Sacrificed is the 6th and final book in J.P. Baranaby’s fabulous Little Boy Lost series. For those of you who haven’t been following along, I have been reading this series over the past couple of months and found it just amazing. Over the course of the series we watch our heroes, Jamie and Brian, grow up from teenagers in love in a small town to young men who have suffered through pain and heartache to eventually find love and happiness once again. I have been eagerly awaiting this last installment and the resolution to this story, and I am happy to say it did not disappoint. [Note: As with the rest of this series, this book picks up right at the end of the previous story and will have spoilers for the other books.]
When Sacrificed begins, Jamie is living with his father and trying to get his life back together. He is working with a doctor to try to get his seizures under control, going to support group meetings and therapy, and figuring out what he wants to do with his life. But Jamie is still so wounded from Brian breaking things off with him. Although he feels terrible for betraying Brian’s trust by buying drugs, he is also hurt that Brian had promised to stand by him but now refuses to communicate with Jamie at all. Jamie is also terrified with the lingering threats of prison from poisoning Steven. The police are still asking questions about that night and Jamie worries that all the positive changes in his life may fall apart if they find out the truth.
With support from his father and his friends, Jamie soon starts to make progress in life, getting through his rehab successfully and beginning to look towards going to college. He finally decides that he is willing to do whatever it takes to fight for Brian. He knows that Brian put his life on hold and refused to give up on finding Jamie and saving him. And so Jamie is determined not to give up on Brian, and is committed to showing him how much he has changed and that he is worthy of Brian’s love.
Oh, this was such a wonderful ending to a fabulous series. I feel like I have been on this journey right along with Jamie and Brian and I loved seeing things finally come together for them in this final book. It has been such a difficult struggle – the last time they were both happy and healthy together was way back in the first book, Enlightened. But the wait was definitely worth it, and Barnaby gives us a lovely and romantic ending that is all the sweeter for being so hard earned.
We see so much growth in both Brian and Jamie throughout the series and this last book really highlights that. Brian has always been the caretaker, giving up his life to find Jamie and willing to do whatever is needed to take care of him. In the last book, we finally see Brian standing up to look out for himself, to protect his heart and his emotions when Jamie is too out of control, terrified at the addict Jamie has become. I was glad to see that Brian has learned he needs to take care of himself sometimes. But it was so sweet to see him realize that Jamie has grown and changed from the person he was a few months before and that Jamie can be trusted with Brian’s heart once again. And now that he can be free to give himself to Jamie again, Brian throws himself whole-heartedly back into caring for him. He continues to be such a sweet guy and wonderful character.
The person who has changed the most over the series, of course, is Jamie. He has gone from sweet boy with a loving family, to hurt and abandoned by those he loves most. He suffered through abuse, addiction, seizures, forced participation in pornography, the loss of his family, and devastation to his feelings of self-worth. Yet despite all that, he is determined to turn his life around. I was so happy to see the further development of his relationship with his father. As important as Brian is in Jamie’s life, knowing that his father has not abandoned or given up on him is so crucial to Jamie and I really enjoyed seeing the growth of their relationship over the last two books. And finally in this last book we see that Jamie’s future looks bright once again which is so wonderful.
In Sacrificed we also get to see so many of our favorite characters from throughout the series. We check back in with Richard and Carolyn, Brian’s old friend and teacher Kyle, and of course, all the friends from the boarding house. Jamie and Brian continue their close friendship with Mike and Alex, although things are strained with Em for a long time. It was hard for Em after Brian and Mike both ended their sexual relationship with him and got worse when Jamie turned him away as well. It took a little time for Em to find himself in this story, and I will say this is probably the only part that didn’t totally work for me. We get a lot of build up to how difficult things are for Em and it is clear how hurt he is and how hard it is to watch his friends all pair up while he still has no one. But the resolution to this just comes so fast and seemingly out of nowhere that it just seemed a bit too pat. But I was still pleased to see Em finally happy and all the guys in a good place in their lives.
I must say that rarely have I read a series that made such a deep emotional impact. We experience such highs and lows along with the guys, and Barnaby isn’t afraid to bring the pain and sadness along with their joy and wonder. I really enjoyed the way the books are structured, with the first three stories giving us Brian’s POV while he is the one doing most of the action, then switching to Jamie for the last half when he becomes the key focus. I also really liked the way the books all connect into essentially one long story. There is never a break in the action from the time the first book starts until we finish the final words, which I think helps give that feeling of being totally immersed in Brian and Jamie’s world. So I am sad to see this series come to an end, but I can’t recommend it highly enough. Barnaby has taken us on a great emotional journey through such highs and lows, and with Sacrificed she has given us a great ending worthy of such a great series. The whole thing is simply fabulous.