Reviews for Bleeding Hearts

Midwest Book Review

Killian Kendall is 16, he's oblivious to matters of his heart, and when he meets a new transfer student named Seth, he gets whacked upside the head with a terrible dose of reality. Seth is a brave soul. He tells Killian right away that he is gay, and this sets off a chain reaction of events in Killian's formerly routine life. His friends Zack, Jesse, and Asher make fun of Seth, but Killian cannot join in. For the first time in his young life, he separates himself from his crew of buddies. He attempts to disregard his burgeoning feelings of sexual curiosity and attraction to Seth, but he is not able to stuff down the maelstrom of emotions that suddenly roar to the forefront of his consciousness. He comes to the stunning conclusion that he is gay, and he can't quite get his mind around it.

Attempting to reconcile this new understanding of himself, Killian takes a walk in the woods by a nearby pond. "It was just at the edge of dusk, the time when it's hardest to see because everything is like an old black-and-white movie with bad contrast." Thinking he sees Seth on the far side of the little pond, he heads that way, and next thing Killian knows, someone slams into him and he's knifed. It's not until later that he learns that his new friend Seth was stabbed to death. Was Seth murdered because he was gay? Do people think Killian is gay? Why, he wonders, were he and Seth assaulted? And by whom?

The novel is a mystery, a drama, and a coming out story. Josh Aterovis has written a gripping and topical story about one boy's struggle to find love, acceptance, and chosen family in the face of intolerance. Killian is a real winner-I haven't met a character as kind-hearted and fully presented since Billy Sive. This young man's story, told from his point-of-view, is well-executed and is so compelling that I read it all in one sitting. Bleeding Hearts is an excellent tale, ably told, and certain to be just the first of many novels from a talented and capable new author.

Lori L. Lake

Reviews by Jessewave

Killian Kendall appears to be like any other 16 year old kid, but his life takes a dramatic turn when he befriends the new guy at his school, who happens to be openly gay.  Being drawn to and hearing Seth’s background, Killian begins to question the relatively quiet and safe life he has lived to date; the least of these being that he too might be gay.   When Seth is murdered and he is left for dead in the same attack, Killian finds the strength to not only be honest to himself and others about who he really is, including the truth about his sexuality, but to bring Seth’s murderer to justice.

Thus begins a roller coaster of a ride which is the making of this young man. Sounds angsty and a bit thrilling, doesn’t it?   There’s no doubt it’s definitely that.  What more could you expect, though, when an author has the guts to combine a coming out teen story with a bit of romance, a hint of paranormal and a strong dash of damned fine mystery plot.   The bottom line is that it works, which I think is a credit to the writing skills of this new-to-me author and the character he has created in Killian Kendall. As you may have gathered, I thought the stand out thing about Bleeding Hearts was Killian himself.  I was engrossed – actually I think the word is smitten – by him and his story.

Shooting Star Magazine

Bleeding Hearts is the first book in the Killian Kendall mysteries, and I am definitely looking forward to reading more from Aterovis. Killian was a well-rounded character that I really felt I got to know as I read the book. The other characters had equal page-time and even the most minor people were greatly described, making everything that much more realistic.

Killian’s sexuality was dealt with very nicely, showing the many obstacles and problems you may face when dealing with coming out and just any relationship in general. The mystery made the book even better, allowing for this to not just be a coming-of-age tale, but also a book you can enjoy on a whole other level.

Rainbow Reviews

This is an astounding and award winning piece of gay literature. The reader is taken on a roller-coaster ride of romance, murder-mystery, thriller, comedy as well as a dose of fantasy. We see Killian struggle to accept the whirlwind of change that goes on around him. No, he doesn’t always make the right decisions, but this only highlights how vulnerable and human he is. Throughout, Killian’s positive spirit shines through, making him easy to like and sympathize with.

It was impossible to relax while reading the book. So much was going on, the drama was gripping and oft times very painful. Interwoven with this were moments of comedy and witty asides that provided much needed light relief.

This story is not for those seeking escapist reading. But if you like your characters real with plenty of thrilling action and edge-of-the-seat drama, then this story is for you.

Scribes World Reviews

Sixteen-year-old Killian Kendall is the son of the local homophobic District Attorney. Killian has never been popular with his classmates, but does have three good friends - Zach, Jesse and Asher. When Killian befriends Seth, a pleasant young man who just happens to be gay, immediate problems erupt.

