Thursday, April 17, 2014

These Gentle Wounds by Helen Dunbar (Tour Review + Giveaway)

YA, Contemporary
PublicationDate  May8, 2014
Published By:  Flux
WebsiteThese Gentle Wounds on Goodreads

Helen Dunbar Website
My review copy: eARC,Provided for honest review in tour

Where to get:,%201

Sometimes I wish I’d lost a leg or something. Everyone can understand that. They never get it when what’s been broken is inside your head.

Five years after an unspeakable tragedy that changed him forever, Gordie Allen has made a new home with his half-brother Kevin. Their arrangement works since Kevin is the only person who can protect Gordie at school and keep him focused on getting his life back on track.

But just when it seems like things are becoming normal, Gordie’s biological father comes back into the picture, demanding a place in his life. Now there’s nothing to stop Gordie from falling into a tailspin that could cost him everything—including his relationship with Sarah, the first girl he’s trusted with the truth. With his world spinning out of control, the only one who can help Gordie is himself . . . if he can find the strength to confront the past and take back his future.

This is why I love hockey.  Pucks don't care that my mom tried to drown me one thousand, eight-hundred and twenty-two days ago.
I know that having one of your parents try and kill you and the other not want you wrecks something inside.  
And I know even though all they really did was annoy me, I should have tried harder to save the kids.
It isn't just that I think she's pretty.  It's that she seems more confident and sure of herself than anyone else I know.  I can't even lie to myself about it anymore.  I want her to like me even though I've never cared what anyone thought about me before.  Even though there's no reason she should.
I'm not sure who first looked at a lobster and thought it might be food.  I don't know why anyone ever thought that algebra was important.  And I'm seriously trying to figure out what drugs have been dumped into the water system to make anyone think that my spending a "trial" week with my father is a good idea.

  Stunning and Heart Breaking.
  If you had asked me a year ago how I felt about contemporary YA, I would have told you I did not read it.  However, it is writing like Dunbar's that makes me now pick it up often.  There was so much beauty in this book that was tragic and heart wrenching.  My heart went into reading this book and I found myself wishing I could be there to help.  These Gentle Wounds carried a depth that I did not expect, and an extremely well written male point of view.  There are no perfect words to describe exactly how I feel after reading this.
  This book touches on some very sensitive subjects and yet it handles it with extreme grace.  It did not glorify what had happened, nor did it make it something that was just always in the back of Gordie's mind.  The abuse and near death experience left lasting scars... Only these were ones people couldn't see, couldn't grasp.  So many books make mental and physical abuse something that children remember but it only affects their relationships.  The truth is in this book that it can do more than can break you.

  Gordie was a spectacularly written character that captured my heart.  His past left him never left him behind.  He doesn't know how to let it go, let the nightmares and daylight terrors out.  His moments of "normal" are always threatened by the horror of that the accident five years ago.  What broke me a little was he had given up, he had given in and took what he could.  However, these things that broke me, are also what made him realistic.  He wondered what it would like to be normal and hated that his past touched his present, but in his own way he lived.  We all have this idea of normal but no clue what it really is and Gordie discovers his own brand in this marvel.

  There is a certain beauty in this heart breaking read, brought on by the relationships within the pages.  Gordie's brother Kevin is a pillar.  He grounds Gordie and would (has) given up everything for his brother.  There were times that I played with the idea that he resented him for it but I think the bigger part of him just wanted his brother to be okay.  Kevin is a good brother and a better friend, that does more than any sibling I know of.  However, when it came to Sarah who was a blessing in disguise,  he was not sold.  She was really a light in what was the dark tunnel of Gordie's life.  Her presence wasn't as dominant as Kevin's but that does not mean it wasn't as important.  She was proof that sometimes things come when you need them the most and not a minute sooner.  If Sarah had come sooner the impact just wouldn't have been there, and the relief of having something/someone new to be there.

  These Gentle Wounds was a book apart from everything I have ever picked up.  I have read books that called to me and pulled at my heart in different ways, but this one was like a warm breeze after a  frigid winter.  The subject matter is not light and the pain will rip through you as it does the characters, but it is the growth that amazed me.  The writing, the pacing and the story itself could not have been any better.  Dunbar will be a name that I search for in the future.  With a male protagonist that you can connect with, fans of contemporary will easily enjoy this read.

Ten Things About These Gentle Wounds

1. I wrote the book after a women in NY drove her car into the river with her four kids in it and one of her sons survived.

2. Pea Balls are a real recipe

3. An early draft was one of the winners of the She Writes YA Novel Contest

4. I wrote this book for myself and never, ever planned to show it to an agent/editor.

5. There is one thing that Gordie experiences that I have as well.

6. My favorite scene in the book – between Gordie and his brother Kevin – was written because one of my critique partners told me that the last third of the book needed more angst in it.

7. Gordie was named after Gordie Howe who played for The Detroit Red Wings.

8. I’m from Detroit and love hockey, but Gordie became a hockey player because I was watching so much of it during the Olympics.

9. After I wrote TGW, I started working on something funny because I found it so difficult to get out of Gordie’s head.

10. The books’ original title was In Case of Emergency (ICE).

About the author:

Helene Dunbar usually writes features about fiddles and accordions for Irish Music Magazine, but she’s also been known to write about court cases, theater, and Native American Indian tribes.
She's lived in two countries, six states, and is currently holed up in Nashville with her husband, daughter, two cats, and the world’s friendliest golden retriever.
THESE GENTLE WOUNDS is Helene’s debut novel with Flux Books.
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