Narrator Tristan Wright
Length 6 hours and 36 minutes
As a musician at the popular college café Coed Joe’s, high school senior Kai Manter is never lacking for male attention. Out, proud, free-spirited, and sexually aware, Kai sets his sights on his darkly Gothic and undeniably bad-tempered coworker, Jamie Arlotta, a freshman at the local arts university. Sporting long hair and alluring hippie style, Kai expects his interest will be reciprocated, with satisfying sex as the end goal. That’s what usually happens. But Jamie’s lessons in life have been harsher. Having been sexually abused by his older stepbrother for several years, Jamie has grown an impenetrable outer shell meant to keep the world at a safe distance.
Kai is angry at first when he takes the brunt of Jamie’s bad temper, but after Kai accidentally discovers the abuse Jamie has suffered, he wants to fix things. Kai’s plan is based on what he knows best—music—and he stages a “musical intervention” to let Jamie know he’s not alone and things can get better. When Jamie’s perspective changes and he emerges from his shell, Kai changes, too, gaining a whole new understanding of what sex can be when love is there too.
Kai Manter is a charming, self confident high school senior with a pair of latter-day hippies as parents and two supportive siblings. Musically gifted and good looking Kai is out and proud and brags in the first chapter about his last 10 conquests.
But then he spots Jamie Arlotta, a freshman at the local arts university who works as a waiter at the coffee house where Kai sings. Jamie has earned the nickname “Pretty Vacant” due to his good looks and his stand-offish attitude with anyone that tries to be friendly.
Turns out that Jamie was molested by a step-brother who is still giving him problems though moving out of the family home has stopped the worst of it.
I really like both MC’s. The relationship that irrepressible young gay musician Kai has with his older brother is just great.
However I’m had a bit of trouble with the whole “Music as Intervention” idea. As much as I believe in the power of music to grab and change one’s emotions, the way it’s used in this story, (and the many song titles) just seems a bit far-fetched to me. But it’s integral to the story and if one can set that aside, the story is a really touching look at how these two come together to affect Jaimie’s recovery.
Kudos to the author for making this more than just a “rescuing a tragic waif” tale. The way that Kai grew through this story really made it a worthwhile read. Also the feelings that Kai had toward the end when he wasn’t needed as much for rescuing, rang true and made this a richer and deeper story.
Tristan Wright narrates the audio-book and does a great job with the many male voices. His energetic and optimistic interpretation of Kai and his meeker and more childlike voice for Jamie really worked well together. For the most part Tristan isn’t too annoying when trying to voice the female characters. There is one crying female that got a bit grating but then I’ve never been good with crying women.
Tristan Wright also narrated the audio-book version of A Broken Kind of Life but THAT was stiff competition with Tyler Stevens having done such a phenomenal job with the adult version (Aaron)