Seth is brutally murdered and Killian is stabbed and left for dead. Thrown out by his own father, Killian finds a home with Seth's father, Adam. Much happens, including threatening behavior, vandalism and Zach is found murdered in the same manner as Seth.

Writer Josh Aterovis has produced a nicely wrought work filled with teenaged angst and tribulations facing many in our society. Bleeding Hearts presents a picture of a young man dealing not only with the usual teenaged confusion but who is suddenly facing the notion that he is gay.

The year setting for Bleeding Hearts is not given, so the reader is left to suppose it is current. As a straight, middle aged mom of adult sons I can only imagine what Killian faces as he tries to find his place in an adult world that isn't like he originally thought.

I remember well the tone in this country toward teens during the 1980s and 90s, when my own home was filled with untamed teens struggling to become adults. Times and attitudes haven't changed much from that time to this. Writer Aterovis has given us a contemporary peek into what these youngsters face as they step into a not always friendly adult world.

In the manner of Dorien Grey and his Dick Hardesty series, writer Aterovis presents a group of characters who are very 'real.' From the homophobic father, the downtrodden mother and on to the hopeful 'girl friend,' the characters are not always likeable but are credible. Dialogue is believable. Recent news stories about gay bashing lend credibility to the situations and actions presented in Bleeding Hearts.

Interwoven into this story of a young man's 'coming out' is the mystery of who is murdering the fellows Killian befriends. Seth was gay, Zach was not. The deaths cannot simply be the result of a homophobic miscreant. Watch the red herrings!

This is not for the homophobic or those who refuse to accept that our children are their own person and are not simply little lumps to be molded/perhaps browbeaten into what parents insist they must be.

Molly Martin

StoneWall Society

Bleeding Hearts is one of the best Whodunits that I’ve ever read. Josh definitely knows how to cast a suspicious eye on all characters. All through the story I was trying to figure out Who Did It! I was compelled to keep reading. I couldn’t put it down.

The main protagonist, Killian Travers Kendall, is a character which is hard not to love. He is a smart, handsome, and kind, 16 year old, which has been blind to his own sexuality. That is, until Seth, moves to town. Seth arrives after he came out to his mother. She freaked and sent him to live with Adam, Seth’s father, who also happens to be gay.

Killian and Seth don’t get to explore their new friendship for very long. Seth gets killed and Killian almost gets killed at the same time. Now comes the Who-Done-It. Through the whole story, I was thinking "You did it!" "He had the motive!" The hints are there. Suspicion is cast at Killian's own father and his lifelong buds, among others. Although Killian didn't have much in common with his buds. They grew up together, that was about it. At least until Seth came to town and opened a whole can of gay worms. There are numerous 'almosts' that happen to Killian, throughout the story.

Bleeding Hearts also tells the coming out stories of several people. It gives the reader a look at numerous ways which coming out can go. There is the classic negative ‘Get Out of My House’ to quiet acceptance.

Joe Mountman

Book Nook

Josh Aterovis ("black sheep" in Latin), is a young "starving artist and author from the Eastern Shore of Maryland." Aterovis' home is the setting for Bleeding Hearts, his first published novel. It introduces Killian Kendall, a 16-year old boy who's coming to terms with his emerging sexuality.

Like Alex Sanchez's better-known novel Rainbow Boys, Bleeding Hearts is a entertaining and thought-provoking account of growing up gay in a homophobic society; written in a style that appeals to both adolescents and adults.

But Bleeding Hearts is more than just a coming out story. It is also an exciting mystery, centering around a hate crime similar in scope and brutality to the murder of Matthew Shepard. Seth Connelly is an openly gay student who moves into Killian's home town with his gay dad and befriends the still-uncertain Killian.

Seth's honesty earns him the wrath of the local bigots, and before long he is brutally murdered. Seth's death leads Killian to come out of the closet himself and to confront those who hate him for it, including his own dad, a District Attorney. With the help of Kane's gay dad, his straight but not narrow kid brother, and Killian's own boy friend, Killian sets out to uncover the mystery of Seth Connelly's death. What he uncovers is not pretty.

I wish I had books like Bleeding Hearts when I was a teen. Killian is the kind of gayboy I would have been (that is, of course, if Killian was Cuban-American and lived in Miami). In Josh Aterovis's world, gay kids discover themselves, find a new and supportive family, solve mysteries and even fall in love. Happily, Aterovis is now working on volumes 2 and 3 of his Killian Kendall series. Killian Kendall himself is already a winner: of the GWG Best Character Award.

Jesse Monteagudo