I was pretty damned happy when I realized that 'I survived this book'. It's been a while since I've read a book that had the emotional impact on me that this one did.
I'm just going to take a minute to give a little bit of personal background here because I honestly feel that it's relevant to the story as it relates to my response to it. I spent nearly 20 years working in healthcare in one form or another and while I don't profess to be an expert on any level about any specific condition, I am, however, familiar with a number of physical and mental health issues well enough to know that most medical conditions have general guidelines as to conditions, symptoms, etc. each case is unique to the individual. But for me the most important thing about this story was that the author treated the issues with the consideration and regard that they deserved.
When this book first crossed my path I read the blurb was intrigued but decided that time didn't permit...that lasted maybe a day or two I re-read the blurb and decided that I needed to read this book. Sometimes first decisions aren't the best decisions.
While the blurb for this book intrigued me, it didn't prepare me for the emotional journey traveled by the characters. I adored Justin, loving someone...anyone can be a challenge at the best of times but loving Damon/Blake was a commitment that not every one would be able or willing to make and Justin not only loved them, he was able to see and appreciate what each of them brought to the relationship and held the strength of commitment and desire to work things out no matter how challenging they got.
Damon was definitely the character who intrigued me the most for so many reasons that I'd love to go into but won't. However, it was Blake who broke me and in the end it was Blake's sacrifice that saved them all (that's right you'll need to read the book if you want to know more).
There were times that the writing in this story held an intangible quality that left me feeling like I'd maybe missed something...I wasn't confused by things, it was more this slight niggle in my brain that I'd read the words, I understood the words but still missed something in the meaning and normally this would at the very least be frustrating for me but in the case of this particular story it fit and all I can say in regard to this is that if you choose to read this story and find yourself having that feeling...have faith and keep reading because sometimes what we think we see is only an illusion hiding a reality that we can't see and truthfully no matter how you look at it in the end each of these men were unwavering in their commitment to their relationship.
"Surviving the Merge" was not only Ms Harris's first novel in the "Chadwick" series, it was her first novel and of course it was also my first time reading anything by this author. What it thankfully isn't is the last novel in the "Chadwick" series or by this author or the last novel that I'll be reading by this author and I am very much anticipating finding out how things continue to go for Justin, Damon/Blake and what if anything will happen between Max and Ash, the kids at the community center and even Sam (Samantha) and while I would have liked a bit more development between her and Justin before they became BFFs, the focus of this story for me was entirely Justin, Damon/Blake and anything else I'm willing to wait for.
A copy of 'Surviving the Merge' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.