Scarred Souls by T.T. Kove

Scarred Souls by T.T. Koveon May 20th 2015
Pages: 364
On a cold, wet afternoon Damian stumbles across a young man huddled beneath a tree crying his eyes out. He's got more than enough problems of his own, but is compelled to give the bloke a place to crash for at least the night.

Josh is used to being alone, and most days it's easier than trying to deal with people who can't, or won't, understand him. When Damian takes him in for the night, Josh assumes it's gong to be one more go round of sex and get out in the morning.

Neither of them expects the friendship that develops, and they're far from prepared when friendship starts to turn into more.

(Scarred Souls contains depictions of self-harm, a flashback to abuse, and mentions of abuse and non-consensual sex.)

This book was sad, painful and depressing with just a slight ray of hope at the end. I normally like angsty books but this one wasn’t fueled by sexual lust and chemistry. This book had characters that were tormented and lived in the depths of despair. I applaud the author for this story even though it was rather heartbreaking to read. I kept reminding myself that there are people living in pain like this and I am glad someone is giving them a voice.

Damien was interesting as a character because I don’t think I have read one that described as asexual. Because of past trauma, Damien doesn’t like to be touched. He lives with a roommate Silver, who has some issues of his own but respects Damien’s idiosyncrasies. One day on his way from, he finds a young man crying in the rain and he felt such compassion that invited the young man home. Damien finds out that his name was Josh and they begin talking. Because they were both in a great deal of pain, Damien was able to connect with Josh and he became a sort of safe place for Josh.

Josh was a victim of a vicious sexual predator and he dealt his pain by cutting. What I found poignant was that Josh’s mother really tried to be supportive. She acknowledged her past mistakes and resolved to help her son in any way she could. So I felt for her as she watched her son struggle. I had a hard time with Josh myself because I don’t really understand his mental illness Borderline Personality Disorder. I did look it up on Wikipedia and read about it. But I still found it hard to continually empathize with Josh. I felt that he enjoyed wallowing in his victim-hood and wasn’t really trying to heal, but in the book he explained that his brain didn’t function properly. Then I would feel guilty for wanting to him to try harder to get better. I can’t imagine how Damien is going to deal with such extreme behaviors for the long haul. I feel horrible but the addition of Josh to his life seemed like adding another distressing issue to Damien’s life. But at the same time, these were the times that Damien got to live outside his own pain and empathize and focus on someone else. That’s what I had the hardest time grappling with, that Josh can’t get cured from this.

I didn’t have a problem with the writing, just the subject matter. I won’t be continuing with the series because it was just too distressing for me.

*Special thanks to Less than Three Press via Netgalley for the e-book given for a review.

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