Love overcoming adversity. It’s a simplistic way to describe JP Barnaby’s penchant for the art she creates on the page. If you were to delve deeper however, you’d be more inclined to call it love in the face of utter fucked-upness! The Queen of the Obscene is back with a torrid tale of bashing down boundaries in lieu of post traumatic stress and survivors guilt. 2012’s Aaron was released on the Dreamspinner Press for all to enjoy, being awarded the Goodreads M/M Romance Members Choice Award for 2012.
From the mastermind behind the Little Boy Lost series, Barnaby brings us the artful tale of Aaron Downing, who two years after the brutal humiliation of a violent sexual attack found his entire life left splayed on the garage floor, pressed beneath the drunken hold of his assailants. Aaron is no longer alive, merely a vessel for violent flashbacks; unable to laugh, cry, eat or be touched.
As Aaron’s father gives up hope on his son’s recovery, Aaron is forced back into the real world and into an Associates degree course, a small token to his family that he is trying his hardest, a plea not to institutionalise him. This local college course is where Aaron meets Spencer Thomas, a deaf kid who feels the sting of isolation every day himself, and when the two are thrown together for a class project, they find that their isolation leads to connection, and thus begins a tortured love story that swells the heart.
Seeking aid from Spencer’s father, Dr Thomas, a highly specialized trauma Psychologist, Aaron starts to deal with his past, the story unfolding into a tale of trust and determination in every wonderfully crafted page. I won’t give away the plot, that’s not the point, but my recommendation would be to pick up your copy of Aaron now.
JP Barnaby writes her characters into a vivid reality, and you can see how she nurtures her creations simply by following her twitter feed. She builds their realities with pieces of herself, carved out of the friends she has made and splices them with her experiences. Whilst you might think that the premise is a tad gory for consideration, Barnaby never elicits more detail than necessary; she doesn’t divulge the horrendous torture to its full potential, instead focusing on the feeling over the fact. She won’t regale you with a stream of vicious imagery, instead leaving the reader to fill in the gaps while she focuses on taking her characters hands and leading them safely to the back end of the story. It’s breathtaking to behold the care she takes when forging the stories, that ability leading her to become a household name to all those enamoured with the M/M genre.
Also known under her alto-ego, Jamie Mayfield, Barnaby has released Aaron’s story in YA format, bending the story to fit a younger audience. The title of the YA release, A Broken Kind of Life, was released a few days ago on the prestigious Harmony Ink Press. As with the majority of her Jamie Mayfield releases, 100% of proceeds from the author’s royalties are donated to helping homeless LGBT kids find shelter. Not only an artist; the woman is a saint to boot.
Aaron is book one in Survivor series, the sequel Painting Fire on the Air to be released later this month, another book artfully covered with one of her porn-star friends.
So to recap: she writes like a poet, schmoozes with the hottest gay porn stars and donates her earnings to charity. If that’s not enough of a reason to love the woman, then I don’t know what is.
You can pick up your copy of Aaron here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3264
Or it’s YA counterpart A Broken Kind of Life here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4154
You can also pre-order your copy of Painting Fire on the Air from Dreamspinner Press now: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4217
Keep up to date with author at her website: http://www.jpbarnaby.com
You can also follow JP Barnaby on twitter: @JPBarnaby and @JamieMayfieldYA
And for those of you who loved Aaron as much as I did, head over to her new blog A Fucked Up Kind of Life, a blog written as if by her character himself. You can follow that blog by heading to the following link: https://fckedupkindoflife.wordpress.com/
Go, enjoy, weep a little. There’s a reason why JP Barnaby is so highly regarded. Pick up Aaron now and find out why.