Reviewed by JustJen
Title: Violence Begets…
Author: P.T. Denys
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 284 Pages
Publisher: P.T. Denys
Release Date: December 22, 2013
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: After a tragic accident devastates his family, 16-year-old Rick St. James starts his junior year of high school alone in a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. When he meets Kevin Vincent, he’s too distracted by the promise of new friends to see that Kevin has secrets of his own.
Having created an environment where he’s feared and admired by his classmates, Kevin finds pleasure in using his good looks and violence to control and manipulate those around him. Secretly, he cruises the gay club scene, turning tricks to earn money so he can party and get high.
As Rick’s dad becomes increasingly violent and abusive at home, the two form a surprising and volatile trust. In this battle of wills, their precarious friendship will either keep their lives from blowing up around them or possibly light the fuse that will cause the explosion.
Review: Wow. I’m not even sure where to start on this one. I’ve had it on my TBR for a really long time, and although I’ve really wanted to read it, in fact, had many friends tell me I needed to read it, something kept keeping me from doing so. Maybe it is the YA aspect which I normally steer clear from. Another nudge and other circumstances making it possible, I dove in, and it didn’t take long for me to be glad I did.
This is an extremely intense, very violent and emotional story. From the tags, you’re probably thinking, why on earth would I want to read something that sounds so dark and depressing? Well, if you like reading about damaged characters and watching them endure and overcome, this one has it all.
First, we have Rick. He is devastated by the death of his brother (for which he blames himself), as well as the loss of his mom at his birth (for which he blames himself). If that isn’t bad enough, his father blames and has blamed him for these things as well. So, setting the current tragedy aside, Rick has been feeling no love from his dad for a very long time. Things don’t escalate though until a few years after his brother’s death. And when they do, they go bad pretty quick.
In the meantime, he is now in a new school, having to make new friends, etc., seemingly alone in the world. But then there is Kevin, who befriends him. Kevin is a whole nother story. On the outside, he is a bully. He manipulates all those around him to serve his own purposes. He keeps his small clan in line by providing drugs, parties, etc. and by pushing them around. He controls every situation from minute details to long term projects. Rick has become one of his long-term projects. He first sees Rick as an easy target to manipulate and bring into his small group of followers.
But, there is much more to Kevin than meets the eye, or that he lets others see. He hides a lot of things from everyone. His father makes Rick’s look like Mr. Rogers. Being in control of everything has enabled Kevin to mentally and physically deal with everything his father dishes out. But circumstances bring Rick and Kevin together in ways Kevin never saw coming. Ways that make him change his plans for Rick more than once. As bad as it all seems, you can easily see it is all about self-preservation for Kevin. Much like Rick, he has not had anyone who actually cared about him for a very long time.
There is a whole side issue going on with these two in that Rick not only doesn’t believe he can possibly be gay, but he is actually repulsed by the idea. Again, circumstances throw these two together. Physical feelings take over, emotional feelings cannot help but grow, no matter how much either one fights against them.
It is amazing how people only see what they want to see. How easy it can be to fall into the same roles of those from whom you are trying to escape. Many times things were very close, but these guys pulled each other through.
“Violence only begets violence when we allow it to. We always have a choice.“
There is really so much to this story that goes deeper, but suffice to say, I was riveted to every word. I was turning page after page, waiting for the shoe to drop, but not being able to slow or put it down. The dialog, the imagery, and overall intense emotional feel throughout were simply magnificent. I absolutely love a story that can make me feel, and this one certainly delivered.
I will warn that these guys do not ride off into the sunset singing Kumbayah. But, I was left feeling oddly satisfied and at peace with the way things turned out. I realize I’m a little late to this party, but is this really P.T. Denys’ only book? Why aren’t there more? There needs to be more if this is any indication, and I really hope to see some in the future.
Overall Impression: It was amazing
*I purchased my own, personal copy of this book for review.*