“It’s him,” Eli whispered, dropping the picture on the officer’s desk.
His mother rested a hand on his shoulder. “E.J.—”
“Don’t pretend to care, now that he’s dead.” Eli shrugged out of her grasp and clenched his jaw to hold in the gut-wrenching sobs brewing in his chest. “Will I need to identify the body in person too?”
The officer avoided Eli’s eyes, but his voice was kind. “If you’re certain, this is good enough for us. He’ll be released in the next thirty-six hours. Will you be claiming him, or will the city keep him?”
Eli’s eyes widened, and panic ripped through his heart. He’d never expected the search to end with a dead body, and there was no way he’d be able to give his boyfriend the funeral he deserved—the one Eli owed him for his own part in Brian’s death. Prepared to beg, he turned and met his father’s eyes for the first time since Brian disappeared from their house almost three weeks earlier.
“We’ll take care of his arrangements.” Eli’s mother spoke quietly but firmly, and his father dipped his chin in silent agreement.
Relief carried Eli back to his parents’ car, but grief consumed him as soon as he slid into the back seat. Burying his head in his knees, he shut out the rest of the world. Eli didn’t leave the quiet safety of the car until long after he arrived home, his cheeks crusted with salty tears from mourning the loss of the future he’d been so sure of.
Elijah is in the closet, due to his high school boyfriends’ death when he was 17 years old. He was totally devastated by this event, and literally closed himself off from anything that could be termed as affection – even from his parents.
Adam runs a youth center, and he knows firsthand what a lot of the kids are feeling, and this means he has total empathy with them. Adam is also out and proud – don’t get me wrong he doesn’t broadcast it, but he will not be with anyone who keeps him as a secret.
When the two meet, there are sparks galore, but Adam realizes that Elijah is in the closet and decides that nothing can happen between them….. Elijah is upset by this, but to me comes across as confused as to why he feels this way. One night, while together, the continuous sparks ignite into a night spent in bed together, but the next morning Elijah is having second thoughts about it all, and their relationship - if you can call it that - is over before it has begun.
It is now I notice how complex a person Elijah really is, what you realize is that rather than being afraid, he is in the mindset that he is not a good enough person for Adam, and that he doesn’t deserve to be loved, and that he is convinced that Adam can do far better than him. He may run a successful company, but it is now plain to see that Elijah feels very insecure.
When the youth from the center is assaulted, you see a completely new side of Elijah, but also with it you see it brings back the memories from his boyfriend’s death. However, this seems to bring out the best in Elijah, and for once he sees clearly what he wants from life, but knows he must be honest with everyone in his life including his parents and especially Adam.
I must also add, that Adam has his own secrets that he has not revealed, so in that way he is as guilty as Elijah of holding things back. At the end of the book, you get a preview of book 2, in which you realise that Alex's secrets are just about to come out.....
The thing that really hit me with this book, is that the kids that attend the center, go there to feel safe, but at the same time, are afraid of what will happen, as it is adults that have generally caused their problems, and the adults that are meant to help them could also send them back. I know this is a book of fiction, but to me it emphasizes why we need to have places like this for the LGBT Youth to go and feel safe to be themselves.