Colors by Russell J. Sanders
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Blurb: High school senior Neil Darrien is a budding musical theater star. He has it all-a beautiful girlfriend, a scholarship at a prestigious school, and plenty of chances to showcase his talent. But when Zane Jeffrey comes to town and immediately lands a spot in the school show choir, Neil is jealous. What Neil didn’t count on, though, is Zane’s charm and humor, and the two soon become friends.
Melissa, Neil’s girlfriend, notices Zane monopolizing Neil and draws Neil into her church. There Neil discovers a situation he knows he needs to fix, but if he does, a deep, dark secret that could cost him his future career might come out.
When his relationship with Melissa becomes rocky, Neil is drawn to Zane in a way that is more than friendship
Published January 14, 2016 by Harmony Ink Press: Buy
What I liked? The story was technically well written and the author was definitely able to paint a vivid picture of what was going on. I loved the premise and the cover is definitely eye-catching. Unfortunately here comes the “but”.
When I first started reading this book I was convinced that it was going to be a very hard and emotional read for me as Neil told his story of the abuse he suffered at the hands of his childhood Pastor. However to me the story seemed to focus more on how he was handling his senior year of high school, juggling his “sort of” girlfriend and then meeting a the new kid who becomes his one and only true friend. Colors wan’t really what I had expected it to be and because of that I was left a tad disappointed.
I wanted to learn more about Neil’s past, delve a little deeper into the abuse. I wanted to know more about his parents and the church he belonged to that would inadvertently let this happen. We know that Neil’s parents were killed in a carjacking and before were very involved in the church but that’s it. How can we really get a clear picture of Neil’s past? I also wanted to see more resolution. Once it becomes know what happened to him we get only a few sentences of response by those close to Neil. We don’t even get a real look at Zane’s reaction to everything.
I felt as if the book started off as if it would be a heavy read and then became more of a light read. Because of this, because of the lack of a deeper look into Neil’s life outside of theater I never found a way to connect to him and subsequently never grew to actually like him. I hate what happened to him, I felt for what he must have felt and was sad that anyone so young should have to experience anything so horrible but that was pretty much it. There was so much potential for me to fall in love with Neil but it just never happened.
Zane was likable but again I didn’t feel we got enough of him, who he truly was and how he felt. The only time we got anything from his POV was in the few text messages between him and his friend from back home and those weren’t enough for me to feel as if we knew him. I wish we could have seen more of his interaction with Neil after Neil comes to him and tells him about the abuse. I wish there was a bit more of their developing relationship in the end.
Too much Melissa who was so unlikable I wanted to scream. Too much waffling on how he felt about her and too much of her pressuring him about her church. She was not supportive of him, he couldn’t truly confide in her and when he and Zane started to get close she didn’t even try to understand. How he continued to put up with this was infuriating and went on far too long.
In other words, too much of the new church and not enough of Neil’s childhood church. Too much theater without anything really life changing happening other than meeting Zane. Not enough backstory and definitely not enough resolution.
*ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for honest review.
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