This was a very emotional story about PTSD and how it affected one young man’s life and the people around him.
For starters, Gabe was wonderful. A very talented, sweet and caring guy. He fell for Jake, even with all the cautioning by his somewhat nosy friend/boss, Rob, and really just wanted Jake to be well. I was a bit disappointed that he put more effort into research on getting the tattoo right than he did on understanding and helping Jake with his trauma issues. It was nice to see Gabe stand his ground and let Jake go when it was necessary, all while standing by him when Jake needed him the most.
Speaking of understanding and helping Jake with his issues, Jake’s sister, Alice was rather pathetic. She had more background than anyone about what could have caused Jake’s problems. Knowing he was in the house fire as a child, and knowing about the helicopter crash, etc. didn’t give her any clue as to why Jake would freak out when the kitchen filled with smoke? Her solution seemed to be to constantly berate and guilt him into better behavior, so no gold stars for her.
I really want to be annoyed with Jake here as well, if for nothing else than his reluctance to somehow fix or better his situation when he fully realized he had such problems and how they were affecting those he loved. However, having no trauma/PTSD experience whatsoever, I cannot even remotely guess how one would or should act in these situations. So, Jake gets a pass, and suffice to say, I was happy he finally took charge of his life at the end without too much damage to those around him.
I have to give an honorable mention to the shop mascot, Hype. She was a wonderful character, spunky and full of life, despite her horrible family conditions. I loved that she had the shop to go to where she could feel safe. Dee and Gabe taking her in was nice as well. I loved the way everyone teased each other and could genuinely feel that they truly cared for her.
This story did seem to drag on a little bit, though there was never really any lull. I think it was more of a lack of patience on my part wanting to see things happen quicker. There could have been a stronger connection with the characters, but I think perhaps the underlying issues may have been the cause of that. This was a well written story, and I will definitely be looking to read more from this author in the future.