If he could just learn to control his fear, that could be enough for him to find his footing again.
With his parents’ talk of institutionalizing him—of sacrificing him for the sake of his brothers’ stability—Aaron becomes desperate to find a way to cope with his psychological damage or even fake normalcy. Can his new shrink control his own demons long enough to treat Aaron, or will he only deepen the damage?
Desperate to understand his attraction for Spencer, Aaron holds on to his sanity with both hands as it threatens to spin out of control.
Aaron (Survivor Stories #1) Reviews
4.5 stars. Incredibly moving story of a traumatized young man who works through his demons and eventually finds some peace. The author is honest enough to end the story without fixing everything, which I appreciated. It is also nice that she recognizes that the majority of the book should focus on the process of survival, rather than the romance itself, given the brutality of the main character's issues. This is highly recommended.
I had the honor to read an early copy of this wonderful book.
Aaron is a broken young man, physically, spiritually and emotionally. He's the survivor of a vicious attack, the details of which are slowly revealed over the course of the book. He's frozen in time, uncertain if he even wants to live.
Then something happens that forces him out of his paralysis, and he dredges up the little courage he can find and dares to venture into the world again. Back to school.
I don't want to venture too far into the storyline, but he meets a young deaf man, Spencer, who challenges the vision of the future - or lack of vision - Aaron has resigned himself to.
This is a difficult book to read. It's moves me on a visceral level, and I struggle with wanting to help this young man and trying to imagine his pain. But damn it, it is so worth the journey. Ms. Barnaby knows how to touch us on a primal level while maintaining her own emotional distance, and it's a rare and beautiful feat.
This book will not be for everyone, and that's okay. But for those willing to step out without a net, it's worth the risk.
A well-written but rather slow story detailing Aaron's struggle to recover from the horrendous attack that left him scarred in body and mind and his friend Juliette raped and murdered. He finds a friend in Spencer who is deaf from birth.
He was terrified that one day he'd get trapped in his own head and never find his way back out again. His head was a fucking scary place to be.
Wow! I do not like angst, so I have been avoiding this book for awhile. I decided to dig in because it's BOM in the m/m romance group. I'm very impressed that the author was able to grab me from the very beginning and never lost me. I stayed up til 1 a.m. last night reading and finished it this morning. I really loved it. Despite the dark subject matter, I always felt really drawn to the characters. I think it was Spencer, who had a lighter storyline throughout, despite his deafness, that made Aaron's story more bearable. I loved seeing Aaron break through his shell for Spencer. The relationship was slowly developed over a period of time and it felt natural and not rushed.
I'd read in other comments about his mother's extreme reaction, and I feared she was going to be against Aaron and Spencer's gay relationship, and I was dreading that part. But that was not what happened. She was against Aaron's therapist and I felt that angst plot point did make sense to me and was satisfactorily resolved without unwarranted ridiculousness.
A full five stars from me--first, for making me love, and stay engaged with, an angsty book. But mostly for the excellent job the author did handling the plotline, the flow and the characters. I really ended up loving Aaron and Spencer and being very moved by their story.
4.75 stars worth of angst, hurt, romance, love, friendship and comfort.