Jem by Michelle Abbott
My review follows the authors blurb found on Amazon.
Two injured, stubborn souls meet unexpectedly. Will they save each other from their demons or have they been too damaged for too long to see past the pain?
Growing up, all Jem knew was hatred and the pain from his father’s fists. Taunted by the kids at school, he was alone, until a girl with carrot coloured hair sat next to him.
She was his angel, and he knew he’d love her forever. But Jem’s father hurts him in a way he never expected by taking him away from her.
Now eighteen, scarred inside and out, Jem trusts no one and has worked hard to ensure he’ll never be helpless again. But then he runs into his angel. The only problem is she doesn’t recognize him. Jem needs her to remember him, to show him that their time together meant to her what it did to him. For once in his life he wants to have mattered to someone, to her.
Devon is attracted to the muscular, tattooed, pierced hottie standing by the pub quiz machine. That is, until he punches a guy clean across the bar for daring to touch him. She’s had her fill of violent men and intends to avoid this one at all costs.
This is a standalone, new adult contemporary romance. Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.
Jem was difficult for me to read and review. Childhood abuse – I’ve been there, teenage abuse – I’ve been there, and abuse from a significant other – again, I’ve been there, so this was truly a hard read for me. The main characters, Jem and Devon, each had a difficult past to say the least. At one point, they were like one until Jem’s father decides they must move so that he can’t be arrested for abuse, as Devon told her parents how Jem was abused. I think the ages of Jem and Devon should be older than they were for the time they got to know each other. Time passes and we find out that Devon had a child when she was a teenager and that her abusive boyfriend is trying to hunt her down while she hides from him. Devon moves to the very town that Jem resides and she doesn’t recognize him, yet he knows her. During a visit to a pub, Devon witnessed an attractive man with tattoos throw another man across the room simply because he had touched him. Jem knows Devon right away but she only knows him a tattooed fighter. Later on, when Devon’s ex is abusive to her after finding her, Jem saves Devon, and then they end up in each other’s arms. Devon did this willingly just like the cycle of abuse is to this very day. The narrative has a solid base, yet the characters are underdeveloped by far, and I just don’t understand why Devon would date a man like Jem, except for that very thing – the cycle of abuse pattern. This story lacks depth, development, and feeling. Emotions are only skin deep. Hence the three stars.