Monday, 23 March 2015
Review: Jem by Michelle Abbott
Publication Date: 1st March 2015
Two injured, stubborn souls meet unexpectedly. Will they save each other from their demons or have they been too damaged for too long to see past the pain?
Growing up, all Jem knew was hatred and the pain from his father's fists. Taunted by the kids at school, he was alone, until a girl with carrot coloured hair sat next to him.
She was his angel, and he knew he’d love her forever. But Jem’s father hurts him in a way he never expected by taking him away from her.
Now eighteen, scarred inside and out, Jem trusts no one and has worked hard to ensure he'll never be helpless again. But then he runs into his angel. The only problem is she doesn’t recognize him. Jem needs her to remember him, to show him that their time together meant to her what it did to him. For once in his life he wants to have mattered to someone, to her.
Devon is attracted to the muscular, tattooed, pierced hottie standing by the pub quiz machine. That is, until he punches a guy clean across the bar for daring to touch him. She’s had her fill of violent men and intends to avoid this one at all costs.
My Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Minor spoilers ahead!
I loved the cover for this book and I loved the synopsis for this book, however, this lust at first sight did not convert into a love for the actual story and saying that makes me incredibly sad as I wanted to love this book but I couldn't. In the end, I can just about about say that I liked it but there were just too many issues to get past to really enjoy it.
The book starts off strong with a sweet and incredibly heartbreaking glimpse into the past where we see Jem and his Angel - Devon - as children.
The book then jumps 14 years into the future and takes a downward slide.
I couldn't connect or like 18 year old Jem. He was too angry, too unreasonable, too irrational, too needy and unreasonably violent. Not violent towards Devon, or her son, but he was to quick to turn to violence in every other respect and that just wasn't appealing.
I couldn't connect - thus really like - with Devon. Her choices were incomprehensible to me, she was irrational, inconsistent, judgemental and generally ridiculous.
For example, she flee's a horribly abusive relationship and at the first mention that the ex is trying to get himself sorted she gives away her location and welcomes him back, platonically - for the sake of her son of course... Only for the guy to go psycho within a couple of hours as you knew he would!
Plus, she is attracted to Jem, who she calls "the violent guy" for a good chunk of the book! No matter how hot a guy is, if you've left an abusive relationship, you are not going to want to start a new relationship with a "violent guy" even if he is never violent towards you.
The secondary characters in the book weren't all that likeable either. Devon's neighbours started off ok but then they went down the cray cray over dramatic pipe pretty quickly.
The book incorporates some pretty big social issues between the main and secondary characters.: domestic abuse, child abuse (physical, emotional and sexual), self harm and homophobia However, it ghosts over them. They are thrown in there to explain the crap choices and "issues" of the characters - to make their issues seem ok, to elicit sympathy in the reader - but they aren't actually looked at in depth and to be perfectly blunt there was just too much misery and bullshit.
The sweet childhood soul-mates to lovers fix all was just too big a happy pill to swallow.
In the end, I didn't hate it but its not something I'm ever likely to read again and not something I can really recommend unless you LIKE characters that have more issues than a self-help section.
On a positive note, I've read a lot worse. This book had a story, it just turns out it wasn't a story for me, and it was well put together and edited. It was also on the shorter side of a full length novel so was a quick read.
(Review copy received from author in exchange of an honest review)