Title: Bled My Blood
Author: K. K. Ojeda
Format: Paperback and
Genre: Literary Fiction / Urban
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About the Book:
Shay and Bryan never could’ve imagined being friends with Kayla, not before she almost got shot saving Shay’s life. Kayla Smidgal is a new student at a Grove South High School- a school where the Almighty Latin Kings reign. Shay Alvarez a.k.a “Brass” is the President of the L.K.’s and is notorious for his cruelty. Bryan “Rico” Stevenson is Shay’s second in command, yet he wavers in his loyalty to the L.K.’s as his affection for Kayla grows. Circumstances beyond their control (and many within) force the three to make difficult decisions. Bryan knew Kayla before he joined the Latin Kings and he can’t help but wonder what his life could’ve been like if he was never separated from her. Now, Bryan must determine if quitting the L.K.’s and the violence he would surely suffer as a result, is worth a relationship with Kayla Smidgal. Kayla must choose between her childhood sweetheart and her faith. When Shay sees Bryan pursuing Kayla he tells himself that his feelings for her are not developing even as cold jealousy twists in his gut. Yet, even as Bryan is pursuing Kayla, she cuts off the relationship. This causes Bryan to react with hostility and vengeance. In so doing, he breaks Kayla’s heart. As a result, Kayla and Shay’s friendship deepens. Even as Shay and Kayla grow closer, Shay still stubbornly refuses to acknowledge his feelings for her. He protects her, he fights for her, and yet he will never admit to this weakness— that he is falling in love with the auburn haired girl. Yet as indomitable as Shay believes himself to be, he is about to be attacked so viciously that he may never recover. And Shay’s attacker will strike where he is weakest.
This was an interesting read, and a difficult book to review. While there are run-on sentences, grammatical errors and spelling errors, only the run-on sentences truly bothered me. Why? Because the text, the point of view, the characters feel very real and very current, the dialog is something that you could overhear, the internal justifications and conflicts that the characters display all seem as if they were taken directly from their heads, and conversations recorded word for word.
Gritty, dark and often disturbing, this book feels more like a testament to a lost generation of children and families: where gangs and posturing stand in for parenting and love. Arriving in the middle of this upheaval is Kayla, referred to as “white girl” in the school she attends: she has little exposure to the gritty reality of gang life, and even less of a sense of self-preservation. While Bryan feels that her introduction to the gang, and her subsequent fascination with Shay is his fault, he denies those feelings with typical immature posturing.
An interesting study of three young lives that are linked by proximity yet highly different in outlook, approach and even opportunity: this is a book that reads like a what not to do / where not to be / who not to befriend manual. Not the easiest read, but a gripping tale that keeps you turning pages until the end. K.K. Ojeda has managed to weave a story that keeps you interested and wondering what next, even as your head knows the eventual outcome. Do yourself a favor – throw away your preconceptions about how a book “should” be written and get lost in this book that will show you how a compelling story can make you think and feel.
I received an eBook from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
About the Author:
K. K. Ojeda is a 24-year-old who lives in the Midwest with her precocious, little boy and supportive husband. She’s been writing since she was quite young. Yet, she only just now feels that she’s beginning to truly hone her craft—that being a wordsmith. When Ojeda is not writing she spends time volunteering as a youth leader with the youth group at her local church. She loves the summer, engaging in deep conversations as the sun sets, music, and taking walks with family and friends. And she hates socks.