Boomerangby Published 06 Mar 2018
Michael Sterling disappeared from his Maine town five years ago. Everyone assumed he was kidnapped. Everyone was wrong.
Now, at seventeen, he’s Sean Woodhouse. And he’s come “home,” to the last place he wants to be, to claim the small inheritance his grandparents promised him when he graduated high school, all so he can save Trip, the boy he developed an intense and complicated relationship with while he was away.
Sean has changed, but so has his old town and everyone in it. And knowing who he is and where he belongs is more confusing than ever. As his careful plans begin to crumble, so does everything he’s believed about his idyllic other life.
Told in gorgeous prose, Boomerang is an honest, authentic exploration of coming to terms with who you are, what you want, and how vast the distance can be between the two.
HOLY WOW I MIGHT CRY. I'm not kidding: this book is so so stressful. It's also super character driven, the messy and angsty and heartfelt and bursting with emotions types of characters. And I knew from like page 2 that this book was going to be intense. Did I mention sTReSSfUL?? I literally had my heart in my mouth for ages omg. Although I admit that was good and bad. I am ALL for torturing readers (lmao this is what authors live for) but I found some of Sean's actions really really annoying to the point of non-enjoyment.
But I mean ultimately: I really loved this book and the tension was INCREDIBLE so just A+ for the writing. UGHHHHH it was good but stressful.
+ So it's a missing-child story, but also with a twist!
Sean (really Michael) had a really neglectful mother so he ran away at 12 and sort of got himself "adopted" by an old lovely couple in the woods. HOWEVER. That's super super shady, m8, so as nice as his "adoptive" parents were it's STILL SHADY. (I love these morally grey story lines omg.) But Sean's mother always thought he was kidnapped...so he shows up home after 5 years and like THAT'S awkward to learn he ran away.
Anyway this was all SUPER well written and compelling and I just...I loved it. I loved the complications of loving people who've done wrong.
+ Holy heckkk the starlight of my life though: Trip Marchette.
He's the boy next door and Sean's childhood crush, buuuuut it's complicated. It's messy and it's unnamed and sometimes they're downright poisonous for each other. Trip's abused by his uncle (CUE MY HEART BReaKINg) and Sean gets so caught up in his own self-righteousness that ugh. Anyway I'm STILL mad at Sean and a lot of things he said to Trip. This ship. I swear. I shipped them so hard and they fought SO MUCH. This is why I aged 17 years reading this book. I'm so sTREssED by these angsty boys.
+ Ok but there is a love triangle.
I won't spoil things: but I hated it lmao. Emery (who Sean meets when he goes home) IS lovely and her character was excellently done, but it was just so freaking frustrating to read Sean seeing her and being all "instalove". So bad, Sean, so bad. And his whole "looking into her eyes felt like we'd already had sex"...I just threw up. But ok. It was just hard when he was still so emotionally entwined with Trip to see him instaloving a random girl.
i JUST. HATE. TRIANGLES.
+ Also there is no Australianness in it with the boomerangs.
As an Australian, MY FEELINGS ARE HURT. (Lmao, just kidding, but vegemite and I are totally put out.)
+ Also I really love how diverse it was!
It's queer here, there and everywhere. No labels are used (I'm actually pro-labelling things because I think it's positive and helps you find your people) but I think the non-labels was done respectfully! I assume that Sean is probably bi or pan and Trip gay. Also Trip has dyslexia and I loved how it was done! I have mild dyslexia so definitely not a solid voice on this matter, but it was nice to see a character who couldn't tell left from right?! #relatable Like the details with his dyslexia felt excellently done.
+ I seriously couldn't put it down.
It was compelling, the pacing was A+, the characters were ALL dimensional and interesting too. Like even the secondary ones!! How freaking well written was this book, right?! It's very character driven and full of complex and twisted emotions and moral dilemas.
+ Also it's a book to make you think.
About consequences and actions. About what love means and how it can show itself. About selfishness and selfless-ness and holding on and letting go. And how GOOD did it cover these?! Excellently.
Basically put me out of my misery and reeeead this too so we can be emotional wrecks together. I won't lie: the triangle very very nearly ruined it for me, but the writing was SO GOOD and the ending just about made me cry. And it managed to talk about abuse and stolkholm syndrome and drugs and queerness and brokeness ALL SO WELL without doing anything by halves.
HOLY WOW. I CAN'T STOP THINKING ABOUT THIS ONE.
Official blurb: "BOOMERANG is a masterfully crafted story about identity, family, and the meaning of home. The wholly original premise sucked me in, and the characters, all aching in different ways, kept me there. This is a YA novel that begs to be reread, talked about, and held close to your heart."
