book review: jem by michelle abbott
Michelle Abbot's Jem is one of my favorite story. This is due primarily to the way the author introduces us to Jem and Devon. We meet them when they are children and we are shown, not told, the events surrounding the birth of their friendship. As children, they both possess an apparent vulnerability and a capacity for loving.
The “Jem” we meet as a child exhibits a fragileness that only innocence has the inability to hide. He keeps neither his secrets nor his shame from Devon, his one true friend. Despite her young age, Devon’s concern for him is sincere and deep, without being unrealistic.
Even though Devon is three years older than Jem, the age difference isn’t a factor that stands out. Jem needs a friend and Devon wants to be that friend. The times they share together are carefully crafted to create the kind of bond between them that makes readers want to know how they will get together years later and become more to one another.
I appreciate the fact that the time during which Jem and Devon are apart clearly shows that these two people have lived their lives as if they never expected to see one another again. Both have moved on in their own ways. When they finally cross paths again, the possibility that Jem recognizes Devon while she does not recognize him is totally plausible.
The pacing is well done. This story is a novella that doesn’t feel rushed. I attribute this to the fact that Michelle Abbott keeps the focus tight. There is a minor story involving another character, but readers’ loyalty doesn’t have to divide itself among multiple story lines. Hence, the angst, the pain, the moments of laughter, the times of distress, the frustration, the dangers, the near-misses of recognition are as concentrated for the reader as they are for Jem and Devon. The overall effect is an undiluted emotional experience, from start to finish, and the satisfying emotional intensity one seeks when reading a New Adult Contemporary Romance.
Available on Amazon.com.