Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Review: A Life for Nicholas (The Nicholas Chronicles #1) by Matt Zachary

A Life for Nicholas (The Nicholas Chronicles #1)
by Matt Zachary
Published April 6th 2013 by Porterlance Books

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

"A Life for Nicholas" details the life of a thirteen year old boy who is an orphan and living in the foster care system. He has to deal with adolescence, his sexuality, the loss of friends and abuse as he figures out his place in the world. This book is a novella of about 13,000 words and the prequel to "A Home For Christmas" by Matt Zachary.

As the blurb implies, this is the story of Nicholas, a young foster boy who gets transferred from one home to another. In one home, where this book begins, he shares a home with 13 other kids. Despite the crowded situation, his life was okay, not the best, but it was okay. There he meets Johnny and for a while, it seemed life was doing great for him and learning how to play baseball was a bonus. Soon, he realizes his feelings are different around Johnny but he has no time to analyze things when he finds himself transferred yet again. 

As the page turns, Nicholas finds himself in another home with his own room. This is where the good news ends, though, as he soon realizes that by keeping quiet and hidden, he could avoid the abuse, stay with his loving foster mother, have a great developing relationship with his girlfriend and write poems. But things seem to spit him in the face when his drunken foster father catches up to him and he is sent off yet again.

On the third and last part, we have Nicholas finding himself with a new best friend. He is older now, about 15 and life seems to finally get better. His new foster home was loving, caring and a real home. For once, he feels comfortable and at ease. When he finds out his best friend is gay, he could not understand but accepted it. When things go where they should not, life takes a bad turn and we are left with Nicholas trying to run from life that has given him curve ball after left hook. 

This is a fairly short novella and it is really a prequel so readers will be left wondering how life will treat Nicholas in the future. What this boy was experiencing is hard to take. It is not easy to swallow. It is not digestible. And yet we know these boys do exist. Their lives are this messed up. They are out there and yet are not heard.

A Life For Nicholas is a real story of a young foster boy trying to survive. It is not for everyone who want to read books lined with roses and scented with cherry blossoms. This is the author's way of reaching out and make known what many of us turn a blind eye to. In truth, this story glossed over a lot of things and yet it hits true to home. It is not an easy story to read and I get it fully should other readers find it disconcerting. I got scared the first time I read this type of story but since I got over that fear, it made me more aware that yes, novellas like these may make other readers uncomfortable, yet it is a depiction of the truth and I like the truth. 

This book stayed under my radar that would never have bleeped had it not been for one reviewer who decided to promote it. You can read it HERE and see why, as an avid MM reader and reviewer, why I just had to grab my copy and thank her for those words. Otherwise, I would have missed out on this. I have no regrets after reading it. This may have surprised me, but I ended the story with  a WOW! on my lips.

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