Tuesday, January 17, 2017

REVIEW: Gus by Kim Holden

The journey that began in top-rated, best-selling Bright Side, continues ...

This is the story of Gus.

Losing himself.

Finding himself.

And healing along the way.

“ … but the honest-to-God truth is I don’t even know how to function anymore. Bright Side wasn’t only my best friend; she was like my other half ... the other half of my brain, the other half of my conscience, the other half of my sense of humor, the other half of my creativity, the other half of my heart. How do you go back to doing what you did before, when half of you is gone forever?”
BUY IT: Amazon




Shel: This book has been on my radar for months now; Bright Side came to me at a special time in my life--a time when I was losing someone special and I needed that book--even if I didn't ever realize it at the time. Having the companion, Gus, available to read just as I was finishing school for the year also came at the perfect time; one chapter of my life is transitioning into a new chapter--how interesting that it felt like the same thing was happening to Gus. Court: Which is why I am a sissy and avoided these books like the plague. I knew the writing was brilliant. I knew that the story would be beautiful and captivating...but I also wasn't ready emotionally. Going through the same things in real life sometimes either is a good or bad thing to also have it in my books...but now I was finally ready, and it was a beautiful companion like Shel said to the first book - and really gave a new look to this man and his friends, but also a closure that was unexpected. 

Shel: I'll admit I was a little hesitant because of the emotional toil I was anticipating but I cannot imagine that any Bright Side fan will be anything but in love with Gus and his journey from utter sadness to complete joy. Court: I think that it is easy to love him because he was a great character initially...but now we get to know him so much better. He has an amazing life, and really struggles to cope with everything that happened with Kate. It was so real, and realism in this story is completely and 100% necessary.

Shel: The first part of this novel felt emotionally empty and distant and numb--which I think is what Holden was aiming for? I think it mimicked how Gus was feeling--the only way he could cope with the raw pain of losing Kate was to shove it down and distance himself from feeling everything. After some really epically poor choices while on tour, Gus makes one fantastically brilliant move concerning Scout (aka Impatient) and as he begins to finally accept and settle in to life after Bright Side, we get to see the Gus we saw glimpses of before..and this is where the novel just lights up from this bleak world, to one of living and vivid color. It doesn't happen in the span of one page but slowly over time and the pacing of his transformation felt right. Court: It is a beautiful thing. The journey is not always easy, but I like how the writing style really allowed us to follow the first year "after". That word is such a scary thing, and Gus' world was really different to what he'd known his entire life. Scout really, really surprised me. She had this whole other thing happening in her life, and these two you will come to find will just blow your mind.

Shel: While this is truly Gus' journey to reclaim his happiness, it would be completely crazy to overlook the contribution Scout had to his story. She frustrated him and distracted him. She made him laugh. There was a since of mystery about her story and who she was. She was honest and real and good; all things that Gus needed. So while this story was his, it was also hers. We got to know Scout and discover her story and love her for all that she was and all that she gave to Gus and his mom. Speaking of Gus' mom, I loved how Kim Holden included all of the secondary characters from Bright Side (and a few new ones!) and allowed us to know them more and to see how they were doing. (And I can't help but hope that a few more characters from this series get books...I can think of THREE right now that I'd love to know more about). Court: I am not sad that Franco is already out and I just bought it, so that I can jump right into that! BUT, yes. There is so much room to expand on this series, and still hold on to Kate's legacy in their lives - but also see a new and really beautiful side to Kim's writing... She can go literally anywhere with these characters and there is so much potential. I am in awe of her. 

Shel: I'm so glad I found this writer and this series--I've somehow managed to find them at the exact time I needed to read them. The wisdom and hope and thoughtfulness that is woven with such care is what will push me to read and recommend them again and again. Thank you for these characters and their stories, Kim Holden; I wish I could adequately find words to convey my appreciation and gratitude for what you've given me in these reads but since I can't...I'll just try to embrace the philosophy and do epic. <3 Court: Do epic. Yes. let's do that. And I may've went with the old adage "this too shall pass, like a kidney stone, but it shall pass" when I thought of sitting down and actually reading this but now that I've done it I realize I had no reason to be scared. Shel number one doesn't steer me wrong, and Kim Holden has our back as well. Read this, and live it. Beautiful boy, and beautiful book. In awe. Still. 









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