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Barriers of a Broken Soul is a story by Joey Crump that takes drama and adds some philosophical bent to it. Divided into four parts, each with its own Theme Naming, chronicles the story of a boy named Kevin.
The plot is primarily about how Kevin grows through his interactions with others - namely his close friends. As the story progresses, Kevin learns a lot of things about himself and about his friends, and about friendship in general. It goes deep into philosophical territory near the end, and each of the characters is examined as we learn their deepest flaws.
The story is somewhat unique for its structure, three-dimensional characters, and somewhat vague setting. Each chapter is relatively short, but there are a lot of them, leading to the ability to quickly read a chapter when short on time. The characters are very fleshed-out, and are as human as the reader is. The setting is vague, primarily to keep the reader focused on the psychological states of the characters. Also of interest is that there is no true antagonist - things may go wrong, but none of the characters is inherently bad, possibly just a little messed up.
The story has several themes running through it, the primary one being growth - the characters all grow throughout the story, and your perceptions of them grow as you learn more about them. Another big theme is the deconstruction of perfection - how nothing is really perfect, and why you shouldn't think so. One more primary theme is that of birth - the parts are named after stages of pregnancy, and reference the way Kevin approaches his own "rebirth" - as everyone does at times in their lives.
The story can be found at https://sites.google.com/site/barriersofabrokensoul/.
Spoilers Ahoy! This story has several big plot twists, and you may not want them spoiled for you. In addition, just reading about the characters here is no fun. You're better off reading the story first, since characterization is one of the most important features, and by learning about them here, you spoil much of the plot for yourself. You Have Been Warned!
This book provides examples of:
- All Take and No Give: Sarah is like this.
- Arc Words: Anything about death, birth, growth, etc. Also, "Don't you care about me anymore?" "Perfect" is another big one.
- Backstory: All of the characters have one.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Sarah.
- Better as Friends: Kevin and Eris. Kevin and Ayala. Notably, NOT Kevin and Sarah.
- Blatant Lies: Sarah when telling Kevin she's a virgin. Even when he tells her he knows the truth.
- Boy Meets Girl: Cynical, depressed boy meets cheery, upbeat girl.
- Break the Cutie: Kevin.
- Break His Heart to Save Him: Ayala.
- Character Development: Everywhere.
- Critical Psychoanalysis Failure: Kevin to Sarah and Eris to Ayala.
- Cryptically Unhelpful Answer: Kevin's internal monologuer.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Kevin, at the very beginning. Also, Holden to Sarah. Or so you thought.
- Driven to Suicide: How the story starts. And nearly ends.
- Establishing Character Moment: Part of the Opening Monologue.
- First Girl Wins: Defied. Eris and Kevin never become more than friends.
- Freudian Excuse: Every character has one.
- Friend Versus Lover: A main plot element.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Kevin. Also Eris in relation to Ayala.
- Jerkass Facade: Holden.
- Just Friends: Kevin and Eris. Also, Kevin and Ayala. For now. Maybe.
- Last Girl Wins: Defied.
- Like Brother and Sister: Kevin and Ayala. Or maybe just Ayala. Or maybe neither of them.
- Love Confession: Sarah, at the perfect moment. Kevin, at the worst possible moment.
- Love Epiphany: Kevin has this when he thinks about the prospect of prom with Ayala.
- Love Interests: Kevin and Sarah. Also Ayala. Maybe. Also Deconstructed.
- Love Makes You Crazy: Kevin. Especially when he kisses his best friend in public. Oops!
- Meaningful Echo: "Don't you care about me anymore" Defied by Eris.
- Misery Builds Character: One of the major themes.
- Nice Guys Finish Last: Poor Kevin.
- Noodle Incident: What exactly are Eris and Holden hiding at the end?
- Opening Monologue: Part of the Establishing Character Moment.
- Opposites Attract: Kevin and Sarah.
- Reality Ensues: A common Theme
- Romantic Runner-Up: Kevin.
- Sacred First Kiss: Kevin and Sarah.
- So Happy Together: Outright stated by both Kevin and Sarah. Later Deconstructed.
- Talking in Your Dreams: Kevin, usually after important events.
- That Man Is Dead: Kevin after he makes amends with himself and averts his own suicide attempt.
- The Big Damn Kiss: Kevin and Sarah, and it's perfect. Kevin and Ayala...kind of.
- The Chew Toy: Kevin.
- The Cynic: Kevin.
- Token Romance: Averted. Kevin and Sarah's relationship is a large part of the story.
- Took a Level In Jerkass: Holden sometimes, Kevin while with Sarah, and Sarah to Kevin.
- Understanding Boyfriend: Kevin. Not that it helps.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Sarah.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Ayala. At first.
- Unrequited Love Lasts Forever: Averted, then played straight, then averted again (maybe).
- Was It All a Lie?: Invoked by Kevin.
- We Used to Be Friends: Kevin and most of his friends. It gets better.
- You Are Not Alone: Eris to Kevin at the end. Also, Ayala.