Bleed Like Me by Christa Desir
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Bleed Like Me is not so different from other YA contemporary novels in that it's dark and gritty, except perhaps that more than one character is broken. Yet they're not just broken, for there's an awareness from both- the degree thereto the only variation. Add that they are not alone in being flawed; no one is 'faultless' here.
Yes, the two here are flawed; it's as such that they find the other. We see both their situations become the worst possible ones while together. If at first, her family reads good- adoptive parents of boys who need them- dig deeper and we find the lot of them floundering given all that's required of them, despite the goodness of their intent so that in the midst of that/because of that, her voice is lost. And if at first glance, too- he is a disaster- troubled youth, in conflict with everyone-everything; yet, they are both more than those. Only, it's when they each become become the other's ALL that things take an even darker feel. Yes, it is because of him then, with him, that she finds a measure of better, as does he in her. However, what is better exactly?
She knows from where her actions stem; she sees her actions framed in what her experience lacked. He too sees her actions as is- not right, aware of the wrongness in the same, yet not putting a stop to it. And why? Like her, he has his issues too. Issues that she slowly becomes aware of. It's in that slow peeling back of layers by both of the other that makes this book what it is- different and truthful and multifaceted- because it's in their day to day, that they both manage to disappear. The business that others face have the two swept aside. It's there that the two begin what's obviously to be a co-dependent then destructive relationship (the latter only becoming evident to one first and then tragically, to the other.)
The book is already dark with those in mind; but becomes a touch darker with each moment of her giving physical translation to her pain, and as well as of him being 'brave and out there.' Both aspects are felt even more, as there are others not necessarily sweeping them aside but too overwhelmed by things they have to face. In fact, it's this that makes reading BLM frustrating/riveting--- how things could have been otherwise, because there's a slipping through the cracks for both of them.
So, not one is faultless here... him, in goading her on; her, in clinging to him; and all else, in looking the other way (either because they just couldn't be bothered or because there were other things in the way.) Bottom line, BLM is different because it's more than them and their pain; there's the unfortunate truth that underscores its progression because things are allowed to continue- not just by people like the MC's but by the others around them (seeing but failing to act; or worse yet, not seeing at all.)
Thank you, E!
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