★ ★ ★
Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte
5…there really aren’t enough stars for this book!
‘Trav thought of the song – his song – and the cry from the invisible boy who slept in forgotten corners and lived to make people love him or hate him or anything so long as they didn’t forget his name.’
BEST READ OF THE YEAR!! HOW? HOW CAN OUR WORDS DO JUSTICE TO THIS BOOK? There are stories we read that burrow their way into a little piece of our hearts, the ones we think about every now and again, and then there are stories like Beneath the Stain, a priceless piece of exceptional and heartfelt storytelling that stands out from the very first to the very last page, is detailed with such aching that it has such a staggering emotional effect on you, and you know it will stay with you always and is something you’ll NEVER forget! This…. THIS book personified everything we love about reading.
“I’m trying to follow all the steps and check all the boxes. But my heart hurts and my skin aches, and God, I just want to be touched…….Can you touch me and then look at me tomorrow, and it will be okay?”
Beneath the Stain didn’t merely take a piece of our hearts, it obliterated them, made them soar and we may never recover, but then again, we don’t want to. We want to saviour and cherish this reading experience forever and we will! There was nothing superfluous about Mackey, Trav, Grant, Kell, Stevie, Blake and Jefferson’s story. Every word…EVERY SINGLE WORD felt like a precious gift to be treasured and guarded with our every fibre of our being.
‘Trav couldn’t explain the surge of protectiveness, of reluctant admiration, that knotted his stomach when he watched Mackey sleep. He was defenceless like this, every bit of sarcasm, sass, and fire shuttered behind closed eyes. Trav had to protect him when he slept – who else would? So far the world had done a stunningly poor job of taking care of Mackey Sanders.’
Amy Lane delivered a story with so much depth, so much emotion, so many layers and she brought it all to life with such incredible striking imagery that we became a part of her world…. active participants in her story. At no time were we mere spectators. We lived and breathed the triumphs, tragedies, pain and heartbreak with each and every character. We felt their pain so deep in our hearts there were times we sobbed so hard our chests heaved and we couldn’t breathe.
“It’s just that I’ve finally seen you not awful. You’re stunning.”
Yes, this is a love story between Trav and Mackey but it so much more. This is a story of friendships, loyalty, family, love, overcoming prejudice and finding peace within you, and very, very rarely do we get to experience a story that encompasses this dynamic so breathtakingly beautifully and with such real emotion as this one. The dynamics of the relationships singularly were so diverse, yet as a whole so cohesive….so right, so real, so relatable. These guys may have been unconventional but each one had so much heart and was so unique….we loved them all.
‘It was a pure, unfiltered glimpse into Mackey James Sanders heart, and it was battered and bloody and still a little broken. But healing.’
At the centre of it all was the talented, temperamental, sensitive and almost ethereal McKay (Mackey) Sanders and what a fascinatingly flawed and complex character he was. A man plagued by demons, hiding his sexuality and who really just needs to feel loved and be accepted.
“It’s hard loving people that bright, that shiny, that they make everyone else in the world look dim.”
One of the most beautiful characters we’ve ever had the pleasure to meet was Travis (Trav) Ford. This stoic ex-military, man of order and timed precision who is entrusted with the job of looking after this bunch of rag tag rockers, would start out as the manager of Outlaw Monkey, yet soon becomes one of the most important in their lives, not only to Mackey, but to all the boys and his relationships with these boys was awe inspiring and really hits at the heart of the reader.
“You can’t be the whole album, Trav. You just can’t. But you can be the best songs.”
Beneath the Stain is pure emotion. It’s ALL about the story….no page filling nookie in this book. Every word served a purpose, every scene, every detail so vivid and so important, and so meaningful to their journey.
Amy Lane held us captive and transfixed through this entire story. Be it when she was whipping us into frenzy as an active, entranced audience member being beguiled by the extraordinary Mackey and the guys of Outbreak Monkey as they performed on stage. Or tearing out our hearts with some of the most intense, heartbreaking scenes we’ve read, or knotting our stomachs with her little teases of the angst that was to unfold, even giggling over the banter between the family and let’s not forget the times our hearts swelled with the love conveyed so masterfully through the pages.
‘Trav knew the real boy underneath, and he was three times as beautiful as the image.’
We could go on and on about this story and between us we WILL for a long time to come because we want to relive the tender, beautifully touching moments of this book again and again. Beneath the Stain is one of those diamonds you hope and pray you’ll come across as a reader and we’re so extremely grateful we did.
“My Mom told me the trick to staying in love was falling in love every day. Like you do with music. You listen for good music every day.”
Such and inspiring journey and all we can say is READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!
‘They became one, and Mackey could breathe. Trav was a part of him, and Mackey had strength. Trav moved, and Mackey’s body became light and Trav’s body became sound and together they were the thing Mackey worshipped most.
★ ★ ★