Review: Bryan Ellis – The Red Thread

5130jqez0vlAuthor: Brian Ellis
Reviewer: Diane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary/New Adult

Rating: ★★★★★ 


After a suicide attempt left him hospitalized for seven months, Jesse Holbrooke is returning home to live with his parents. Despite the treatment he received, his depression hangs like a cloud over his head, casting his life in a perpetual darkness he can’t seem to escape. But just when the obstacles become insurmountable, a glimmer of light appears.

Life hasn’t been easy for Adam Foster, a barista with a bad stutter, but he keeps his chin up and tries not to let the mockery of others get to him. Though shy, Adam is sweet and romantic, and Jesse knows they could be perfect for each other. Adam’s support gives Jesse the courage to face the darkness and believe in the possibility of happiness at last. But if their romance is going to last, both young men will have to look inside and find acceptance—for themselves as well as for each other.


Jesse (Jess) Holbrooke is a 19 year old man with depression who is back living at home after a suicide attempt and several months in a mental hospital after it. Adam Foster is 22, working as a barista but hoping to be a teacher someday. He has a bad stutter and is working with a therapist for it and works to not let the mockery of people get to him. While Jess grew up in Wilshire, Adam has only recently moved there.

The story is told from Jesse’s point of view.

Wow, this is a very powerful book! Although I do not have depression, I have known some people who deal with it but felt connected to Jess because he tries to keep it to himself. However, people care about him, so they are involved even when he thinks he is protecting them. I always say that if a book can make me cry, then it’s an excellent book to me because it got me emotionally involved – for this one I needed the tissue box at the ready, it hit me so hard!

I love the characters of Jess and Adam, along with the supporting characters of Jess’ Mom, his sister Clara, his friends Tommy and Alex and even his coworkers. And the perspective he gets of lonely Mr. Samuels and his boss Peter (maybe those two should be introduced, maybe they could help one another), and how it relates to his own daily experience.

You really want this young man to have his happy for now, because there is no easy fix to expect a happy “ending”, but happiness or contentment in general? Oh yes, you want him to have it. And Adam, sweet Adam, with his stutter, love for Doctor Who and blanket forts, he really is adorable and you cheer for him to find happiness and love too!

The title comes from an ancient proverb quoted in the book “An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break”. These two characters were definitely meant to meet and if you enjoy dramatic stories with some romance to them, I believe you will enjoy this book. It is definitely making it to my favorites of 2016 list for being such a powerful and well-written story.

It is not an easy read, there are descriptions of cutting, suicide attempts as previously mentioned, parental abuse for one of the other characters. None of it is graphically described, but the elements are there, but for these characters, it is part of their story. Things are not tied up neatly at the end, all the characters have challenges ahead, but they also have a support system amongst themselves and you just want them to find hope.


Dreamspinner Press

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