FIVE HEARTS--My first published Suki Fleet. I've been Fleeted.
I needed time to recover...regroup...gather the thoughts swirling inside because there are plenty. I'll probably gush out my feels because I have been torn asunder, then dragged through glass, left bleeding, cringing with each breath by words. Words that were pieced together by a wordsmith, a craftsman. Knew this from the first chapter, from the first few paragraphs.
This book is art.
You see that rating? Suki Fleet earned every heart. (Even if mine ended up bruised in the long run)
If this review does nothing else, just know:
1 - Suki Fleet is super talented. (I mean she caught my eye with a flash fic and left me hooked.) I knew that if I got my hands on a novel, I was going to be proved right. And I was. Run to her books. This is quality. Remember her name.
2 - This is one of the best stories of 2016 (Yes, already.) I have a third of this book highlighted.
Sometimes you read a book and you know it's good for entertainment purposes, but it's not going to leave an impression.
I'm still thinking about Danny. I know a Danny, actually more than one. Maybe you do too. It was good to see that this author gave a character with a disability the dignity they deserve. The same can be said for Micky. Two damaged souls with baggage some backs can't carry yet they keep going, they continue living. It's a struggle and the reader gets to experience that struggle rather eloquently in Foxes.
I think some readers might not like some of the outcomes. (Yes, there is a HEA) I think Danny might test some of the boundaries for a few readers as a consenting main character while having mental health disorders. (He is well aware at all times)
The angst is thick. I heard the author's writing style about prior to going in, but I didn't know how deep Suki Fleet can cut.
Look at Fleet consume me with her angst for days. And she'll keep going too. *gulps*
If I had to summarize Foxes's plot: think beauty and the beast (sort of) in modern day destitute side of London. Impoverished teens are selling themselves for survive, while a killer is on the loose and a scarred homeless teen with a number of disorders tries to saves lives including the most beautiful American rent boy he has ever clapped his eyes on. All while he battles his inner demons.
Danny would be a psychologist's dream (or nightmare). But he is one of the best frigging characters I've read in a while. Told entirely in his 1st POV, we see the world through his eyes. How people treat him due to his disability, his face. We learn through bits and pieces how Danny came to be. The author gives it out slowly, love that. He's so mysterious, our champion. He keeps his world small and at the moment, it is filled with finding his best friend Dashiel's murderer. He can't keep the words inside, his head gets too full. So he writes them down. People mistake his silence for stupidity but he's so far from it. Danny also knows how to fix things, especially mechanical things. Through this skill, he meets Micky, the skinny cross dressing blonde prostitute American who makes his heart beat really fast.
How am I supposed to relax? It's an impossible situation. If this is falling in love, it's impossibly beautiful, and when that person is so sweet and kind it hurts in the best way, but because you know they can never return those feelings you have to try and hide the intensity of it. And this is intense.
Micky doesn't make fun of Danny like some of the other street kids do. He takes time to learn his quirks and habits. Danny goes hunting for bad guys aka "sharks" at night, trying to protecting a world everyone seemed to turn their back on and ignore. And with his anxieties and hardships, pain and grief...he ignores the love, the hope that springs from his friendship with Micky.
"--having smooth, unscarred skin does not make you beautiful. Shining the brightest light in the dark does, though."
Reading their friendship blossom was beautiful. It was tentative in the beginning because Danny doesn't get a lot of people who seem him for who he is. Who better to understand a damaged man other than a fellow damaged man? Micky's was the Louisville slugger on the angst barrel. The romance when it got full steam was powerful. So much so, I didn't even want to read a kiss between them at first. I thought it would mess up the pureness of it all. Inexperienced versus experienced themes can vary. But Fleet handled it well and did not cheapen the romance in the least. Their love was like...the bathtub.
Given freely, full of good intention and signifying their strong bond. This is definitely new adult, though the main characters were in their late teens. Don't let their age stop you. they have had a rough life and more adult experiences than a lot of people. So the intensity of their bond was 100% believable.
Danny, the fox, his coming of age was slow going. And at times, he reads like a martyr, the scarred hero that seems to have a lot of bad happen & he does a lot of good in return. It's just his character, his nature. He reminded me of the unlikely hero from "Brute" sometimes.
Foxes are so integral to who Danny is. And reading him coming into his own and realizing some things about himself even when it hurt, especially when it hurt...oh how I love him more.
The suspense in Foxes was all about the sharks and shark hunting. There are so many bad people in the world. And the culmination of the suspense arc was a little surprising. But it made me think and actually agree...with the villain. Hm...
There were two parts that felt unfinished to me. It was answered and I know if it were tied up in a pretty bow I'd have probably called it out for being wrapped up too neatly: Milo and Dollman. Being as the story is totally from Danny's point of view, those questions would be unanswered and should be (keeping to character)....but I still wish I knew. Call it reader being greedy. And it wouldn't have hurt to see the interim moments before the last two chapters. But again, it's Danny's story so, it's not necessary but it wouldn't have hurt. Because...greedy.
I don't want to give away this plot, but the story hurts so good. The characterizations are really done well. The angst is super heavy, some parts made me stop so I could get a break but I had to go back in to see how it would play out. I came to care for the characters Micky and Danny and just about all of the secondary characters. Ms. Fleet shines a flashlight on the gritty underbelly of a world a lot of people tend to ignore - teens selling their bodies and souls.
Suki Fleet brought a realistic hope without getting into the Disney lane. I'll end this review with this quote:
Because we're not our pasts--because we're more than that. We have to be. Don't we?
The story isn't perfect, but neither is life. What this story is, is amazing. Can't rate it any less than five.
If you think you can handle the subject matter, please try this book.
Don't be like me, who is just now reading this underrated talent that is Suki Fleet.
A copy provided for an honest review.