Author: Mia Kerick
Publication date: March 1st 2017
Genres: LGBTQ+, New Adult, Romance, Suspense
From bestselling author Mia Kerick comes a New Adult novel of Gay Romantic Suspense that will keep you up reading all night!
Matthew North waited ten years to heal from the devastating wounds inflicted by the man who abducted and abused him as a child. Living reclusively on a tropical island—with no company but his four cats—he merely avoids the lingering pain.
Wearing twisted ropes of mutilated skin on his back, Matt struggles with a profound hindrance—the scars that deaden his soul. However, on the night he meets lively Vedie Wilson, a local restaurant busboy who expresses his gender by wearing lipgloss and eyeliner along with his three-day beard, things change.
Gradually, Vedie and Mateo unite in friendship. Through a series of awkward encounters, the pair learns each other’s secrets. Vedie learns that an angelic face can front for a scarred soul. Matthew learns that the line between one’s masculine and feminine sides is blurred. Can they embrace the painful stories behind each other’s scars if they’re to find everlasting love? Or will surrendered love come to be yet another blemish on their souls?
Scarred is not an easy novel to read but it is masterfully written by Mia Kerick. While she broke my heart and turned me into a blubbering pool of mess, there is an abundance of love and hope in this story, which heals the pain.
Matt and Vedie are complex characters, but the story develops and Kerick strips their layers away and I felt that I had lost two friends when Scarred ended. When we first meet “Crazy Matt” he is living the solitary life he has chosen, disassociating frequently and wearing physical scars which run much deeper than his skin. By using entries from Matt’s journal, Kerick ensures the reader has an understanding of the trauma he has suffered. These journal entries are the key to us unlocking Matt’s secrets and emotions, but there is no denying that they are upsetting to read and could be a trigger for some.
Although Vedie is also in hiding, he is a social creature who is full of life. Vedie is unlike any character I have encountered in fiction before and he enters Matt’s life like a tropical hurricane. Vedie is also damaged because of the violence he has been subjected to at the hands of his family and Kerick is very careful, and sensitive to both men, in the way that she approaches the relationship between them.
The first time Matt waits for Vedie after work, we believe this is for sex, but when Matt shuts down Vedie just ends up holding him all night. What grows between them is more than romance and deeper than friendship. Vedie and Matt gain strength from each other and their acceptance of one another. Whilst Vedie sees past the scars on Matt’s back, Matt looks beyond Vedie’s physical appearance – and there is something beautifully touching about this.
There is no escaping the fact that Kerick deals with very difficult issues in Scarred, but her obvious knowledge and sensitivity does the subject matter justice. Matt is a survivor of horrifying abuse. Kerick addresses every aspect of this and the impact it has had upon him. One of the most defining moments, for me, was when Matt’s mother questions his sexuality because of his past and I love Matt’s answer,
” “I am attracted to people, Mom, not to genders. It wouldn’t matter if Vedie were a man or a woman, gay or straight. It is who he is inside that intrigues and attracts me.” “
Vedie is gender fluid and I think it is really important that Kerick explores this deeply, allowing us to understand that this is more about how Vedie feels, rather than how he dresses. This is best explained by Vedie himself,
” ” I like to cross-dress. That’s what it’s called, you know, when I dress like a lady.” He speaks like he’s reading the words from a textbook, slowly and clearly. “I’m a guy, and I’m good with the body I got born into, but sometimes I wanna be the way I see girls as bein’. Like I wanna wear girls’ clothes, and be soft and sweet, and maybe even cry if it’s how I feel.” “
In my opinion, a writer reveals their talent when they make their reader feel and that is exactly what Kerick accomplishes in Scarred. Whilst there is despair and fear, we also love Matt and Vedie. Yet, for characters like Matt’s parents who only appear in two scenes and Vedie’s family whom we never actually meet, I felt hatred so strong I wanted to punch something!
Whether Scarred concludes with a HEA or HFN did not matter to me. Kerick leaves us with a strong sense of hope, even though we aware that there will be difficult moments for Matt and Vedie for the rest of their journey together.
Scarred is one of the best novels I have read this year. Despite the book hangover I have been left with, I commend Mia Kerick for all she has achieved with this novel.
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.
Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.