Series: Nick & Derek: Book One
Author: Mel Bossa
Publisher: JMS Books
Length: 260 Pages
At a Glance: Throughout the whole book, the author manages to alternate between past and present effortlessly, and the result is stunning!
Reviewed By: Ky
Blurb: Quiet and imaginative, Derek O’Reilly spends a lot of time watching a movie in his head. His fiancé Nathan wonders why Derek hasn’t taken any interest in their wedding planning, and Aunt Fran — his spiritual guru — would like to know when her guilt-tripping nephew became a kept boy. When she drops Derek’s childhood journal on his lap, he’s forced to remember the name he’s been trying to forget since he was twelve years old. Nicolai Lund.
Nick was Derek’s neighbor … and first love.
Weeks before Derek’s engagement party, a chance meeting with Nick catapults Derek into the past. But Nick isn’t that seventeen-year-old rebel anymore. He’s a man hardened by invisible scars. A man struggling with grief.
As Derek reads through his childhood diary, he realizes what Nick was to him, still is today, and yet might be …
NOTE: This edition has been expanded and substantially edited.
Review: I have liked everything I have read by this author so far, but Split just might take the cake! I don’t want to say too much about the story; instead, I want to focus on the amazing writing and the feelings in this book.
Split is the life story of Derek O’Reilly, and it is told entirely by him. Some parts of the story happened in the past and some are set in the present day, but there is almost equal page time dedicated to each one. Throughout the book, those two time periods weave around each other in a flawless dance. The first half of the book takes place mainly in the past, with quick scenes set in present day, whereas in the second half of the book happens the opposite. The mentions of past events are not always flashbacks; they are mostly told through journal entries that Derek made during a significant winter while he was growing up. In that winter (and probably the whole year he was writing the journal) happened some of the most important events that ultimately shaped his character, his life and the lives of those around him. Throughout the whole book, the author manages to alternate between past and present effortlessly, and the result is stunning!
The way Mel Bossa gave voice to a twelve-year-old boy living in the late 80s, and how she distinguishes that voice from his older self, who is almost in his thirties, is a true testament of her talent. She was able to give young Derek an innocence and naivety without being over the top about it. Reading Derek’s thoughts of that time made me smile and marvel at how different the world was just a few decades ago. How much more innocent kids were, and how things that were considered taboo remained unsaid, and the kids interpreted them however they saw fit, with a characteristic innocence that is missing from this generation because of the easy access to any kind of information, as everything is just a click away. But more than that, I liked how she was able to tell important events seen through the eyes of a kid who didn’t understand what was happening, and at the same time made sure that the reader was able to understand the truth and get the whole picture.
My one and only complaint about this story is about the errors I found in the text. There were dozens of them and since this is a re-release of a previously published title, I would have thought that the text would have been checked and corrected. I was disappointed that that wasn’t the case.
On the plus side of the re-release, I love the new cover! I wasn’t a big fan of the first one; it made me think this was a sci-fi book and because of that assumption, it took me this long to read the blurb and find out that this is not the case. I know, I know: Don’t judge a book by its cover! I did and nearly missed out on a great story!
On the topic of the sequels, I will not be reading Red Awakening or Blue Dreams because I don’t like the blurbs one bit, but I haven’t decided about Purple Winter, which, by the way, was released just a few months ago. My reason for hesitating is that I loved the ending we were given for Derek and Nick in this book, even if I would have loved to see more of them together as a couple. I’m content with the way we left things here, and I don’t want to see the characters struggle any more than they already have. Anyway, I haven’t made up my mind yet, but at the end of this book, there is the prologue and the first chapter of Purple Winter, so you can read them and decide for yourselves.
You can buy Split here:
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