Sarah O’Brien is alive because of the pact she and her brother made twelve years ago — James will protect her from their violent father if she promises to never leave him. For years, she’s watched James destroy his life to save hers. If all he asks for in return is her affection, she’ll give it freely.
Until, with a tiny kiss and a broken mind, he asks for more than she can give.
Sam Donavon has been James’ best friend — and the boy Sarah’s had a crush on — for as long as she can remember. As their forbidden relationship deepens, Sarah knows she’s in trouble. Quiet, serious Sam has decided he’s going to save her. Neither of them realizes James is far more unstable than her father ever was, or that he’s not about to let Sarah forget her half of the pact.
***I received this book in exchange for my honest review.***
This is the type of book that is not necessarily for the faint of heart. This is the first YA book that I have read that deals with possible incest, but Avelynn tackles this subject beautifully.
Sarah and James have had a hard life. It's not even possible to comprehend the extent the abuse has had on them in the beginning of the book. When we meet Sarah, she is convinced that the best course of action for her is to be invisible in all areas of her life. James is her brother, her protector, and the one person she trusts. She is perfectly fine with letting him make decisions for her and to do what he thinks is best, that is until Sam finally works up the nerve to talk to her.
Sam melts my heart. He is so caring, gentle, and kind. He is everything Sarah needs in life, even if she isn't at a point where she can recognize that yet. He has an understanding of what is happening with their father, but he quickly becomes suspicious of how possessive James is of Sarah. Try as he might and as much as he loves Sarah, she is determined to stay with James no matter what. James has seen to it that Sarah feels extreme guilt whenever she even thinks about a life of her own.
James is very complex. I think it is important to remember while reading the book that he is also a victim. He has been putting himself in front of the abuse to save Sarah for most of his life. While I admire all he did to protect his little sister, somehow he went from protecting her and loving her life a brother should, to trying to cross a line that will only hurt himself and Sarah. He quickly starts barreling down a dark path filled with violence and makes some horrible decisions.
Sarah is a total sweetheart and my heart goes out for all she has suffered. I just kept wishing that she could see what was going on with James. His idea of what Sarah was to him was quickly becoming warped, but I don't think she could have stopped it from happening. James was beginning to unravel and only professional help could have stopped his downward decent. Sam was so right and it isn't until the end of everything that she begins to understand that she can be strong without her brother, she should be allowed to follow her own dreams, and that she has placed her trust in the hands of the wrong person.
I understand why the book ended the way it did. It needed to happen. It made the book more complete, but how I wished it could have ended differently. Needless to say I was shocked. It was such an emotional ending that it stuck with me the rest of the day. I will not be forgetting about this book for a long time to come.
My Rating: 5 Stars!
About the Author:
Kate Avelynn lives in Central Oregon with her husband, whom she fell in love with at eighteen after realizing he shared her obsession with music, sports, and psychoanalysis. When not devouring Stephanie Perkins and Jennifer Echols novels, holding down her editing gig, or attempting to coax life out of the weed patch she calls a "garden," Kate writes dark, young adult romance that blends first love, betrayal, and danger. Flawed is her debut novel.
Links to Buy: