My rating: 5 of 5 stars
My new favourite from Jay! All the stars and then some.
Every time I read a book from Jay Hogan I’m reminded of two things:
1 She researches thoroughly and whenever there is a disability or cultural theme in her books, they are 100% given all the necessary attention to detail needed to come across as thoroughly real.
2 Her books transport me into a world where I feel I’m watching real people through a looking glass or as part of a TV show following them through their daily lives.
Here she looks at the world of Paralympic wheelchair sports, murderball aka quad rugby in particular and, as someone who is also an ambulatory wheelchair user, although not as much as when first discharged from hospital, let me say I absolutely believed 100% in Miller’s experiences.
Writing about a disabled character when you aren’t one yourself, is a gamble, over complicate it and it comes across like you’re just reciting your research, don’t give it the attention to detail it needs, and it sounds like lip-service.
But with Miller, he was utterly real. His frustrations, his fears that his disability was getting worse and threatening to derail his professional sporting career, and his dawning awareness that he’d met someone that was going to mean he had to come out publicly. They were visceral.
And Sandy, he might just be my favourite of all Jay’s characters so far. He’s unapologetically out and gender fluid in his outward expression through clothing. He’s had to fight hard for his equilibrium, and he’s been disappointed time and time again by men who’ve asked him to tone it down at some point in their relationship.
When they meet, it’s in a flurry of misunderstanding and bruised egos, but the sparks are flying from the off. Miller is fascinated by Sandy, and the pathologist’s assistant finds there’s more to the Paralympian than his outward arrogance.
There’re plenty of guest appearances from the other pairs in this excellent Auckland Med series and I loved seeing Josh and Michael, Reuben and Cam, and Mark and Ed, this friendship group is a strong one and both Miller and Sandy turn to it for help.
I’m not going into the plot, but it’s one which will take you on a rollercoaster journey through all the highs and lows of a realistic relationship which has stumbles on the journey to happiness.
Read this book if you love people who’ve fought hard to be themselves, if you like vulnerable disabled sportsmen who are just finding their feet in the out and proud world, hurt teenagers, family and friends who will move the Earth to help protect the ones they love, and two men who work through a myriad of challenges to find the happiness they deserve.
Another absolutely brilliant entry in this fabulous series from Jay.
#ARC received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review