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A to Z

   (23 reviews)

He lived alone with a father who beat the hell out of him. His mom abandoned him years ago. There was a roof over his head, and food, when his dad let him eat. One day, all that changed: he ran in fear for his life with nothing but the clothes on his back. And his journal.

This story contains episodes of physical, sexual and psychological abuse of a teen. There are episodes of violence.  There is also sex between teenagers. Please don't read this if these things bother you. If you continue, be aware of them, and read with appropriate caution. 
You can discuss questions and characters in this story at its Story Discussion Forum: http://www.gayauthors.org/forums/topic/40860-a-to-z/
Copyright © 2016 Parker Owens; All Rights Reserved.

Story Recommendations (36 members)

  • Action Packed 17
  • Addictive/Pacing 30
  • Characters 33
  • Chills 8
  • Cliffhanger 17
  • Compelling 10
  • Feel-Good 8
  • Humor 3
  • Smoldering 12
  • Tearjerker 31
  • Unique 20
  • World Building 13

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Bdamdifino

   5 of 5 members found this review helpful 5 / 5 members

A beautiful story about overcoming & surviving abuse, neglect, and molestation. I say beautiful because this is a survivors story,  not a victims. The obstacles overcome are heart wrenching.  Yet you find that happily ever is always possible if you stay the course. This is a MUST READ!!! The author creates a thought provoking tale, with ups & downs, twists & turns, that keep you on the edge of your seat right to the very end. 

Response from the author:

I’m really glad you read through the dark portions of this story and persevered to its more sunlit end. You were very kind in your review. Especially now, it’s important to remember and care for those who struggle to survive. Thanks so much for sharing your response to A to Z. 

  • Like 1
  • Love 5
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Cane23

   3 of 3 members found this review helpful 3 / 3 members

Well, this story has been on my waiting list for a long time but, it has been @weinerdogrecommendation that finally made me read it. WHAT A STORY! What a journey, both for Andrew and for me as a reader. First chapters were hard to read – explicit scenes of molesting and abuse, bulling at school, I could almost feel the suffering on my skin. But, It has been injustice, constant neglect of system, authorities, school…generally oblivious people which made me angry, mad…wanting f*cking  Carlsberg to burn in flames!!! And then, the journey starts. I was looking for a words to describe how one insecure and without self-esteem boy (infamous "cause I'm stupid" sentence), fight the obstacles, shows courage and unbelievable strength, wisdom and knowledge…but I will quote the author instead:

“You’re the most courageous, persistent and energetic person I know. It took bravery to walk away from Carlsberg, courage to take to the road on your own. It took guts and persistence to stay on the road, day after day, in the rain, in the heat, hungry and weak and vulnerable. It took fantastic audacity to pretend – for a whole semester – to be a normal kid, while living a dual life as a homeless boy, hiding in the library closet. And it took courage to take me on as your husband, even though so many people didn't think it very wise.”

I was rooting for Andy, I trembled, I was literally sobbing reading the scenes of revelation… This was such emotional roller-coaster ride that I was completely blown away at the end. I can offer my deepest bow to the author; this is truly a worth reading masterpiece.

Response from the author:

Your very kind words in review left me humbled. Thank you very much, both for your response and for reading through Andy's story all the way to the end, despite its dark beginnings. The inspiration for the story came from events in both local and national news, and from the stories of teens on the streets who fill the beds of shelters each and every day. Even though not every runaway gets as happy an ending as Andy's, I felt it was important to see him as able to become the person he was meant to be. I'm immensely grateful for your goodness in reading and reviewing.

  • Like 1
  • Love 5
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tabaqui

· Edited by tabaqui

   4 of 4 members found this review helpful 4 / 4 members

spent the last 1,5 weeks reading this story every free moment I've had.

Great storytelling about the bad and in the end the good. Sometimes it's really hard to continue reading but in the end it's so worth it.

Just be careful because it can trigger some deep feelings so take your time and maybe don't binge read like I did :), it's going on my re-read list for somewhere in the future.

Response from the author:

Thank you for devoting so much time to Andy’s journal. I’m so grateful for your kind and encouraging words. That you will consider re-reading it makes me smile. I hope these characters, and especially Andy and Zander, remain in your heart.

