Believing Rory, by S.C. Wynne
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: April 29, 2016
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Will Rory bring them together or stand between them?
Eighteen-year-old Lane Graham has always relied on his braver, more confident buddy, Rory. But Rory’s sudden suicide blindsides Lane and sends him into an emotional tailspin. How’s he supposed to start college in a few months feeling this damaged?
Baron MacDonald knew Rory from playing League of Legends together. He was always intrigued by Lane’s online presence, and Rory had promised to set them up. Now that Rory’s gone, Baron has to approach Lane on his own.
On the surface, Baron and Lane couldn’t seem more different. Baron is confident and serious, and Lane is guarded and uncertain. But it’s the pain beneath the flesh that binds these two souls together like barbed wire and cement.
Coming of Age
Themes of Suicide/Depression
Mentions of Rape
This was a tough one for me. Not the subject matter so much, although stories about suicide and depression aren’t exactly my go-to books. No, it was more the fact that I never really got a handle on who Lane and Baron really were. Maybe that was a deliberate decision on the author’s part because I got the sense that Lane and Baron were both figuring out who they were too; on the cusp of adulthood and evolving from the teens they once were to the adults they are about to become. And in the middle of all that, still having to deal with personal events that have changed them irrevocably.
Both MC’s have been personally traumatized by the time the story begins. Lane is trying to recover from his best friend Rory’ suicide days earlier and is wandering around in a fog of anger and betrayal as he tries to navigate his way through his first day back at school after Rory’s death. He’s feeling alone and lost because Rory was not only his friend, but his protector and had made sure Lane was okay after his own suicide attempt a few years earlier. When he runs into Baron at school, he has no idea that the handsome, popular student is hiding terrible secrets of his own. After meeting Baron unexpectedly at Rory’s funeral, Lane realizes that Baron knew Rory too and with that tenuous common thread, they begin to confide their secrets to each other, forming a friendship and the first blooms of romance. But as Lane gets to know Baron better, he learns that Baron is still dealing with legal ramifications of his own trauma and isn’t nearly as confident and unflappable as he appears to be. As things progress, Lane has to come to terms with the fact that he didn’t know Rory nearly as well as he thought he did and if he wants things to progress with Baron, he’ll need to move out from Rory’s shadow and be stronger than he thought possible.
I thought the topics presented in this book were dealt with sensitively and in a manner that a YA/NA audience could appreciate. The reason for Rory’s suicide is never mentioned and although that bothered me at first, I realized that this book was never about Rory or honoring the dead. This is a story of survival; of choosing to live even when circumstances make it difficult to do so. I really liked Lane’s anger towards Rory in the days and weeks after Rory’s suicide as it felt very real and is something many people feel but can’t always talk about when a loved one takes their own life.
I did find parts of Lane and Baron’s relationship a little angsty with those deliberate misunderstandings that lead to separation and eventual reconciliation, but it probably isn’t atypical of teen romances in general. But I did like the evolution of their romance and thought it was well done.
I found this to be an honest portrayal of two teens who are struggling to work through their relative issues and are learning to trust each other in order to move on from the past. Although I did find some parts of the story to be completely unrealistic (how many kids with access to private planes attend public schools?), it was decently done and contained relevant topics that should be talked about more openly.
“I never know what to say about myself,” S.C. Wynne says, “So writing an ‘About Me’ section is challenging. I love red wine and I’m obsessed with coffee. I haven’t won any awards for writing although I did win one for reading once. I’m not a world traveler…yet. The books I write are light and romantic with a healthy dollop of humor and just a dash of angst.”
The author goes on to say “I’m not curing cancer, but I do think reading stories that make us happy can’t help but improve our lives. I fall in love with every character I write and hopefully my readers will too.”
You can find S.C. on their website at http://www.sc-wynne.com/index.html
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.