Echo came back from London, but he was supposed to stay there for community service. He wants to be an artist, not a criminal, and artful graffiti is something he’s good at. Echo also has a debt, the kind that never goes away, and he’s not sure how much longer he can run from it. Things aren’t any better once Echo leaves London, as he gets in over his head with a drug gang and he has no idea how to get himself straightened out. And then Echo meets Peri.
When Echo sees Peri, he sees everything good. Peri is sweet and bright and from the moment they lock eyes, they know they are home. Echo knows he should stay away from Peri. He knows he can only bring Peri trouble, but Peri is the only lifeline Echo has right now. Peri has an auditory processing disorder and he teaches Echo sign language and life is quiet during the few moments they get to spend together. Echo is scared and he’s so tired of constantly looking over his shoulder. Echo wants to keep Peri safe and it’s easy for the two of them to fall in love, but that may not be enough.
I have read almost every book that Suki Fleet has published and her words and her books are a complete experience. She creates worlds with characters who constantly struggle and I always know, even though her books can be difficult, they will be rewarding. The words and the characters always manage to completely immerse me and I know it’s best to have time set aside to fully appreciate reading her books.
I found this book a little easier than some of her others. Both Echo and Peri have significant struggles, but there was not as much darkness and a little more hope and that had a lot to do with Peri. Peri lives with his adopted parents in a stable home and they own Orchard House, which is a special place for those that need one. A childhood accident left Peri with some struggles to overcome, but he remains positive and is waiting for the day he finds someone he can share his whole life with. He knows immediately that Echo is that person.
Echo is homeless and running from a lot of things. He needs money and when there aren’t many choices, he gets in way over his head and makes enemies of some dangerous people. He’s the kind of character that you really just can’t wait until he finds peace and his happy ending. He and Peri have a deep connection and Echo just feels better when he is near Peri, but Echo is concerned about bringing trouble to Peri’s door.
Overall, the book flows well, but Juliette is the one character that didn’t seem to fit into all of this for me. While she was at Orchard House for a reason, for as loving and supportive as Peri’s parents were, I didn’t understand why they allowed her to treat Peri as she did.
This book is everything you would expect from a Suki Fleet novel. With dark moments and violence offset by light and hope, this is an excellent choice for a book of two boys finally finding their place in the world.