Book Review: Jem by Michelle Abbott

JemTwo 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 smiled.
She listened.
She cared.

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.



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This book was received in exchange for an honest review.

No one wants to be four year old Jem’s friend, they call him names and accuse him of having the lurgy. When those kids look at Jem all they see is a flea ridden skip rat – not seven year old Devon. Devon sees a sweet little boy that only wants to be loved. When Devon discovers bruises and scars all over Jem’s tiny body, she confides in her mother with disasterous consequences. Jem’s family disappears and Devon never see’s him again.

Fourteen years later, Devon is on the run from her abusive boyfriend who is also the father of her three year old son. When she arrives in a small English seaside town, she promptly makes friends with her neighbors who often take her out. On one visit to the pub, Devon watches as an insanely attractive tattooed man beats the crap out of someone—just for touching him.

Jem recognizes Devon the minute he sets eyes on her—she was the only good memory he had of his childhood and her image is forever burned into his brain. As Jem tries to become closer to Devon, he struggles to understand how she could’ve forgotten him. Devon is completely unaware of Jem’s true identity, but when he saves her from her abusive ex one night, she welcomes him into her arms.

When I read the blurb for this book, I got really excited as it sounded just the sort of thing I like. It’s told from first person points of view of both Jem and Devon and I absolutely adore this kind of story telling, especially with the second chance romance aspect.

The premise sounded fantastic; sadly it didn’t live up to my expectations. The backbone of the plot is so good and it could have been wonderful, but jumpy dialogue and monotonous writing held it back. There were blocks of text where every sentence began in ‘I’ which really distracted me. This book could’ve been seeped in emotion and feelings and heartbreaking inner thought. Unfortunately, even though we get first person accounts, we don’t get very much feeling. When I’m reading a book I like to exist within the story, but I felt like an outsider peering in, never getting a true sense of how the characters were feeling physically or emotionally. I couldn’t connect to either characters and I really, really wanted to.

70% of the way in to the book, Devon still hasn’t asked Jem his name—this is despite interacting with him several times, Jem rescuing her from her ex and Devon arranging a date with him, yet when she meets his roommate, she asks her what her name is within minutes.

The cover also has me a little confused. In the book, Jem is covered in tattoos, some of which are described in detail. There’s even a conversation about how he wouldn’t be able to fit more tattoos on his arms, yet one glance at the cover completely contradicts this.

Such a damn shame. As much as I wanted to love this book, I couldn’t and it saddens me. 2/5



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