Reclaiming The Sand by A. Meredith Walters
Bully and victim.
Tormenter and tormented.
Villain and hero.
Ellie McCallum was a bully. No connection to anyone or anything. A sad and lonely existence for a young woman who had come to expect nothing more for herself. Her only happiness coming from making others miserable. Particularly Freaky Flynn.
Flynn Hendrick lived a life completely disconnected even as he struggled to become something more than that boy with Asperger's. He was taunted and teased, bearing the brunt of systematic and calculated cruelty, ultimately culminating in a catastrophic turn of events that brought Ellie and Flynn’s worlds crashing down.
But then Flynn and Ellie grew up.
And moved on.
Until years later when their paths unexpectedly cross again and the bully and the freak are face to face once more.When labels come to define you, finding yourself feels impossible. Particularly for two people disconnected from the world who inexplicably find a connection in each other. And out of the wreckage of their tragic beginnings, an unlikely love story unfolds.
But a painful past doesn’t always want to let go. And old wounds are never truly healed…and sometimes the further you try to run from yourself the closer you come to who you really are.
Kelly - 4 Crowns
I have never felt so conflicted over a book in my entire life. I won't lie, I struggled with the first half because it was so deeply depressing that if I hadn't read this off the back of a comedy I may not have actually finished it. Well, more fool me, because this is a book of two halves.
The first destroyed me, the twisted pleasure felt by these cold, calculating bullies was a difficult process to follow. I disliked them so much that it was impossible to feel any compassion towards them even though they came from deprived and broken family backgrounds. Thrown from foster home to home, these kids formed destructive friendships based solely on circumstance.
The second, well, lets just say that if any character can do a complete 360 and come out a brighter and better person, then it was this girl! Her transition was one worth investing the time in, and I’m so pleased I continued with Ellie and Flynn’s story.
Flynn is the new kid at school. Even at fifteen, his life is set to his wristwatch. Every movement is calculated, premeditated, a coping mechanism for his condition. Flynn has Asbergers, a form of autism. He does not communicate well and he cannot bear to be touched.
Ellie is just going through the motions. She is bitter, angry, an outcast. Her friends are just like her. They take their anger and inflict it on others who look down upon them. Flynn is different. He is a 'tard' and the 'new' entertainment, one who cannot fight back.
However, there is more to Flynn than meets the eye, only he lets Ellie see it when they form a secret friendship. She is ashamed of her so-called friends behaviour towards him, because in reality, he may be different but he understands how it feels to be an outcast and she feels a strange connection to that.
But when Ellie's friends start berating her of her connection to ‘Freaky Flynn’, it just makes her hurt more, and she takes it out on the boy who has ever cared for the neglected state child, ultimately destroying them both.
Jump six years later and Ellie is out of Juvie but still on probation. Her friends are still losers. The world is a dark place and the town she grew up in still a prison. A dead end. Then he walks in... the beautiful 22 year old man is a far cry from the scared young boy she left behind, and he's about to feed her a bout of harsh reality. Her past and present are about to collide; opening up to the idea of a future she believed may never exist.
Reclaiming the sand is a story of second chances, of hope and seeking forgiveness. It's a story of challenging love and complicated friendships. It is a tough read and you will want to punch one or two, or even four characters in the face, including Ellie, but in the end all it takes is a leap of faith and one man's honesty to open the door to endless possibilities.
Flynn is a true book hero in every sense of the word, and I feel privileged that he came into my life. Thank you, A. Meredith Walters for your flawless deliverance of this deeply powerful and challenging read that touched every emotion. My heart went through obstacles aplenty, but the storyline was unique, her characters complex and profound - albeit unpleasant at times, it made for one hell of a reading experience!