Boy Shattered, Eli Easton

Boy Shattered by [Easton, Eli]

A tragedy beyond comprehension visits The Wall.  The survivors are left to wonder all the hard questions that don't really have answers.  For Brian Marshall, the old version of himself died and the new version is still just as afraid, but of more than just discovery.  The shooters weren't caught.  His lifeline both literally and figuratively was Landon, the proud and out gay boy in school he's always admired.  As they become closer while trying to make sense of the madness and grief they each find more: their calling, their fears, and love.  But if they can't find a way to reconcile it all they'll find themselves, and their relationship, in the crosshairs of an enemy that hasn't finished delivering their message.

While some of the side characters felt more like place-holders or just a side-note to fill in some gaps around the growing relationship between Brian and Landon and the surrounding drama, it was clear that we were meant to focus solely on those two things.  The political motivations and stances included in the story were there but I felt they were more of a tool rather than a statement for the author.  Not to say there weren't some clear statements in there, just that they were more used as a tool for the characters than a soapbox for the author.

As for the MC's themselves, I was drawn to Brian more than Landon.  Maybe because he had such pain inside and had a harder time dealing with it.  Maybe because of his evolution as an individual.  Mostly I think it's because of a combination of those two things with his drive to get answers, to make sense of what happened in order to bring justice.  Landon was a good partner for him, someone who could look beyond the facade and into who Brian is and is meant to become.  As for his advocacy, that was just kind of a part of his character.  We saw a lot of the results of his activism but not a lot of the steps in-between like we got with Brian's investigation.

Those poems.  Those poems!  Those poems hurt my soul!  Some a good pain, some not, but they each produced some kind of ache in me.  This is probably another reason I felt so strongly for Brian.  To have been the quintessential All-American boy but to have words like that coming from inside him was a wonderful surprise.

The who-dunnit was slightly surprising in a good way.  Meaning that I was glad it didn't play out exactly like I assumed it would after meeting all the characters.  I did think the whole resolution was a bit rushed and not just because of the urgency of the situation, but that there wasn't enough settling at the end for all the changes in various characters and everyone's interactions.  By the end there was hope for Brian and Landon's futures as individuals as well as a couple.  I do wish there had been more therapy as well as compromise or discussion between them regarding fears and goals and how they could meld them together to move forward.  But despite all that, I was moved by the story, the poems, and the characters' evolution.  Through tragedy they found one another, their career goals, and a true acceptance of self.

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