Monday, December 14, 2015

It Was a Thursday by Carol Lynne

It was a Thursday. The day one eighteen-year-old gunman would change the lives of an entire town.

Principal Mark Kurtz loved his school. He worked hard to give his students every advantage in life, but he could have never predicted that on a warm day in May, a distraught senior would commit an unimaginable act of vengeance on his classmates.

In the aftermath of the shooting that left both students and faculty members dead, Mark must deal with his own guilt while trying to help those around him feel safe once again.

Mark’s problems are compounded when an old flame, Lane Warner, arrives in town to help treat the trauma victims. How can he possibly deal with his own guilt, be there for his seventeen-year-old son and confront the part of himself he’s always denied while trying to heal a broken community?

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3.5 stars total
5 stars on the Aftermath
2 stars on the romance.

It was a Thursday was a highly compelling read. The aftermath of a school shooting, as well as the way it dove back into the past to examine why it happened, were done with great compassion. I was emotional while reading, but I couldn't put the book down.

Narrators: Mark (the principal), Max (Mark's son), Ally (a small POV by Mark's ex-wife/Max's mother), and Lane (Mark's ex-roommate/lover/trauma therapist).

In the aftermath, Mark holds a wealth of grief for not keeping his students safe, especially with the zero-tolerance policy on bullying. But the shooter says directly to Mark how Mark couldn't protect him off school grounds. I found Mark's emotions true-to-life when it came to the aftermath of the shooting. What I didn't find to be true is how quickly (in less than a week) he came to terms with being gay, admitting he was gay, and coming out to everyone. Mark had spent 20 years ignoring his nature out of fear of how people would perceive him (this portion was realistic). However, the speed in which Mark comes to terms with his nature was too rapid, even for such a short novella.

Max's narration was an injection of sweet innocence and the voice of reason. I thoroughly enjoyed Max, and was relieved when his POV returned. Max was integral to solving why Scott shot up the gymnasium during graduation rehearsal, while showing how children will persevere.

Lane, even while in his mind, I didn't feel like I knew anything of him. The character development was all one-sided in the romance. In fact, the reader knew more of Max's life, and his best friend, than Lane (even while in his head). All I know is that Lane loved Max for twenty years and was a therapist.

The reason for the shooting was realistic, painful to read, eye-opening, and tragic. More than realistic. The short passage back in the past was written in a fuzzy gray area to blur all that happened except what took place in the foreground between the shooter (Scott) and the principal (Mark). It was heart-pounding and earth shattering to read, but done with compassion instead of shock-value.

When it came to the romance, it was almost like it was in poor taste. Perhaps if the book had been longer to support the romance angle, my views would change. The bones of the romance were great, just poorly executed. I do believe the length was perfect for the 'aftermath' angle. But the romance needed more time to develop, and we (the reader) needed more pages and scenes (maybe a flashback to college days) to connect to the characters on an emotional/human level, instead of only as victims of a school shooting. Mark went from shoving Lane in a parking lot to spending the night with him only hours later, with no true conversation to change the course of their lives. Mark was terrified, shouting he was straight, then Lane pretty much moved in an hour later. It was instant life partner, with Lane showing no resentment over 20 years of being frozen out or how Mark treated him senior year in college. The romance was too pretty and tied in a nice bow for such a poignant read.

The news conference: I was disappointed at the direction the book took.

One: Mark made the shooting about him instead of the shooter (who was a victim in his own right) and the gone from this earth and living victims. Mark made something that should have been about closure about coming out as a gay man, when it was NOT about him. I lost all respect for him after reading this.

Two: Mark stated they'd never know why the shooting took place, when we (the reader) spent the entirety of the novella learning why it took place, and the victims and their families, and Scott's family deserved knowing why.

Three: While Scott was bullied for being gay, it was bullying in general that led to the events that had him snapping. This needed to be addressed more so than in the context of being gay. The bully boys who are still living, they needed to get help because their actions combined with what happened are a stepping stone for causing mass violence as well – this needed to be more than a passing blip in the narration, as it was the sole reason the story existed. Scott didn't snap because he was gay; he snapped because he was heinously bullied. While I understood the compassion and empathy angle of Mark's speech, I felt making it about him coming out, making it about being gay, was in poor taste instead of making it about the devastating effects of bullying. This would have been accomplished by actually giving everyone closure by explaining the 'why.'

All in all, the aftermath was written flawlessly, as were the emotions felt by the students and the principal, but the romance diluted that message.

Genre: MM Romance | Psychological trauma | Social Issues |

Ms. Lynne took an event that affects everyone in some way. It either affects you personally or it's something you hear about on the news, but everyone is aware of this new "normal" that we are living. School shootings seem to happens more than some would like to admit. Ms. Lynne looked past the sensationalism of it and turned it into something that maybe hits a little closer to home.

It was a Thursday is finding out what happens after a school shooting. How some are trying to cope with their survivor's guilt and some are just trying to cope with understanding why. The reasons to why the shooting happened and the minutes leading up to the shooter's death are emotional and heart breaking to read. It was very well written. It didn't go for that shock and awe of the situation but a more realistic emotional cause and effect.

The love story that is wrapped into the story just seems almost out of place for me. I like the characters and the connection that they had, but I was more interested in the rest of the story and less about the two men falling back in love.

Overall it was a well written, emotional read.

An avid reader for years, one day Carol Lynne decided to write her own brand of erotic romance. Carol juggles between being a full-time mother and a full-time writer. These days, you can usually find Carol either cleaning jelly out of the carpet or nestled in her favourite chair writing steamy love scenes.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of It Was a Thursday by Carol Lynne to read and review.

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