  • Love 4
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JamesSavik

   3 of 3 members found this review helpful 3 / 3 members

I don't often review stories, but this story sort of kicked my ass. It had me from the first chapter and didn't let go. It dragged me from chapter to chapter, looking for the protagonist to catch a break. Just hang on. He will catch some breaks, but it'll take a while.

Don't look for hearts & flowers in the first third of this story. There aren't many. In fact, if you've got bad stuff in your background, wear a helmet because it will trigger you. (I had a nightmare or two.)

Typically, there are several ways kids in abusive situations react. If you've been to therapy for abuse, you might remember the scapegoat, the hero or the people pleaser. Almost every kid in an abusive situation is a mixture of these qualities. The scapegoat is always wrong and when things go bad, it's their fault. The hero is the overachiever who makes all As and wins state sports championships to win the abuser's approval. The people pleaser (or sometimes called the mascot) is just so cute and sweet, no one could possibly hate them, right? (Last is what I did: stay stoned, so you don't care. I don't recommend it. It doesn't end well.)

Parker's understanding of the psychology of kids in an abusive situation is exceptional. He knows how they react, how they blame themselves and how they apologize for anything and everything whether it's their fault or not. Trust is something they just can't do. They don't stand up for themselves because they've had any resistance beaten out of them. He writes the fatalism of the futility of this existence with a stark, brutal elegance.

Stephan/Eric/Andy is a psychological study in how abused kid's brains tick. I won't give any spoilers, but it should be in a textbook.

I have heard many soldiers say that I wasn't a hero, just a survivor.

In some battles, it takes a hero to survive.

Bravo, Parker. This is one of GA's very best.

Response from the author:

Your words are both encouraging and humbling. Most of all, the Stefan/Eric/Andy’s of our time need us for support and trust when they’re ready to let us be there. If this story helps more people to do that, I can be happy. Thanks so very much for reading Andy’s journal and traveling with him. 

  • Love 4
Link to review
Dan South

   4 of 4 members found this review helpful 4 / 4 members

The wonderful reviews posted here before mine led me to read a journal, entry by entry.

An abused teen walks away from his torment and flourishes. Read through his living hell to see him seek out a new life of his choosing. And watch him navigate the choices others make for him.

Meet a cast of characters that will fill your head with strong, unique, individual voices. Walk the backroads.

You will cherish the time you spend getting to rethink what to expect when someone uses the expression A to Z.

Simply a fantastic offering from a truly talented gentleman storyteller. Turn to Chapter One. I’m so pleased I did.

Response from the author:

Thank you for taking the time to read the journal through its early darkness into the sunlight beyond. I’m very grateful for your most encouraging response.  I hope everyone who reads this story will be moved to support those who suffer as Stefan did. Once again, thank you! 

  • Love 4
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raven1

· Edited by raven1

   4 of 4 members found this review helpful 4 / 4 members

This is a book that everyone should read. Some may not make it through the first five chapters, because of how realistically gut wrenching and disturbing they have been written.  Please stick with it! 

The hell described powerfully by the author is more than balanced by the heaven created by the end. 

The horror of abuse, and negligence are hard to take at the beginning, and the heartbreak of homelessness that follows is only a bit easier.  However, the story lightens and becomes more hopeful.  It continues to build into love and happiness highlighting the importance of friends and family.  By the end you will be both happy you have read this wonder story, and proud you have endured the evil to see good triumph.  Parker Owens had written one of the most powerful and wonderful stories on GA.  

Response from the author:

I'm immensely grateful for your kind and encouraging words. Thanks so much for continuing to read, despite how difficult the first few chapters were.  Unfortunately, there are too many kids who are victims of abuse, living on the streets or on their own. My hope is that this story will motivate us all to support organizations that will make the kind of ending for this story possible for more and more people. Once again, thanks very much.

  • Love 6
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Mrsgnomie

   4 of 4 members found this review helpful 4 / 4 members

The following is my comprehensive and detailed review of A-Z.

Wow. Just wow.

Response from the author:

Thank you for reading A to Z, and for letting me know your reactions. 

  • Love 7
Link to review
Mancunian

   5 of 5 members found this review helpful 5 / 5 members

A well crafted and brilliantly told story. The journey of Stefan/Eric/Andy is gripping, as is his overall characteristic of uncertain determination keeping him going until he meets Zander. The uncertain and shy dance of hopes and dreams of both boys until they discover their mutual love for each other is fascinating. I see the end of this story as the beginning of another, I hope one has been or is planned to be written. This has to be a definite top ten read that I highly recommend.

