Title: Shade’s Champion
Author Name & Publisher: Cheryl Headford (Wayward Ink Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: December 18, 2015 – 295 pgs
Shade has been kept in the dark for eight long years. Now he’s facing a world that terrifies him. A world that seems to hold no place for him.
When the authorities are unable to find a home for Shade, Penny, reluctantly accepts him into the secure school she manages, despite thinking it’s the wrong place for him. Penny fears for his safety among the other troubled children. In an attempt to forestall the disaster she predicts will happen she appoints one of them as his champion.
Dory, an engaging seventeen year old with mental health issues, is proud to be chosen as Shade’s champion and throws his heart and soul into the job. In doing so he is forced to face the thing he fears most – his own emotions.
An unexpected friendship begins to grow into something more, until a spiteful act tears them apart and leaves them broken.
When Dory falls ill, Shade is forced to face his demons and struggles to find the strength and courage he needs to fight for the right to love, and to be there for his champion when he needs him most.
Triggers: Abuse, mental health issues, attempted suicide, wards of the state, bullying
Dory is such a wonderful character. I love that despite his issues he is the bubbly character who really doesn’t allow life to get him down. I hated that he was allowed to be bullied. It made me so sad for him. Despite his issues, he really developed in this story. He grew, matured, loved, hated and survived.
Then you have Shade. What a tragic story for him. I wanted to really dislike his family – with good reason. He was so sad, had such a tough start that you just wanted to hug him and never let go.
Penny and the staff at the facility were the gems of the story – despite some misguided decisions, they genuinely cared for the children in their care. This was a story of a system that is broken and people trying to make the best of it. When things are not all hearts and roses, someone needs to be able to take the thorns and keep on gardening.
This was an emotional story. While I didn’t cry while reading, I could see people having a difficult time with the subject/story, so just be forewarned that despite it’s romance, first love in nature, there is a lot of tough stuff in this book.