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As a musician at the popular college café Coed Joe’s, high school senior Kai Manter is never lacking for male attention. Out, proud, free-spirited, and sexually aware, Kai sets his sights on his darkly Gothic and undeniably bad-tempered coworker, Jamie Arlotta, a freshman at the local arts university. Sporting long hair and alluring hippie style, Kai expects his interest will be reciprocated, with satisfying sex as the end goal. That’s what usually happens. But Jamie’s lessons in life have been harsher. Having ...
As a musician at the popular college café Coed Joe’s, high school senior Kai Manter is never lacking for male attention. Out, proud, free-spirited, and sexually aware, Kai sets his sights on his darkly Gothic and undeniably bad-tempered coworker, Jamie Arlotta, a freshman at the local arts university. Sporting long hair and alluring hippie style, Kai expects his interest will be reciprocated, with satisfying sex as the end goal. That’s what usually happens. But Jamie’s lessons in life have been harsher. Having been sexually abused by his older stepbrother for several years, Jamie has grown an impenetrable outer shell meant to keep the world at a safe distance.
Kai is angry at first when he takes the brunt of Jamie’s bad temper, but after Kai accidentally discovers the abuse Jamie has suffered, he wants to fix things. Kai’s plan is based on what he knows best—music—and he stages a “musical intervention” to let Jamie know he’s not alone and things can get better. When Jamie’s perspective changes and he emerges from his shell, Kai changes, too, gaining a whole new understanding of what sex can be when love is there too.
Posted October 29, 2013
I've read and enjoyed Mia Kerick's novels before, so I eagerly picked up Intervention with a certain set of expectations. Not only did she surpass them, but I was also pleasantly surprised to find out it was for a younger audience. She treated the characters' ordeal with such understanding tenderness and formed her protagonists with an endearing sensitivity that even readers of adult gay fiction would have resonated with - it didn't matter that this was for a more tween demographic, it was a great read regardless! I am amazed at how deftly Mia Kerick manages to incorporate a main character suffering from repeated sexual abuse into a YA novel and get the character to the end of the story without compromising her younger audience or dumbing down the story. I had mentioned I was not aware of the intended demographic for Intervention until I started writing this review - I think however that even in an adult fiction her character Jamie would have fit in just fine. To me that proves Mia Kerick is an expert in creating damaged characters that strive for better than the treatment they got. The interesting premise to me in this story is that Ms. Kerick paired her broken protagonist with a polar opposite. Despite an onset of hormones peaking, Kai actually seems like a really sweet guy, and his elder brother Charlie (Chuck as Kai calls him) sounds the complete opposite of Jamie's stepbrother. That pairing helped diffuse the gritty ugliness of Jamie's suffering - with the story's point of view entirely Kai's, he could guess but not clearly conceive what Jamie went through, and his efforts to help are generous and caring, making Jamie's ordeal palatable to the younger audience and endearing both characters to the reader. The other unexpected delight that surprised me was my reaction to the list of songs Kai would sing at Coed Joe's to reach Jaime - with just the titles of songs, or just describing the gist of a song's message as it related to Jamie's plight, the author moved me and helped me imagine how Kai managed to get through to Jamie. There was a point in the story when Kai was actually making inroads helping Jamie with his predicament that Jamie hit a bad setback, and emotionally 'slammed the door' on Kai's help and good intentions. The songs Kai sang as described by the author had my eyes welling up and reaching for the tissues - I probably let out a sob or two by the time he finished and I laughed at myself for being moved so. Of course I recommend this book to the intended YA audience! I would even recommend it to all other readers of various demographics who enjoy contemporary romances. A character-driven story with endearing protagonists, Intervention helped me see the widening range of troubled teens Ms. Kerick could create, and as this one rockets up the charts, I hope to see more of her work in the future.
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Posted January 7, 2014
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