“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” — Mulan
Title: This Is Not a Love Story
Author: Suki Fleet
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Pages/Word Count: 270 Pages
Rating: 5 Stars
Blurb: When fifteen-year-old Romeo’s mother leaves one day and doesn’t return, he finds himself homeless and trying to survive on the streets. Mute and terrified, his silence makes him vulnerable, and one night he is beaten by a gang of other kids, only to be rescued by a boy who pledges to take care of him.
Julian is barely two years older than Romeo. A runaway from an abusive home, he has had to make some difficult choices and sells himself on the street to survive. Taking care of Romeo changes him, gives him a purpose in life, gives him hope, and he tries to be strong and keep his troubles with drugs behind him. But living as they do is slowly destroying him, and he begins to doubt he can be strong enough.
This is the story of their struggle to find a way off the streets and stay together at all costs. But when events threaten to tear them apart, it is Romeo who must find the strength within himself to help Julian (and not let their love story turn into a Shakespearean tragedy).
Review: Having never read this author before, I was first intrigued by the title, This Is Not a Love Story. Such a great title. After reading the blurb, I knew I just had to read it. I was not disappointed. From the very first page this author put you on the streets of London right along with Julian and Remee, aka Romeo, two homeless teenagers doing what they can to survive. These two stole my heart.
I think what I loved most about this story was the way the author doesn’t hold back the ugliness and harsh reality of life on the streets. We get a clear picture of the violence, drug use, prostitution and hunger that is life for the homeless. But despite all the heartache, we also see beauty. The beauty of friendship and love that is woven into the storyline.
The story is told entirely in Romeo’s POV. What makes this so unique is Romeo is mute. Through him we come to know Julian, a boy who saved him from street thugs and has sworn to protect him. Through his eyes we see the struggle to survive day and night. We watch Julian sell himself to earn a little money, search for food and to find a safe place to sleep. Although it was hard to read and watch these two suffer as they did, it was also beautiful to watch their friendship turn into something more.
There is a point in the story when Romeo has a chance at a real home and family. It’s something Julian really wants for him. As the two get separated it’s a mad dash for Romeo to find Julian. Let me just say, I have never had my heart beat so fast while reading a book. The anticipation of what would happen next left me on the edge of my seat. I won’t put any spoilers out there, you’ll just have to read it to find out what happens.
As much as I love the two main characters, the secondary characters in this book are just as memorable. The ex lover who helps these two find a little comfort of home, even for a short while. The cafe owner who makes sure they get something to eat and at times gives them a dry place to sleep. And all the others we meet in between, be it friend or foe, are truly unforgettable.
There aren’t many stories out there that render me speechless, but this one certainly did. The reality of homelessness isn’t pretty and the author doesn’t gloss over that fact. At times this story was really hard to read because of that reality. In our society we come to view the homeless as a nuisance, Romeo and Julian will make you think differently.
I encourage everyone to read this heartwarming story, you won’t be disappointed.
You can buy This Is Not a Love Story here: