Anthony, by J.P. Barnaby
Series: A Survivor Story, Book #4
Release Date: June 27, 2016
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Aaron Downing worshiped his mother. She saved his life. She did everything for him. But Anthony Downing has a different perspective. He sees the woman who tossed him into a basement for eight long years and forgot he existed. When Anthony decides he’s done being invisible, he packs up and heads for Detroit to stay with his Internet friend Jay, but fate intervenes.
Brendan Mears lost everything the day the man with a gun came into his father’s store. Now, he’s tethered to a business he can’t manage and a brother who resents him.
Different in all the ways that matter, Anthony and Brendan struggle to overcome their psychological obstacles, until a crushing betrayal sends them running for cover and each other.
I’d been waiting for this book for what seemed like a really long time. Since reading Aaron, really. During Aaron’s story, it was apparent to me that there were problems in the Downing household. Mostly, issues with how to cope as a family, and as individuals. When tragedy strikes, it’s not just the person hurt or harmed that goes through the pain. There’s a different pain that loved ones have to deal with: the pain of seeing someone you love hurting, and not dealing well. The pain of everything being focused on the other person, often leaving others alone. I worried for Aaron’s siblings. These kids had to deal with the horrible truth that their brother was hurt, but also that he’s still hurting. He’s still lost inside his head of nightmares. The path out for Aaron was not easy. The path for his brothers was almost just as bad.
The pain that Anthony goes through is terrible. This is a boy, who at a very young age, had his brother taken, hurt horribly, and then he got him back only to suffer more. While nightmares moved Aaron’s brothers to the basement so they could get some fort of peace, it had the opposite effect. It was not as bad for Allen. He is the oldest of the brothers, at a more mature place in his life. The struggle was not as bad for him because he didn’t have his own horrors, his own fears. Anthony was not so lucky.
The story surrounds Anthony, lost and alone, sad and hurt, neglected and unseen. I can’t imagine what he went through while Aaron was living at home. But after Aaron moved out, it was still the same. Nothing really changes. His parents still don’t really see him. See the problems he’s having. Sadly, there comes a breaking point in any person. That point for Anthony has him leaving home just before his 18th birthday.
The people Anthony meets, thankfully, are so amazing. The relationships he builds will forever change him. As he learns about true friendships, he learns about himself. There is so much to worry about with Anthony. Despite his age, he’s still so young and naive. He doesn’t know the ways of the world, and he’s confused about so many things. Bren and Patrick, later Sean, Jeff and Chris, they show Anthony that there is more out there. They open his eyes to something better. He’s just got to reach out and grab it.
There is a lot of tension in the story. At times I felt like it was going in an awful and scary direction. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Still, I felt like there was a little something missing from this book that the others in this series had. Maybe it was more emotion that I was looking for. More connection. It felt like Anthony didn’t spend enough time with Bren to have the connection they did. Little things that I can’t put my finger on, but were tangible enough for me to notice. The ending also feels a bit open. There is mention of other issues in the family that aren’t really dealt with. There’s an abruptness to it.
Anthony’s story is still really good. There is light around the bend for this kid. I can see he’s going to be okay, and that’s all I ever really wanted for him. That’s all I want for all of them. Aaron and Spencer, and not Anthony and Bren.
JP Barnaby, an award-winning gay romance novelist, is the author of over two dozen books, including Aaron and the Little Boy Lost Series. She recently moved from Chicago to Atlanta to appease her Camaro who didn’t like the blustery winters. JP specializes in recovery romance, but slips in a few erotic or comedic stories to spice things up. When she’s not hanging out with hot guys in leather, she binge watches superheroes and crime dramas on Netflix. A physics geek, she likes the science side of Sci-Fi, and wants to grow up to be Reed Richards.
You can learn more about JP at her website: JP Barnaby
You can purchase Anthony from:
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble
I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.