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Posted November 24, 2013
A Package Deal by Mia Kerick is an intriguing read. Readers will be surprised by the premise she sets up, and then discover an out-of-the-box resolution for it at the end. I have always enjoyed the various permutations of troubled teen lives that the author has constructed in her past stories, and I find this one a resounding success: A Package Deal is a sweet story that moves the heart. To the rest of the world Robby Dalton has an enviable, upwardly-mobile life. He has all-American good looks, was an all-around accomplished athlete in high school and college, and now owns a small construction firm. But all that Robby really craved was his father's approval. This was why he let his father coach him in sports, choose his school, and generally walk all over him with a macho sort of prejudice that Robby endured because he was hoping for a 'great job, son' or 'I'm proud of you, boy!' that never really came. Then he met Savannah Meyers, and she intrigued him. To the rest of the world and Robby's eye, Savannah is an independent-minded, sexy, intelligent graduate student. But Savannah hides a lot of steel underneath her small frame and long blond curls. She has two consuming missions: to help troubled teens that ran away from home like she did, and to heal her dearest friend and roommate Tristan Chartrand, who rescued her from the streets and got her to an orphanage, only to suffer all the hardships of living in the street that he spared Savannah. She has decided that Robby is going to be a big part of her plans, and Robby has to choose whether he wants to endure the life he has in the hopes of pleasing his father, or whether he should make a life with two people who could really make him happy. I believe Ms. Kerick walks a fine line between opposing forces: the blessings of a wide audience, and the admiration of a committed audience. Her choice to focus on troubled men and the relationships they form, and to couch any sex in her books within the context of an established romantic relationship makes it hard to retain as audience those that crave scenes with shock value or frequent sensational and sexual encounters. She chooses to forgo gratuitous sex scenes and successfully makes up for the loss through good storytelling, A Package Deal being an excellent example. She sets up interesting characters: an accomplished young man who never took charge of his life and whose spirit is dormant, and two former runaways whose psyches are slightly broken but whose wills are indomitable, so long as they can stay together. MMF/menáge á trois assumptions could arise, but the author is too good a storyteller to cop out to just bedsport between two guys and a girl. She makes her characters face the scrutiny of the wider community's social norms, and then she draws her readers in by letting her characters buckle or reform. I certainly was drawn in - I thought it would be more a polyamorous dynamic, but Ms. Kerick surprised me as well. What won my admiration was how she managed to elevate the story to a sweet tale of survival - and with that she brought me over to her committed audience corner. I hope Ms. Kerick gets a chance for wide readership, so many more will discover A Package Deal is a story that touches the heart, and reading it will be an enjoyable experience. Recommended.
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Posted February 13, 2014
I love a really good romantic love story. It doesn't matter if it is hetero couples or not...what matters are the emotions involved. I have fallen in love with this author. Although this book was geared for older teens and young adults, this 40+ loved it. I enjoyed the characters, as I have encountered some truly broken people in my life and know that the pieces can be put together.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 17, 2014
The characters were like cardboard cutouts. There were unbelievably swift changes (helpless/independent) and some of the characters were ridiculously one-dimensional. I was disappointed and won't read another book by this author.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 23, 2013
The vast majority of Young Adult novels deal with the theme of coming of age. A Package Deal, written by Mia Kerick for older teens and twenty-somethings, is a sensitive, layered exploration of that journey. Growing up is hard to do, even in the best of circumstances.
And Robby Dalton appears to have the best of circumstances: he is handsome, the son of a successful stockbroker, and was an all-around high school and college athlete. At 26, Robby is already a successful business owner, working with Mickey DeSalvo, his pugnacious best friend from childhood. But appearances are deceiving; for all that Robby is and has, he has never once received approval from his overbearing father, and consequentially, rarely did anything he truly wanted to do.
When he meets attractive graduate student Savannah Meyers, who in turn introduces him to her best friend and roommate, Tristan Chartrand, Robby is initially unprepared for her unconventional relationship proposal. It's unconventional for a reason: Savannah and Tristan grew up in much less-than-ideal circumstances, both runaways having lived on the streets. As young adults, they are now bound by their common past. Their gifts and debts to each other are inextricably entwined in an intense relationship that could benefit from some changes. With Savannah and Tristan, Robby eventually secures the home he never had, and it is up to him to find a way to keep it.
Being in relationship, psychologists say, is one of the best ways to grow. By influencing each other, Robby, Savannah and Tristan each begin to heal in their own way and pace. Robby mentors Tristan through sports; Savannah acts as a catalyst for Robby's growth; and Tristan models integrity and kindness to everyone he meets. In the end, what matters is the essential human task of of growing up, by letting go of the past and living into real selfhood. How Robby, Savannah, and Tristan get there is the substance of this unpretentious novel that begins with attitude and ends in grace.
