Book Review – Believing Rory by S.C Wynne

I’m reviewing Believing Rory by S.C Wynne today as part of her blog tour with Creative Minds Promotions. For more information about the book, the blog tour and the rafflecopter giveaway check out my LJ post.

TITLE: Believing Rory
AUTHOR: S.C. Wynne
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Garrett Leigh
LENGTH: 200 Pages
RELEASE DATE: April 29, 2016
BLURB: Will Rory bring them together or stand between them?

Eighteen-year-old Lane Graham has always relied on his braver, more confident buddy, Rory. But Rory’s sudden suicide blindsides Lane and sends him into an emotional tailspin. How’s he supposed to start college in a few months feeling this damaged?

Baron MacDonald knew Rory from playing League of Legends together. He was always intrigued by Lane’s online presence, and Rory had promised to set them up. Now that Rory’s gone, Baron has to approach Lane on his own.

On the surface, Baron and Lane couldn’t seem more different. Baron is confident and serious, and Lane is guarded and uncertain. But it’s the pain beneath the flesh that binds these two souls together like barbed wire and cement.

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This story starts with a suicide of a close friend, and I must admit the subject material made me a little wary that it might be a very angsty read. However, although there is angst—and it wouldn’t be appropriate for there not to be—I thought it was handled realistically and without being over the top.

The two main characters, Lane and Baron, have very real responses to the situations they’re in. Both are working through memories of bad things that have happened in their past, and it does affect the way they react to various situations, and each other. They’re also young adults, and logic doesn’t always come into it especially when in emotional pain. In reading Believing Rory I always felt as though I was reading about characters in this age group, rather than adults.

Despite the serious theme of the book, it’s not all dark, and I loved Lane’s sense of humour. He really grows as a character through the story, despite the difficulty in getting past his emotional scars. I thought the author wrote very realistically about the aftermath of suicide and how it effects those left behind, especially the way it makes someone question their friendship with the person who is gone. The characters’ pain is not sugar coated, but there’s hope for the future too, and the development of a new romance.

It isn’t just the main characters who are well written in this story. It’s populated by friends and family who are three dimensional in their own right. I particularly liked Lane’s friend, Judy, and Baron’s mother. Despite the story beginning with his suicide, Rory—or rather others’ memories of him—is also a very real character in the story, and drives quite a bit of it.

The story is written in present tense, which gave me a sense of the story unfolding as I read, rather than being told about something that had already happened. This worked well especially with Lane’s struggle to move forward, and not let the past shadow the way he interprets the situation he’s now in.

I’d recommend this book for readers who like contemporary new adult stories that don’t shy away from very real issues, with engaging characters who grow through the story and the development of a new friendship and romance. 4.5 stars out of 5.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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