There comes a time for everyone when they need to find their own path in life. The transition from innocent child to budding adult. Each journey is unique and will come with its own fair share of ups and downs. However, some people clearly have the odds stacked up against them before they even get out of the starting gate. Truly five paces behind before the race begins! In his novel, The Secret Life: The Bond Breaks, author Shay Mills presents just such a scenario in action. A top-notch coming-of-age journey that explores the true strength of the human spirit amidst seemingly impossible conditions.

The Bond Breaks is Part 2 of The Secret Life Series. It picks up where we left off in Book 1 and plows forward like a locomotive! The story begins with Aaron on the rebound and recovering from the years of exploitation and torment he experienced at the hands of his abusive stepfather. With a whole new lease on life, Aaron is bound and determined to find his way. To carve out a path distinctly suited for him. He quickly finds out that this is easier said than done. The years of abuse have taken a severe toll on Aaron. He must navigate his way through a whole host of personal demons and declining mental health. A tall order for anyone to fill!

However, even on the darkest days, there is light. For Aaron, this comes in the form of friends, acquaintances, and new love. For the first time ever, he is truly experiencing life without the threat of abuse immediately hanging over his head. He is finally able to experience a myriad of emotions that he has kept bottled up for years. However, in his newfound euphoria, Aaron has managed to put himself in a very tricky and dangerous situation. This coming-of-age journey may actually be over before it really even gets started!

I found this novel to be a truly riveting read! So much so that I had difficulty putting it down. Following Aaron’s growth path to manhood is an exciting, yet harrowing journey. The author does not shy away from the very heavy subjects of abuse and mental illness. Yet he does this in a way that is not overly explicit and flows naturally with the overall story. It is not just there for its own sake. There is also a solid mix of action with Aaron’s journey. This is cleverly balanced with sweet and tender moments such as first love and infatuation. The plot will keep you engaged from start to finish as you cheer Aaron on. Hoping he will finally get the life he truly deserves.

As with Book One, there are a multitude of characters in this novel. While some were in the first book, others were not. Aaron of course has the starring role and is developed in the most depth. It is his journey after all! While he has a number of sharp edges to him, he is an entirely likable individual. Someone who you can really root for. Connor and Khrystine also continue to play a significant role in the series. Both pick up where they left off and take the key roles of being the only source of stability in Aaron’s life. For me personally, however, the character who stood out the most (besides Aaron), is Leann. She brought out a vulnerable side to Aaron which is a pure joy to observe. A genuine character who the reader cannot help but fall in love with.

While the second book of a series can often lead to a bit of a disappointment… there is no concern about that happening here. The Bond Breaks is a fantastic follow-up to Aaron’s journey. I eagerly await the next chapter in Aaron’s life!

5 out of 5 Breaking Stars for this one!

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