Rating: 3.5 stars
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Mickey is a 19-year-old former street fighter who has left that life behind to care for his eight-year-old disabled brother. Their mother passed away and their father is a drunk who doesn’t even live with them. Not only is Mickey taking care of little Flynn, he’s going to college and working at a grocery store. Life is hard, and Mickey isn’t very happy. His friends are criminals and they’re completely unaware he’s gay. The teachers and administrators at Flynn’s school are breathing down his back to show them paperwork stating he’s Flynn’s official guardian. Also, he’s lonely because taking care of Flynn’s a full time job. Resigning himself to the life he’s living, Mickey doesn’t expect to be attracted to his coworker/floor manager at the grocery store, Dan.
Dan’s also lonely. He’s got a degree and had set out to be a teacher, but he stayed at the grocery store after college because he continued to be promoted and the money was decent. He’s got one true friend, Tamsin (his roommate), and he’s only casually acquainted with his coworker. So, imagine his surprise when, on Mickey’s first day, he finds himself drawn to the quiet young man.
Soon, they’re spending time together and Dan’s not only becoming attached to Mickey, but he’s falling in love with Flynn as well. The question is whether they can survive as the little family they’ve become, or whether Mikey’s past get in the way of their happiness.
I love stories where one of the heroes is taking care of a child, whether they’re a son/daughter or a sibling. I get all gooey inside watching a man giving his all to make sure that child is loved and given everything possible. Sometimes, the child can get in the way of a story (too precocious, not precocious enough, bratty), but in Misdemeanor, a nice balance was achieved. Mickey loves his little brother more than anything, and he’s determined to keep him out of foster care. Flynn was born with William’s Syndrome, which Google explains as “a developmental disorder that affects many parts of the body. This condition is characterized by mild to moderate intellectual disability or learning problems, unique personality characteristics, distinctive facial features, and heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) problems”.
Flynn loves everyone. He thinks everyone is his friend, even the children who pick on him at school. He doesn’t even realize he’s being picked on. This will lead to some trouble, eventually. I loved the Flynn character, though. He’s a well written child who tugged at my heart, especially during his interactions with Mickey and Dan.
Mickey, as a character, was a little more difficult to love. He was closed off and occasionally seemed to resent Flynn and his lot in life. After all, he’s only 19 years old, and he’s caring for a disabled child while his friends are out drinking and partying. His love for the boy is obvious, though, and he’d do anything for him…even giving up his own happiness.
I liked Dan a little more than Mickey. He was a good manager, even though his was put upon by his boss. What I really liked about him was how, as he was falling for Mickey, he was falling for Flynn as well. He was willing to help with him and ease Mickey’s burdens. He actually wanted to be a family. Mickey pushed him away more than once, and he continued to be supportive. Even when it seemed like Mickey had pushed him away for good, Dan still felt the love for both.
The background characters all fit their roles well. I didn’t like Mickey’s friends at all. Not only were they criminals, they were assholes in general…Jason especially. He even broke into the supermarket and stole some meat, not even considering Mickey could be fired. I did like Dan’s BFF Tamsin. She wanted Dan to be happy, and she seemed to know Mickey could be who Dan needed. She was an excellent confidante and she was protective of Dan when it seemed like Mickey had broken Dan beyond repair.
I have to say, I didn’t really connect with Mickey and Danny the way I’d hoped. As I said, I tend to like stories where children play prominent roles. In the case of Misdemeanor, I liked the child better than the MCs. I would love to know a child as loving and sweet as Flynn. However, I’m not so sure about Mickey and Dan. They were frustrating to me and I didn’t really feel them as a couple. On paper, they seem like they’re perfect for each other, but to me, it felt rushed and a little forced. They had some sexual chemistry, but even that fell a little flat for me. Their relationship started to get better toward the end, but here’s the rub (and a warning), Misdemeanor is a serial and ends in a cliffhanger. I wasn’t paying attention to the progress of the story, and suddenly, it was over. On top of that, it didn’t even seem like the appropriate place to stop. I let out a growl that woke my husband (I tend to read a lot at night. Heh.).
I didn’t dislike Misdemeanor. I just wanted more. I’m going to cautiously recommend it to readers who like stories with kids and angst. Also, even though, as I said, I didn’t connect like I’d hoped, I will definitely read book two of the serial, and any others to follow because I want to see what the author has in store for Mickey, Dan, and Flynn. I have the feeling it won’t be boring.
This does sound intriguing. But, yes, a cliffhanger ending would have me growling, too! Thanks for your review, Kenna.