The Rough Boys series by J. Vaughn is a three book series which is a cross between The Basketball Diaries and Almost Famous. The series features three boys all dealing with the challenges growing up gay, and the constant threat of homelessness. The first book, Runaway, features Ty who runs away from home after being tortured by his father. Living on the streets is hard, and simply getting food is a challenge. Ty does his best, but harsh conditions and depression drive him to depths he never imagined. Runaway is a riveting story, and don't be surprised if you can't stop at just one Rough Boys story. I one-clicked to buy the next one without even hesitating to take a breath. This book is currently being offered for FREE on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble, so go grab it while you can! It's also a bargain at the $.99 list price.
The world of Runaway is gritty and disturbing. Some elements are surprising and others are heartbreakingly real.
For all its angst and suffering, there are also some hot moments especially as Ty discovers his long repressed sexuality.
Ty is befriended by a man who tries to help him, but he's so consumed by fear he doesn't even know how to recognize any feelings he might have. There is a romantic storyline, but don't expect it to be any easier than the rest of Ty's life.
Staying alive every day is its own drama in addition to ongoing family issues. There are also multiple sub plots featuring Ty's friends and acquaintances. There is plenty of angst, but it's not overdone or inappropriate.
Ty is a teenager in an impossible situation. He does the best he can, but his options are limited. Ty's father has left deep scars on him both physically and emotionally. At first he is left with only the desire to survive, and eventually even that seems like too much for which to hope.
Runaway is rich with fabulous characters, and I do mean fabulous. There are gay boys who dress like girls, and rock band members on the edge of fame. Drug dealers, homeless people, therapists, and crazy parents round out the cast. They are all riveting in their own way, and they all appear again throughout the series. The author does a wonderful job of creating individual character arcs for all of them.