Reviewed by Nikyta
Title: Unicorns and Rainbow Poop
Author: Sam Kadence
Series: Vocal Growth #2
Genre: M/M Contemporary/Young Adult
Length: 260 pages
Publisher: Harmony Ink
Release Date: November 6, 2014
Available at: Dreamspinner Press, Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Ex-boyband member Dane Karlson is struggling to overcome an eating disorder and a body dismorphic disorder. His fall through a glass table puts him in rehab and on the road to recovery. Then a friend dies. When depression causes him to lose ground, he calls for the only person he trusts—former bandmate Tommy. But Tommy doesn’t know how to help. He begs his friend Sebastian “Bas” Axelrod to aid them through the emotional struggle.
Bas, an openly gay high school student who’s recently lost his grandmother, is trying to survive his last few months of school before escaping to Stanford. Having just lost the only person in his family to care for him, he is victim to the cruelty of the others. His younger brother bullies him, and his parents are suing him for his gran’s inheritance. When Tommy calls, Bas can’t help but run to his side.
Together Dane and Bas find a middle ground, supporting each other through the lows, dancing together during the highs. They build friendships and plan for the prom and graduation, thinking positively as long as they are together.
Dane hates food and has always had an eating disorder and body dismorphic disorder but when he gets injured after not eating for a few days, he knows it’s time to get help. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be working all too well so he calls his former bandmate, Tommy, for some support. But when Tommy’s unsure on how to help Dane, he asks Bas to come help out. Bas and Dane get off to a rocky start, causing some hateful words to be spoken but it’s not long before Dane realizes he’s hurting more than himself now.
Determined to get better and become less of a burden, he moves to another rehab facility in Minnesota to be closer to his ex-bandmates and if that brings him closer to Bas, even better. Spending more and more time with Bas, Dane starts to question everything but he’s also starting to accept himself and food. What starts as a friendship slowly turns into something more even if both Bas and Dane have their issues. With blows coming at them from all angles, can these boys get through it all and find a little happiness in each other?
This was such a sweet story. I loved the fact that it deals with body issues in guys. Dane is very emotionally damaged to the point of associating food with the abuse of his past. He’s broken mentally, spiritually and physically. He’s a shell of his former self but has a lot of mental demons that cause him to think he’s ugly and fat even though he’s underweight and malnourished. Bas’ issues revolve more around depression and anxiety but stem from being disowned by his parents, raped and left for dead. However, while they both have problems, they deal with them in their own way. Dane’s way of handling his issues only cause him more problems while Bas’ pushes him to be a better person. That drive is what causes Bas to help Dane even when Dane is the biggest asshole to him.
They start as friends by Bas showing Dane that he’ll always be there for him. I loved them together because Bas understood Dane but also because Dane felt so comfortable with Bas that he trusted Bas not trick him into eating things he wouldn’t like. More than anything, though, I liked that they didn’t rush into a relationship. Part of their hesitance is that Dane was ingrained to believe men don’t do this or that or that being with your own sex is wrong. They work through that but even still, Dane isn’t sure if he’s gay and Bas worries that Dane is only with him out of convenience. They have a lot to work through before they reach a point where they’re both on the same page but when that moment finally came, it was absolutely beautiful.
I really enjoyed this one but my biggest issue was the numerous conflicts. I felt like there was just too many issues going around especially since most of them would get resolved in easy ways then have another conflict pop up and get resolved a short time later. Obviously, there’s Dane’s body dismorphic disorder and Bas’ own depression that are the main conflicts but then there’s also Bas grieving his grandmother dying, his family suing him for his inheritance, Bas’ brother Eddy and his abuse, the vandalism, Bas’ school blaming him for the abuse on him, the whole Marissa situation and a few other conflicts that were easily resolved but that I felt cluttered the overall story to the point that, towards the end, the story started to drag for me. Add to that, the ending leaves the reader left hanging and wondering if Tommy is okay or if something horrible is about to happen.
All in all, though, I really liked this one. I adored both Bas and Dane. They’re simplistic characters that have a world of issues but they lean on each other and learn to accept their friends’ help to get through them. I liked the fact that the author explored guys having eating disorders and body dismorphic disorders because you don’t read a lot about that happening in males but I also enjoyed seeing how having a steady support of friends can dramatically increase one’s healing. I’m hoping the next book is about Tommy (and Paige!) because now I’m very eager to see what happens to him!
Overall Impression: I really liked it!
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*