Senior Aaron Hardaway has a new bad boy lover and he wants his mother out of his hair---super therapist Thirteen warns eyes wide open, but will Aaron listen? He's the son of one of Chicago's richest families. He'll graduate from an exclusive Chicago prep-school. He cruises in a Benz SLK300, a grad present from his father. Aaron Hardaway has it all. But a boyfriend. And a lSenior Aaron Hardaway has a new bad boy lover and he wants his mother out of his hair---super therapist Thirteen warns eyes wide open, but will Aaron listen? He's the son of one of Chicago's richest families. He'll graduate from an exclusive Chicago prep-school. He cruises in a Benz SLK300, a grad present from his father. Aaron Hardaway has it all. But a boyfriend. And a loving mother. Sylvia Karnes Hardaway, evil Queen of Chicago society, long ago thrust her son into therapy hell. Twelve shrinks later, Thirteen enters Aaron's life. Thirteen's mantra is eyes wide open. Thirteen will transform Aaron's life. So will bad boy Derrick. Aaron hooks up with Derrick, and things will never be the same. Maybe he should have kept his eyes wide open....
|Number of Pages||:||296 Pages|
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Thirteen Therapists Reviews
3.5 stars I had some mixed feelings about this book. There were times I thought it was great and really got wrapped up in the story and there were other times I found myself skimming the pages.
A Sparkling, and Most Perceptive Debut By Russell J. SandersIn author Russell J. Sanders’ maiden voyage as a novelist, we make a visitation into the lifestyles and mores of the rich and privileged. Our nearest Chicago station stop: the family Hardaway. In particular, our main protagonist, Aaron Hardaway. Despite the excess and egos of those closest to him, young Aaron will have none of it. He is a refreshingly ‘normal’ teen who doesn’t put on airs or walk the unmistakable bop of the self-entitled. But for the spoils (i.e. a fly, new Mercedes), he is a young man with his eyes wide open and a secret or two under his Gucci belt. The title describes the number of shrinks young Aaron has been directed (or misdirected) to, via his mumsy, the very proper, haughty and distant Sylvia Karnes Hardaway. However, it is Aaron’s thirteenth doctor that clicks, fits, and who gets him in a way the others have not. It is she, Dr. Moira Fairchild, whom he trusts, and she that he tells his story. The Hardaway family is one of high achievers, and for the most part, his parents and siblings have achieved, and yet all Aaron really desires is to love and to be loved. As a reader, we like him. We feel for him. Although Aaron’s relationship with his brittle socialite of a mother is strained, distant and cold, there is a warmth and a palpable love he shares with his three siblings, especially his older brother, Marty, a soldier deplored in the Middle East who, although only four years older, had long taken on the more parental role in Aaron’s life.Mr. Sanders also weaves a stirring portrait of young passion as Aaron navigates his way through the precarious fields of love and the tripwires of heartbreak. We get to ride shotgun, reliving those heady days and nights of thrilling new emotions, and the freedom in finding a kindred. The author leads us into the waltz of taffeta and tuxedo cotillion balls and emotional blue balls of youth, where even privilege offers no buffer from pain and angst. At heart, Thirteen Therapists is a different kind of love story. Sure, it follows the reliable premise of opposites attracting, only in this tale, it is a same sex union. Aaron is a decent chap; maybe just a bit too sanitized until his young world is rocked by the appearance of Derrick. If Aaron is summer, with his light blond locks, pale skin and patrician exterior; Derrick is clearly winter: dark, hypnotic, with smoky eyes, and a slight hint of something dangerous lurking just beneath the beauteous exterior.Suddenly, love takes over. But to get in where he fits in, Aaron’s utter infatuation leads him into a waiting subculture of drugs, reckless partying and amplified decibels of rebellious sex. The author skillfully handles the dualities of these worlds young Aaron inhabits: the staid, finely coiffed, costumed and furnished, yet stuffy landscapes of repression vs. the lively vistas of vice, wickedness, bliss and carnality. And while, as a reader, you may want to warn Aaron to tread lightly, and other times you feel the urge to shake some sense into him when he’s about to make unwise, even hazardous moves, you realize, much like the journey of life itself, one has to make their own mistakes, dance along those edges, experience heartache and even tumble a few times in order to learn the necessary lessons.There is heartbreak here, yes, and yet there is light and humor, studied subtext and subtle wit. I enjoyed visiting Aaron Hardaway’s world, and that is largely due to the writing in Thirteen Therapists. As a novel, it captures and holds one’s attention, making this a sparkling and most perceptive debut by author Russell J. Sanders.