Response from the author:

I’m immensely glad you took time to read Andy’s story. You are most kind in your comments. These characters continue to live in my mind and heart. There are follow up snapshots - short stories that let us see them in later contexts. I hope these add more light to an already bright future for Andy. Thanks again. 

  • Love 5
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sojourn

   8 of 8 members found this review helpful 8 / 8 members

You will be moved.

Be warned:

This not an easy read but it is a GOOD READ!

A satisfying tale told in compelling prose.  Well paced and though it does slog a bit with wrong turns. even that is acknowledge rather tongue in cheek at the end. It has heroes and villains, good luck and bad luck, mother nature at her most unfeeling, and above all our heroes perseverance. 

This story is told through the eyes of a child who survives murderous physical assault, extreme sexual abuse from his family and cold, callous neglect by those charged to protect and defend. It reveals the inner strength of the boy becoming a man. And a man finding love and acceptance within himself.

How he survived, grew, and even thrived is a true tale of heroism. That tale is told in a style that connects so well to the protagonist you can almost feel the flesh of his ankle being abraded by the shackle. You will laugh a little, cry more than once, and rejoice at the goodness of people who do not realize they are too are Heroes. 

This story does not offer retribution, karma, punishment for the bad, nor justice for the victim. It shines in a way that makes surviving and growing in the face of incredible adversity a tale of heroism.

You will be moved.

Response from the author:

I am immensely grateful for your reading what is a difficult story, yet one that occupies my mind still. I appreciate your kind words, reflecting especially on the idea that there were those in the story who were heroes, even if they knew it not. Thank you for reading Andy’s story.

  • Like 1
  • Love 6
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chris191070

   6 of 6 members found this review helpful 6 / 6 members

This is one of the best stories I've had the privilege of reading on GA.

This is the story of Andy, told in his own words through his journal.

It is a real rollercoaster of a story, there is plenty of sad and painful moments in this story, especially in the first 9 chapters, but if you get through those.

You will find a beautiful and loving story, that twists and turns throughout, leading Andy to his greatest challenge he will face.

A truly fantastic story that comes highly recommended with a fantastic ending, that will fully explain the clever title.

A story that deserves to read by everybody.

Response from the author:

Your words are so encouraging. Thank you for taking the time to read A to Z and for following it through to its conclusion. It makes me very glad to know you enjoyed it so thoroughly.

  • Like 1
  • Love 5
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IanDaniels

   6 of 6 members found this review helpful 6 / 6 members

You are an amazing writer! I can’t believe how quickly I read the story, I just couldn’t put it away. I laughed, I cried, I was angry, and I felt the love. Simply a wonderful story. 🥰

Response from the author:

You were very kind in your review. I’m delighted you read Andy’s journal, and stayed with him throughout its sometimes challenging pages. Knowing the story connected with you makes writing it all worthwhile. Thank you for reading!

  • Love 6
Link to review
weinerdog

   7 of 7 members found this review helpful 7 / 7 members

This review is aimed toward readers like me who only recently joined GA and spent a lot time looking for worthwhile stories to read from GA"s massive selections. Some might come across this and see that has 67 chapters and say to themselves "oh man that's too much to read I can't invest that much time to this" to that I say I could have read 67 more chapters of this it was that good.

This story might have the most evil character in all the stories in GA and I realize what I'm saying.But it is more than counteracted by many awesome characters two of which might be the most sweetest characters GA has had.Please read this story you won't regret it.

Response from the author:

I’m so glad you took the chance and read A to Z. These characters continue to inhabit my thoughts, and I hope they’ll stay with you, too. 

  • Like 1
  • Love 5
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Trees Are Awesome

   6 of 6 members found this review helpful 6 / 6 members

This is an excruciatingly dark, yet somehow also beautiful story. It is masterfully written with the balance in detail giving you just enough to want more, but not too much to overwhelm you, makes for a very readable piece. 

The way the story develops as a journey is very well constructed and the loneliness is emphasised by the lack of dialogue perfectly encapsulates the solitary mindset. This was a great read, and I only hope I'd be able to write as incredibly as you do one day. Amazing work!

Response from the author:

I’m so very glad you made the journey with Andy. It’s wonderful you stuck with it through the difficult stretches. Remember that there are many Andys out there, and they need our help, too. Thanks a million for reading the journal. 

