Only the Lonely

Only the Lonely - Lynn Kelling Review originally posted at Sinfully.

Trigger warnings: suicide, child sexual abuse.

While the Twin Ties series is a romance, this prequel contains none. This is where we meet 14 year old Evan Savage, four years before [b:My Brother's Lover|15825597|My Brother's Lover (Twin Ties #1)|Lynn Kelling||21557367] starts. Over the course of the three Twin Ties books, I’ve come to love Evan even while I sometimes want to shake some sense into him. He is the heart of the series and his past has been outlined enough that we know how hard his life was as a lonely child and his mental state has always been precarious. This fills in the details in a horribly vivid light.

While his father travels for work, Evan is often left alone at home with nobody but his friend and neighbor Jimmy to check in on him. The loneliness consumes him. A cast out who is bullied at school, Evan feels he is nothing and no one would miss him if he didn’t show up or if he disappeared. He knows Jimmy cares and is a good friend and that his father does love him, but that is not enough to soothe the ache.

Evan aches for the mother he never had and a family that could have been. He is haunted by the realistic dreams of looking into a mirror and seeing a brighter, happier version of himself. He feels the pain of the pull of the twin brother he doesn’t know exists, but that his mind, heart and soul is still connected to.

He finds solace in chat rooms and hooking up with the older men he finds there. He’s aware of the danger, fearing it, but ultimately accepting the risk. He’s already risked everything with someone closer to home, what would it matter if they hurt him or he never came home? Evan is every predator’s dream. When the man he meets up with turns out to be attentive and seemingly caring about Evan’s well-being, he grasps at a glimmer of hope only to be cruelly disappointed once again.

Heartbreaking is the only word for this story. As short as it is, Lynn Kelling has managed to paint a gripping picture of a boy on the edge. Knowing what was going to happen didn’t sufficiently prepare me for the pain of reading the details of the events leading to Evan’s final downward spiral as he finally just gives up.

I think the impact of this prequel is stronger having already met Evan in the previously released books, but it would be just as painful and haunting to read if you start with it first. Lynn Kelling has an incredible talent for writing damaged characters with such empathy, you can’t help but be drawn into their lives, wishing you could save them from one bad decision after another. This is a must read for anyone who has enjoyed the Twin Ties books.