I’ve long since harbored a weakness for novels surrounding the rich and privileged. There’s just something about the glamour of high society that captures my imagination, like being allowed a glimpse into another world. Of course, what makes these stories all the more intriguing are the secrets and hostilities that lurk beneath the perfect façades, and for the hero in this highly original debut novel by Russell J. Sanders, his seemingly idyllic lifestyle isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.To an outsider, seventeen-year-old Aaron has it all—wealthy parents, an education at a prestigious prep school, even his own Mercedes Benz to drive around in. Yet, being the middle son of Sylvia Karnes Hardaway, queen of Chicago society, is far from easy. For one thing, he is convinced his mother doesn’t love him, favoring her more artistic offspring. For another, and for reasons Aaron has never fully understood, Sylvia put him in therapy at the age of six. Since then, he has gone through twelve therapists, all of whom have tried and failed to persuade him to open up. Now, therapist number thirteen enters Aaron’s life, forcing him to confront truths he was scarcely even aware of.Aaron is a good boy, the sort who does his homework on time and keeps out of trouble…that is, until he meets Derek, a rebel with charm and an irresistible air of danger. Suddenly, Aaron finds himself falling madly in love, while Derek introduces him to a heady existence of drugs, wild parties, and even wilder sex. For all Derek’s tenderness, however, there is a darkness in him—a darkness Aaron does his best to ignore. His therapist warns him to keep his eyes wide open, but Aaron is too blinded by infatuation to listen. By the time he realizes what’s going on, it is already too late.I couldn’t help but be swept along by this story of an affluent but incredibly dysfunctional family. It was one of those novels where the author kept adding layers, so that it became deeper and more complex the farther I read. Though there are some grim moments, these are more than offset by the considerable warmth, both in Aaron’s closeness to his siblings and the relationship he develops with his therapist. Most of all, I loved the mix of grit and glamour, the way the world of drugs and sleazy parties provides a contrast for the propriety of charity functions, so if this appeals to you, I would certainly pick up this book.NOTE: This book was provided by the author for the purpose of a review on Rainbow Book Reviews and the Boys on the Brink Blog
What a romp of a read!In a world foreign to many of us, in a world of butlers and Rolex watches and Dior gowns, this fast-paced novel demonstrates, that despite our sorry lack of all these splendid accoutrements, we share more with the rich and famous than we think we do. We all have relationship woes. We all have a deep-seated need for love.Without ruining any of the fun (or the twists), I’ll say that Sanders does an excellent job of shining a light on our (mostly faulty) perceptions of those around us—how we judge quickly and harshly, only to be flat-out wrong. Unfortunately, these distortions translate into how we live our lives. If we’d only take the time to get our stories straight, we might see another person simply trying to cope, and not knowing how.It might make us care for that person or—heaven forbid!—love that person. I’ll wager a guess that most adults haven’t made the discoveries that Aaron, the protagonist, makes in this novel. Go, Aaron! As a former high school teacher, let me add one more thing. This novel shows a sensitivity to “coming out” that I’ve not seen in many novels. I think the climate is changing now (I certainly hope so!), but for so long, gay teens have not had stories about them. Of course that has changed recently, with characters like Glee’s Chris Colfer’s Kurt and others, which I’m grateful for. One more thing, oftentimes the gay protagonists in these books are the victims. Not here. Our protagonist Aaron is making discoveries right along with his family members, and I think this is what separates this book from others, hands-down.P.S. The novel’s “thirteenth therapist” is a gem (one whom everyone should hire…immediately!).
It was a refreshing read from start to finish. Relating with the main character took no effort. Beautiful setup of a beautiful soul in search of love and acceptance within and without the family setting. Obviously glamor does not always translate to beauty.... Darkness resides even in those we deem perfect. The glitz for some, is but a facade to hide sorrow and life's disappointments. The ending, with so many lessons learned by son and mother, make for a feel good book. Coming from an African culture that selfom recognizes same sex relationships both constitutionally and in society, I value my lack of differentiation between straight love and gay love. Emotions are human and natural, it doesn't matter the carrier or recipient of the same, as the book beautifully portrays. The drama is the same, the passion no different from heterosexual relationships. This book will open the eyes of many, even change perceptions that we are so often quick to make of what were find difficult to relate to. Russell did an awesome job. Looking forward to more of his work!
It's been four years since I read this book. . . And I still remember it. I read it straight through in one sitting because I had to know how things were going to turn out for Aaron Hardaway -- a character I came to adore. I am not sure how posting my review slipped through the cracks (I had it framed, I had my notes) but it did. The good news is that Thirteen Therapists, is as timely as ever with its characters and premise, so here goes.On the surface, Aaron is living the teen dream: money, the best of everything it can buy, status, and connections. Beneath the surface, he is alone and drowning in it all, and he longs to be his authentic self. Aaron is someone that readers will immediately like and want to feel loved and kept safe; but he doesn't always make it easy. As readers watch the decisions Aaron makes, we understand and feel things right along with him: the passion of sexual attraction, the comfort of belonging, the anxiety of ditching common sense, the thrill of the forbidden. Right along with those feelings, author Russell Sanders makes sure readers are ill at ease with how the story is unfolding as Aaron and willing Aaron to keep his eyes wide open, as Aaron's therapist (nicknamed Thirteen) has told him.The writing is outstanding and the book is wonderfully edited. The secondary characters, particularly Aaron's mother and bad-boy boyfriend Derrick, are well-written and fully imaginable and realistic. (And evoked strong emotional reactions from me. Momma Bear, claws out.) Sanders also does a great job of building the tension for readers and plants subtle (and not so subtle) hints that there's a train wreck coming. We don't want to believe the wreck is really going to happen, but again, as is human nature, we have to watch. Thirteen Therapists is totally engaging. It has twists, turns, and surprises; it has hope and heartbreak, humiliation and humor; and it has drug use, underage drinking, and male/male sex -- pretty graphic at times -- so sensitive readers beware. Sanders is an excellent writer, and he has written a bunch of other books since this debut (and I have two of them on my Kindle reader right now.)Thank you to the author for sharing his book with me so many years ago (and sincerest apologies for not sharing my opinion with the world sooner) in exchange for my honest opinion -- the only kind I give. Full review and other features on Hall Ways Blog http://bit.ly/2nEcuQW