A Broken Kind of Life is the YA edition of J.P. Barnaby's Aaron. As a fan of YA, I am always looking for amazing YA novels to read. There are very few of those novels that I believe can make a difference, but this is definitely one of the ones that can. A Broken Kind of Life is the perfect title for the book, it's very fitting to the story and the character of Aaron, himself.
Aaron is a shell of his former self. After surviving a horrifically violent attack that claimed the life of his best friend, he is broken. His life is no longer the same as it once was. He doesn't have any friends left, and his life is slipping past him. He has a lot of issues to deal with. And a fear of touching that causes flashbacks. All around him, people are treating him like he is made of glass. They are too afraid to say something wrong in case he reacts badly. The sad thing is, he would react badly, and he knows this.
When he starts college, Aaron meets Spencer, a deaf boy who also finds it hard to make friends. While Spencer knows what it's like to be an outcast, he doesn't completely understand what Aaron is going through. But he wants to. He wants to help Aaron. In my opinion, Spencer was just what Aaron needs, he's someone who can get through to the damaged, broken boy.
Both boys are different characters. Aaron is broke, Spencer isn't, but his life isn't perfect either. They complement each other as friends. It's how they start really, as friends. Their relationship builds pretty quickly into the friends category. But neither knows the other is gay - or that the other has feelings for him. So, things stay purely platonic and Spencer enlists his dad to help Aaron. Something that Aaron hides from his parents.
I love the feel of the books. The boys emotions were there. This book isn't devoid of emotion like some books can be. The progression from friends to boyfriends is done really well. The pace isn't too fast and it isn't too slow. The relationship they build isn't about sex, it's about real emotion and something that can't be defined by sex. I love that about the book. It's nice to see teenage characters who develop real feelings for their love interest before something actually happens.
A Broken Kind of Life is a wonderful YA novel that can - and should - be read by all ages. It tells the story of a survivor and the beginning of his recovery. It's not sunshine and roses, but it's not doom and gloom, either. I highly recommend this book to people, even if you aren't a fan of YA romances, you should try this.