Friday, October 26, 2018

Blog Post: Boy Shattered by Eli Easton (Review, Author Guest Post + Giveaway)


The Inspiration for Boy Shattered

By Eli Easton

Welcome to the blog tour for the release of “Boy Shattered”. This is my first full-on Young Adult book since “Superhero” in 2013. “Boy Shattered” is set in a high school and features a romance between an openly gay student (Landon) and the school quarterback (Brian). When Brian is wounded during a shooting at their high school, Landon saves his life and the two become inseparable. It’s an enemies-to friends-to lovers story.

The root of the story came from a tidal wave of feelings I had after the school shooting that took place at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb 18, 2018 in which seventeen students were killed. I’m sure I was like millions of other people—shocked, heartbroken, and outraged at our politicians who give platitudes instead of changing US gun laws.

But the Parkland story isn’t just a tragedy. What happened next was truly extraordinary. A group of students rose up from the metaphorical ashes to go on camera and say “No, no more. We’re not gonna take this anymore. Something has to change, and we’re going to make it change.”

Like many people, I found inspiration and hope in these students, 17, 18, or even younger, who spoke so eloquently, were so political, and so strong-willed. They were ready and able to stand up against merciless bullying from the NRA and their followers. In a time when politics has been so incredibly depressing and disheartening, full of lies and corruption and seemingly fucked beyond all repair, to see the youngest generation so active, intelligent, and determined offers a ray of hope for our future.

You’ve probably heard the names of the kids involved in this moment – David Hogg, Emma Gonzalez, Sarah Chadwick, Cameron Kasky, Jaclyn Corin, Ryan Deitsch, and Alex Wind. There are also inspiring parents, such as Manuel Oliver, father of victim Joaquin ‘Guac’ Oliver, who have marched in protest alongside the students.

I was touched by Parkland in so many different ways—personally and politically. I know I need to write about a subject when it obsesses me and I’m super passionate about it, and that was the case here. So I decided to write a YA story around a fictional school shooting.

It was much harder than I anticipated. In that first flush of a new project, when you really believe in something, it seems like it will come easily, just pour out. But “Boy Shattered” is a complex story with various plotlines to balance. And I wanted to be true to the events without being overly mawkish or, on the other hand, making light of the experience of being involved in a tragedy like this. I didn’t want the “recovery” to be too fast or too easy. And the love story… the love story was so important to get right.

I want to thank my beta readers and proofers for helping me identify where it wasn’t working and giving me suggestions for improving it.

Parkland is mentioned in my book, but I avoid referring to any individual by name. It’s not my place to tell their story. “Boy Shattered” is set at a fictional high school, Jefferson Waller High School, aka “The Wall” in Missouri. It’s location in a small town that’s not particularly progressive and maybe innocent the way we were all innocent twenty years ago.

In this blog post I wanted to share some information and links to those interested in the real-life Parkland story so you can learn more about the Parkland shooting and the subsequent student movement, which they tag #NeverAgain.

Never Again website:

The #NeverAGain Wikipedia page has lots of good info and links.

Time Magazine’s article about the Parkland movement:

TIME COVER (which says it all)

Thanks for reading this post, and I hope you find inspiration and hope in “Boy Shattered”.

Eli Easton

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 85,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Tiferet Design


You’ll make it out of here, Brian. I swear.
I had everything—school quarterback, popular with girls, and my dad was proud of me. I told myself it didn’t matter no one knew the real me. And then I nearly died. Landon saved my life. He’s the bravest guy I know. He came out a few years ago, proud and fierce, and he ran into gunfire to help others. Me, I’m a mess. Can’t even stand to be in a room with the curtains open. But here’s the thing about losing it all: You get a chance to start over and be someone new. Only how can I move on when the two shooters who attacked our school were never caught? And why do I feel like I’m still in the crosshairs?


Will you kiss me?
When I came across Brian Marshall,the hottest guy in school, dying on the cafeteria floor, I did what anyone would do. I tried to save him. His request surprised me, but I figured he needed comfort, so I kissed him on the forehead. When he survived and came back to school, he was broken in body and mind. He still needed me, and soon we were unlikely besties. But what I saw at school that day woke me up. I want to demand action on gun control, lead protests, raise my fist. I’ll tear the world down if I have to. And if I can get the man of my dreams and save the world at the same time? I’ll take it. Only I didn’t understand that the horror at Jefferson Waller High wasn’t over.

5 +++ Stars

The blurb for this book sounded amazing, but I wasn’t sure if I could get through it with the subject matter. Once I worked up the nerve to open the book and start reading, I was drawn in and hooked from the first paragraph and I couldn’t make myself put it down. This story was absolutely riveting.

Landon and Brian are high school students. They know of one another and unbeknownst to the other, especially since Brian is closeted, they both admire the other from afar. Brian admires and is envious of Landon’s ability to be out and proud and confident in who he is. While Landon assumes Brian is like his douchebag jock friends, he still has
to acknowledge that Brian is the hottest boy in school.

A mass shooting at school brings these two young men together and they form a deep bond, but will Brian’s PTSD be too much for Landon to handle?

I have to say the author did a phenomenal job with this subject matter. The story was captivating and moving. It made me feel: scared, sad, angry, frustrated, hopeful and eventually, somewhat vindicated, it was a definite rollercoaster of emotions.

The romance between Landon and Brian isn’t the main focus of the story, it’s there and it’s sweet, but the main focus of the story is how Brian and Landon deal with the after effects of the shooting. While Landon deals with the aftermath by getting heavily involved with other survivors of mass school shootings on the topic of gun control, Brian is practically paralyzed with fear, especially since the suspects remain at large. Brian loses himself in trying to solve the crime by identifying the shooters. It was interesting to watch his process of elimination in trying to solve the case.