  • Love 9
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Shadow086

   7 of 7 members found this review helpful 7 / 7 members

I don't know what to add to what all the other reviews have said, but this is definitely one of the best stories I've read on this site. A captivating journey full of ups and downs and characters that stayed with me long after I finished reading. I can't help but come back to this every once in a while, and I love it just as much as the first time around.

Response from the author:

It’s heartening to know these characters and this story lingers in your mind. It’s very kind of you to review A to Z; still more to do so in such a nice way. Andy and Zander still live in my head and heart, too. 

  • Love 9
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Higster

   7 of 7 members found this review helpful 7 / 7 members

Absolutely amazing story which I would highly recommend. The story of Andy is an absolutely fantastic read and will have you wanting to read more. @Parker Owens should be proud he wrote this superb piece.

Response from the author:

I am very grateful for your kind and encouraging words. Many thanks for reading A to Z all the way to its end.

  • Like 3
  • Love 7
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cognac69

   7 of 7 members found this review helpful 7 / 7 members

I was glued and riveted from start to finish. I felt it all, I cried, I laughed, I felt anger and warm tingly goose bumps. What a great writer, I was totally absorbed. 

Response from the author:

I'm glad the story could bring out such a range of reactions, and that it was worth the time invested in reading. Many thanks.

  • Like 5
  • Love 6
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nelle1022

   6 of 6 members found this review helpful 6 / 6 members

Such a great story. A roller coaster of emotions and I loved every bit of it! A beautiful, beautiful story. 

Response from the author:

You're most kind in your response to A to Z. Thank you so much for reading.

  • Like 2
  • Love 7
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Former Member

· Edited by droughtquake

   7 of 7 members found this review helpful 7 / 7 members

As you read the first section, just keep repeating to yourself, ‘It gets better,’ ‘He survives this,’ and ‘Lots of other people managed to get through this and they rave about the story!’ 😉

A classical story arc where the beginning is almost unbearably dark leading to a conclusion that’s almost unbearably bright! 😉
 

This is a story you’ll want to Comment on and Discuss! Many have joined GA specifically to do so because of this story. It’s really that good!  ;–)
 

Remember that the reactions to this story (as well as the chapters) were mostly made before there were any alternative options to a Like. This artificially attenuates the reactions tremendously. There were no Sad or Angry reactions back then either.
[edited to delete redundant line feeds introduced by a change in GA software.]

  • Like 1
  • Love 2
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Sweetlion

· Edited by Sweetlion

   12 of 12 members found this review helpful 12 / 12 members

So much sadness and painful moments, but such a beautiful and loving journey. One of the best stories I read. It makes me ache for your next long story, hope you give us another brilliant piece soon. Thank. You. @Parker Owens :worship:

  • Like 7
  • Love 6
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WolfM

   10 of 10 members found this review helpful 10 / 10 members

I brutally harsh story that is one of the best I've run across on GA.  Beautifully told and difficult to put down.  Those late nights of reading "just one more chapter before bed" were well worth it and I know I'll read this again and again.

  • Like 5
  • Love 7
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northie

   10 of 10 members found this review helpful 10 / 10 members

This is one of the stories that made me join GA so that I could 'like', if not actually comment, on the wonderful, absorbing writing.

 

This novel is a journey of discovery for its characters and readers alike. At times, it is a difficult read but that is because the author believes in portraying the truth, and sometimes life is painful and distressing. These episodes often result in tears but they are more than offset by the joy, laughter, kindness, healing and love offered to the hero, and so, to the reader. 

 

The author's fundamental belief in the goodness that most of humanity harbours, shines through this amazing, thought-provoking, touching, and above all, gripping novel. One to be read and re-read many times.

  • Like 4
  • Love 6
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donjr101

   12 of 12 members found this review helpful 12 / 12 members

Great story would love to see another saga of this story, what happens to the characters after the end? Parker you are a great writer always keeping your readers in suspense, please keep up the good work.

  • Like 5
  • Love 4
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Dodger

   13 of 13 members found this review helpful 13 / 13 members

One of the best stories that I have read over the past year. A real rollercoaster ride that you won't want to get off. I went around for a second time. A great ending and a clever title. Well worth reading. 

  • Like 7
  • Love 5
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