A Package Deal unfolds its secrets with compassion and subtlety, and is best savored slowly. Most of the story is told through Robby and Tristan's point of view, and only rarely do we hear from Savannah, reflecting her cagey persona throughout the novel. The story's other characters, some seeming a tad one-dimensional for my taste, extend the story's lessons with wisdom and heart. Follow your own rules, and "let your heart be in charge," Savannah says, and I agree. Highly recommended.
Posted December 15, 2013
A package deal is a raw, emotional story of sexuality and acceptance between three young adults coming to terms with their own internal struggles and perceptions of how to love and be loved. Mia Kerick weaves a compelling, introspective story that seamlessly moves the reader from the mindframe of each of the main characters point of view so as to allow the reader to experience first-hand those secret, instinctual thoughts we all have in the dark recess of our mind; the quiet, never-ending commentary of uncertainty, hope, fear, and realization all jumbled together with no clear starting point from which to work from. The main character in this romantic novel is Robby Dalton, a 20-something young, good-looking athletic guy who owns his own small construction firm in the Boston area. It's actually through a construction contract job at a small off-campus university diner where he meets Savannah Meyers, a strikingly beautiful grad student who frequents the diner with enough regularity that Robby finds himself predicting her arrival lately so as to continue the friendly banter they seem to enjoy. Finally after agreeing to a first date, at the same diner no less, Robby finds himself sitting politely with Savannah all the while quietly contemplating going through the motions of yet another unfulfilling romp with the next woman in line to experience what has been regarded as cold, emotionless Dalton - for even he doesn't understand his lack of enthusiasm for being in a womans company. Then in enters Tristan Chartrand who commands Robby's (and everyone elses) attention rather quickly with his stunning good looks. So primal is Robby's reaction that he suddenly finds himself flooded with all kinds of stirring emotions and thoughts he has never before experienced--and towards a man. Robby was slowly processing all this as gorgeous man made his way to their table and warmly greeted Savanah... his roommate, then turned and locked eyes w/ Robby and as both men longingly started at each other, the desire and connection they both felt towards each other was unmistakable and a little fearful. Savanah's plans to creating a gentle and loving triad seems to be off to a good start. As in any romantic story, there are obstacles and expectations that are to be dealt with, forcing some potentially painful situations to be addressed head-on, mainly Robby's over-demanding father and his rude, sex-crazed business associate. Though much of the conflict is internal as Robby slowly comes to acknowledge for the first time ever that perhaps he is gay. The story tenderly unfolds to reveal how this trio form a uniquely loving relationship beyond the confines and expectations of a stereotypically traditional heterosexual couple, which describes Robby's parent's and almost everyone else he associates with. Though it's that first encounter with Tristan that spiraled the love game for Robby into a tangled web of uncertainty and mixed expectations, yet at the same time, one of deep-down realization and unyielding desire. It's an emotional roller coaster ride for this threesome as they navigate their visceral feelings not just towards one another, but also within themselves throughout this personal, poignant journey of self discovery that is all openly and intimately shared with the reading audience. It was quite an enjoyable read to experience the highs and lows of love-at-first-sight and witnessing the personal behind-the-scenes aspects of falling in love. HeartwarminWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2013
This is my first exposure to Mia Kerick's writing, and A Package Deal has me hoping for more good things from this promising author. What a surprisingly engaging story! It centers on three very different people: Robby Dalton, a good looking all-American boy raised in a loving family with some dysfunctional relationships; and runaways Savannah Meyers and Tristan Chartrand, both of whom managed to escape really screwed up families and situations. Savannah ran away when she was 12 from her mother's lackadaisical parenting and the creepy advances of her mother's abusive boyfriend. Tristan was repeatedly being molested by an uncle when he finally ran away and was already living in the streets when he met Savannah. He managed to get Savannah to an orphanage at great personal sacrifice to himself, and continued to live on the streets after seeing her off. By the time Robby Dalton meets them, Savannah is a sexy, intelligent grad student studying Counseling and helping troubled teenagers like she once was. After aging out of foster care, she tracked down Tristan, and they now live together. Robby is drawn to Savannah's intelligence, but further, is stunned to discover that he is increasingly attracted to Tristan. Robby tries to stick to the accepted norm and date Savannah, but because she insists Robby deal with her and Tristan both, Robby needs to unravel his feelings and desires for this attractive close-knit pair. Despite the opportunity for this to turn into some flavor of a "Dear Penthouse" letter, with a series of MMF sexual romps, A Package Deal is actually much more of a tender love story that the author pulls off rather deftly. She does it with an easygoing writing style that makes the story flow, and characters that are easy to feel strongly about, whether liking or disliking them. Savannah comes across as a someone lots of men would fall for, combining intelligence and sexiness into one hot package. Another character, Mikey DeSalvo, Robby Dalton's supposed best friend, reminds me of some of the idiotic jock types from my youth. An engaging plot and good story pacing kept me entertained throughout, and A Package Deal is a fascinating read, which made for an overall enjoyable experience. A recommended read!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 8, 2013
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Posted December 30, 2013
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Posted November 7, 2013
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