Intentionally, it takes a while to get your bearings in this book.
Michael disappeared 5 years ago and suddenly shows back up now going by the name Sean. We get bits and pieces of Sean’s story of what happened slowly. It takes a bit to piece together what happened. Everyone thinks Michael was kidnapped, but really he ran away to escape his addicted mother. He wanted to find somewhere he felt he was noticed and mattered.
He convinced an older couple a town over to keep him hidden. He changed his hair color and barely left their property. He grew to love this couple as his family. What he wasn’t expecting was Trip, the boy next door. Trip’s parents died and now he is living with his abusive uncle. Trip visits Sean’s new house to escape his uncle. The boys become close quickly, a very strong bond between them.
Then Trip sets a plan for Sean to go home in motion earlier than expected. Sean has a trust fun from his grandparents that they plan to use to get away from Trip’s uncle. Problem is, Sean wasn’t aware of the stipulations of the trust, which very clearly state that the money is only to be used to go to a specific college or it gets donated to a charity.
While trying to figure out a loophole to gain access to his trust Sean must deal with what he left behind years ago. His mother seems to have gotten her life back together. She’s been sober for a while, is in AA, and has a steady job. His old best friend, Jenny, has been holding on to 12 year old Michael and is in love with him. He meets a new girl who was at a party shortly before he came back who knows some of his secrets. He is feeling pressure from the cops to press charges against the couple who “kidnapped” him even though he has told them several times he wasn’t kidnapped.
One of the things I really liked about this book was that Sean’s sexuality wasn’t a major plot point. Yes, he struggles with what he had with Trip and some feelings he has for another girl. But his sexuality isn’t ever really a problem. He knows he likes Trip (just not to what extent) and he knows he likes the girl. I feel like more of his problem with who he wanted to end up with was if he should take the easy route and be with the girl or the more complicated route with baggage and be with Trip. I don’t really ever think he was worried about the fact that he was choosing between a girl and a boy. The only indication that he even thought about it was when he says he’s not really surprised his mom isn’t disappointed when he tells her he loves a boy.
This book had me on edge the entire time. For a long while I was unsure we were going to get a clear cut ending. I was worried it was going to leave a lot of things unsettled. But everything was tied up nicely for the most part and I was very happy with the ending and the way things with Trip and his uncle were handled.
There is a lot of stuff in this book I didn’t touch on in this review. There is just so much good stuff packed in it’s almost hard to cover it all. But, go read this book!!
I just finished this beautiful, character driven story of finding oneself and the complex experiences of becoming an adult. I am broken and rekindled all at once. This book will definitely make my top 10 this year.
“You need to know,” he started, and I closed my eyes waiting for him to punch me or tell me that he never wanted to see me again. “Even when we’re old, like Maggie said … every time I look at you, I’m going to be thinking of doing that again.”
Sean is a character readers won't easily forget. Throughout his life, he's had to make some tough decisions, some of which seem selfish and selfless at the same time. He's dealt with trauma and loss and goes through much heartache before getting some answers. Some answers he never gets - and isn't that life?
I appreciate Helene following through on the ending and giving us a bit more. I had accepted a different path for Sean and was happy to get the best of both worlds.
Sometimes we can't save others, we just have to save ourselves and hope it all comes together.
There are two types of multilayered stories: those who have to be unravelled in pretty much the same way one peels an onion, if not with growing irritation at least with alacrity at the pains required, since the entire peel sticks together and cannot easily be torn apart into neat pieces, and those who most resemble a Russian doll, or Matryoshka, in which every embedded layer mirrors the overlapping one while subverting and thematically deepening it, the whole being far richer and more beautiful than each of the parts could ever hope to be. Boomerang belongs to this latter class - beautifully yet crisply and lucidly written, lavish where it counts with a sharp eye both for minute details, the characterization of small-town atmosphere and the citizens' judgmentalities, and the orverarching structure of the plot, deep in ways that were subtly foreshadowed whenever they have not been left for the reader's smarts to guess at, with impressively complex characters the nuances of whose seldom feel contrived despite the sheer difficulty of creating a strong love triangle and maintaining it for hundreds pages, it progresses along a tantalizing pace until the inevitable, yet hard to fathom, conclusion. I will not say more so as not to spoil this finely crafted slice of life by a wonderfully talented writer. Bravo! Reading it went quite a long way towards repaying me for my dry spell (for it seems that I only got attracted to terrible books for the past month or so - blurbs do have a way of misleading even a seasoned reader of romance).