Title: Grayson( A Bully Novel 1) Word Count:315pgs Genre:Contemporary Gay Romance
Blurb:Ten years ago…
A month and a half ago, I made a choice.
A choice that nearly cost me everything:
my friends, my family, my life.
Who knew that choice would nearly cost me my future?
A month and a half ago, I made a choice.
I chose to turn my hell into someone else’s.
I nearly ruined someone’s life because I couldn’t handle my own.
Who knew that choice would threaten my future?
Ten Years Later…
Grayson Michaels made that fateful decision as a teenager, he’s determined to not let the past define him. Control him. Bind him. Vulnerability is not an option. When his demons surface in the form of Finn Abbott, Grayson learns that everything isn’t as it seems.
Finn Abbott is trying to put his life back together. Divorce, house arrest, and a slew of lovers have only caused his life to spiral out of control. But a job offer comes along and everything seems to be back on track. That is until the ghost of a scorned boy returns in the form of a vengeful man.
Fate is a fickle friend. Questions need answered and debts need repaid. What happens when past and present collide? Can two people destined to be enemies find love instead? As they say, there’s a fine line between love and hate.
My Review: It is a well known fact that bullying is on the rise in the 21st century. It is made even more prominent with cyber bullying becoming increasingly popular. For every case that we here about and all the young lives that have been lost because of discrimination, small- mindedness and vitriolic attacks which ultimately leads to self-hatred for these poor victims, my heart goes out to them.
Grayson’s story touches me to the core. Sixteen year old Grayson knows he is gay, he is proud but doesn’t flaunt it. He has a family who loves him to pieces, he has two best friends who care . Grayson has just entered into a budding romance with his boyfriend Logan that has the potential of blossoming into something beautiful. Grayson is a true artist who sees an underlying beauty in most things. Herein lies the problem, he does a painting for his school art project where he highlights one of the popular jocks Finn as his idol. The jocks take offense to this and start targeting Grayson every chance they get. It soon becomes clear that the homophobic Finn has something to hide, he has secret desires that he cannot allow his friends to see. After he beats Grayson up, he kisses him in an unwarranted moment of passion. It is sad to see how Grayson withers under the pressure of the attacks and become a shell of his former self. At first he tries to hide it from his family and friends, but they soon become involved when the jocks start cyber bullying him through his Facebook account. Grayson is tormented and his self worth is being depleted from the physical and emotional abuse that he is enduring. Only his boyfriend Logan knows that Grayson has started self -harming by cutting. He urges him to stop and for awhile Grayson tries to do better for his family. However, the pain becomes too overwhelming when he sees how worried everyone is about his situation. Grayson decides to take himself out of the equation and makes the decision to commit suicide.
Fast forward ten years,we are reintroduced to Finn who has led a very messy life. He has just signed his divorce papers after being caught cheating with a man. All those hidden desires culminated into many different affairs with many different men over the years. Although we could say he is a sleaze ball, he has a backstory that sheds some light on the situation during his teenage years . Finn grew up with a homophobic father who started beating him from the age of 5 when he asked for Barbie dolls. It took him awhile , but he learned to repress his true self and in turn took out all his rage and pain on poor Grayson who had put a spotlight on him and almost expose to the world that forbidden self. It certainly sheds some light on why Finn is the way he is. However, he is trying put his life back together. He has just landed a job to do the advertising for a tech firm. It is clear to see that he is very talented and soon he becomes an office favorite. The manager quickly signs him up to go to a tech convention with the boss for two weeks.
It is very surprising for everyone when the boss who turns out to be none other than Grayson flips out on Finn. Finn is definitely ashamed when he sees the boy who he tormented so many years ago. He is also elated to see that Grayson is alive and well even though the man in question is pulsating with anger. Grayson is almost to the point of having a meltdown so he calls reinforcements in the form of his family and friends. His support team is very strong, his two best friends who are now married to each other, his ex Logan who is still a close friend , his mother and his uncle. It is obvious that he has flourished since his failed suicide attempt.
It is great to see how confident Grayson has become and in the next few weeks he gets his revenge on Finn by making him his errand / whipping boy. This doesn’t really make him feel good about himself though. He quickly realizes that He still has an unrequited crush on Finn and this mortified him. He just can’t believe he would feel anything besides hatred for Finn. It also causes the reader to feel empathy for poor Finn who is also a victim of his own horrific childhood.
Things come to a head when they head out on their trip. They get caught in a snowstorm where they meet in an accident. They end up taking refuge from the storm in a cabin. It is there that Finn purges his soul and unburdens himself to Grayson. As much as Grayson would like to remain rigid, it is obvious that Finn has paid in his own way for his sins. He sees the scared little boy within Finn. Grayson decides to give the feelings that are peaking through between them a chance to grow. Their relationship is challenging especially when they get back to the real world where Grayson’s family is afraid of him getting hurt again. They realize that they have to set aside outside views and opinions and focus on what they feel towards each other. This was enlightening and shows the true spirit of forgiveness. I give this my ratings of 4- because we all have redeeming qualities no matter the mistakes we make in our past. There is nothing too big for true love to overcome.