This was an amazing story, while not always an easy read do to the subject matter, it’s well-written and definitely a must read!

*copy provided by author or publisher in exchange for an honest review*

5 Stars!

If there is one place in this world our children should be safe away from home, where we don’t have to worry that something horrific might happen to them, it should be school. When Quarterback Brian Marshall enters Jefferson Waller High School, aka “The Wall,” that Thursday in September he can’t even begin to imagine the violence that will be inflicted on the people around him. Two masked gunmen manage to massacre over 40 students and staff in less than ten minutes and then disappear before police and rescue even arrive.

As Brian lies dying on the cafeteria floor he realizes he’s lived his short life being who those around him have expected but might never get the chance to be the real him. He’s popular and smart, a great athlete and girls adore him. Too bad the only person he wishes would notice him is senior Landon Hughes. By some miracle though it’s Landon who finds him in the cafeteria and he refuses to leave Brian’s side until the EMTs get there.

Landon Hughes could’ve been called a hero that day. Instead of escaping from the school something compelled him to find his friend he knew was in the cafeteria. Instead, amongst the horror, he finds Brian bleeding and begging for help. Landon refuses to let Brian die and does all that he can while waiting for help. This is Brian Marshall, the boy he’s been crushing on from a distance, he can’t imagine him not making it.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, Brian and Landon form an incredible bond and become virtually inseparable. Each finds ways to cope and try to heal but it’s clear one thing helps above all, their connection. But life doesn’t just magically get back to normal. Landon is focused on change, the politics surrounding it all and gets involved in campaigning for stricter gun laws.

Brian’s PTSD is weighing him down and his fear of the gunmen coming back is tearing him apart. Until they’re caught he can’t start to move on. It becomes his mission to find answers. Who are they and why would they do any of this?

Wow! I loved this book! Eli Easton did a great job touching on such a sensitive yet important topic in this country right now. I apologize but I’m going to get slightly personal here. I think I’ve probably alluded in the past to being a victim of a violent crime when I was younger. It’s something I’ve brought up in other reviews but never really talked about what I actually went through. I’m not going to do it now, mainly because it’s hard for me to talk about but also because this is supposed to be about Boy Shattered. However, I need to say this, Brian’s character was amazingly done. I’m saying this because, as I read his story and pictured what he was going through, I felt an undeniable connection to him. He seriously could have been me. The feelings he had in the aftermath, his fears and anxiety, I’ve felt those same things, HELL, I feel them every day still. In so many ways I understood him. Especially because he went without resolution for so long.

They never caught the man who irrevocably changed my life. I still wonder who he is and where he is. Years later I hear the sound of his gun firing at times when I least expect it and it takes everything in me to not break down. The way Eli wrote Brian’s reactions to his PTSD and the way his feelings were portrayed were done so very well. The whole thing was handled with care and thought and I truly appreciated that while I read such an intensely sensitive subject matter.

Landon’s character was amazing too. I just instantly fell in love with him and tried to imagine him in real life. He wasn’t some stereotypical 18-year-old boy, he felt real. I couldn’t stop sighing at the way he just naturally knew how to help Brian through it all. He was not only a great person but also a great friend when Brian needed it the most.

I enjoyed the side characters we meet, they fit well with how I think of high school students (some were a good thing, others not so much). Landon’s parents were amazing and I loved how they were super supportive naturally (before the shooting) and then after as well. Brian’s parents made me angry, his father most of all (ugh, I hated him). I kind of wish we could’ve gotten more glimpses of Brian’s sister though, she seemed sweet and I imagine she would make me laugh.

Overall, I definitely would recommend Boy Shattered. It’s an intense and emotional read, angsty and sometimes violent. As a person who suffers from PTSD, I was very happy to have the trigger warnings. While the violence isn’t gratuitous it’s also not sugar-coated either. In the end, however, I think it was well done and we get a sweet YA MM Romance too.

***Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the author/publisher for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.***

October 16 - Romantic Ramblings, My Fiction Nook, Kimmers' Erotic Book Banter, Gay Book Reviews, Amy's MM Romance Reviews, Dilyana's World, Funzee's Cozy Couch, Lelyana's Reviews, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Boulevard des Passions, October 17 - Love Bytes Reviews, October 18 - The Librarian's Corner, Xtreme Delusions, Megan's Media Melange, Urban Smoothie Read, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Reading In Sarah's Corner, Kaidans Seduction, Dream Love Imagine, October 19 - The Novel Approach, October 20 - Cupcakes & Bookshelves, Book Corner Reviews, Jim's Reading Room, We Three Queens, Making It Happen, Wicked Reads, V's Reads, October 22 - Wicked Faerie's Tales & Reviews, Open Mind For A Different View, MM Good Book Reviews, October 23 - Mirrigold, October 24 - Bonkers About Books, Valerie Ullmer, Sanaa's Book Blog, BFD Book Blog, Lillian Francis, Jessie G Books, Books Laid Bare Boys, Love, Sawyer, October 25 - Gay Book Reviews, October 26 - Bayou Book Junkie

About Eli

Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, and organic farmer, Eli has been a m/m romance author since 2013. She has over 30 books published.

Eli has loved romance since her teens and she particular admires writers who can combine literary merit, genuine humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, bulldogs, cows, a cat, and lots of groundhogs.

In romance, Eli is best known for her Christmas stories because she’s a total Christmas sap. These include “Blame it on the Mistletoe”, “Unwrapping Hank” and “Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles”. Her “Howl at the Moon” series of paranormal romances featuring the town of Mad Creek and its dog shifters has been popular with readers. And her series of Amish-themed romances, Men of Lancaster County, has won genre awards.

In 2018 Eli hopes to do more of the same, assuming they reschedule the apocalypse.

Her website is

You can email her at

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