Poughkeepsie Begins by Debra Anastasia

December 4, 2015 Book Review 16 ★★★★★

Poughkeepsie Begins by Debra Anastasiafive-stars
Poughkeepsie Begins by Debra Anastasia
Series: The Poughkeepsie Brotherhood #0.5
Also in this series: Poughkeepsie, Return to Poughkeepsie
Published by Omnific Publishing on November 22, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 199
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It ends with the beginning. This legendary, indie, cult-favorite series ends its tale with the story of the Poughkeepsie brotherhood before the tattoo. Before the train station, before the church, before a criminal empire there was a foster home and three teen boys who chose each other as family, because the ones they were born into didn’t exist

Still in high school, Beckett is already laying the groundwork for a grander life ahead, one where his brothers want for nothing and get some respect for once. But even as he plans, Beckett must decide if he’s ready to make that choice—diving in to a life that trades his chance at a future, his chance at something as simple as first love with a girl named Candy Cox, for their chance to find happiness.

Blake, Beckett, and Cole’s devotion to each other is forged by fists and the driving need to belong somewhere, to do more than just survive this life. Readers of the series know they each get there in the end, but before we count smiles, we must first shed tears. These early days of the Poughkeepsie brotherhood will play on your heartstrings before serrating them with a knife; they’ll lift your soul with music, only to leave you with nothing but a desperate prayer for hope.

And when you reach the end of the beginning, you’ll be ready to start the series all over again.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

Review Header By Lily


Poughkeepsie Begins was a great addition to the Poughkeepsie series. The story picks up with Beckett, Blake and Cole in their final year of high school. With the life they’ve led, you’re not in for a typical YA story. Circumstance has the guys as far removed from your average teenager as you could get. Coping and acting beyond their years was thrust upon them a long time ago. Now in foster care, they were marking their time until the system was no longer calling the shots.

I am a stickler for reading series in order of release and this being numbered prior to all the other books released, I guess this would be one of the exceptions. So read on, I don’t imagine this review will hold spoilers regardless of where you are up to in the series. What you will find is a strong cast of characters and a heart moving, witty and poignant story of survival.

For a few heartbeats, three teenage boys raged at their childhood. They hollered at fate. They screamed out pure need. It was the sound of Peter Pan fucking dying, the ghost of dreams that would never be—until Cole started cough-sob-laughing. 

All three guys have dark pasts, they are the kids too hard to deal with and they find themselves with foster parents more interested in the money they generate than wanting to give a child a caring and safe life. Their stories are dark but not gloomy. The solidarity they symbolize evokes hope for the least fortunate souls out in the world. Becket’s methods of returning some balance to his foster family and people he sees as needing help is not going to win him any citizenship awards. Yet he and the guys are making a difference, several times over in this book alone.

And although Beckett was still only seventeen, he presided over the world like he’d been there for a millennium. 

They are a strong self-made family and are open to being family to others who need them. There’s a touch of romance but the focus is on survival. Well-meaning help outshines the blinkered attitude of the greater community, pigeon-holing them as no good and lost causes.

I initially went into this series blind and apart from sharing how much I have enjoyed each book, I want to leave it to you to embrace and count each smile, to discover how humanity exists in the least likely of scenarios.

What I loved:

  • Knowing but not fixating on the history of each of the guys
  • Candy
  • Witnessing their kindness to each other
  • Being the best big brothers to their foster sisters
  • That dance
  • Mouse
  • The bathroom scene…boys will be boys!
  • Fighting for Freddie
  • The goodbye
  • Knowing I have so much more to add but knowing I have to hold back
  • The cover!

What I struggled with:

  • That a beginning may be the end…
  • Cole’s mother
  • Rick and Ethel

Lily’s rating: 5 Stars

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16 Responses to “Poughkeepsie Begins by Debra Anastasia”

    • Lily

      Thanks Ophelia, I can’t believe I overlooked it for so long. A surprise gem waiting to be discovered in my massive TBR list!

  1. Linda

    Love the review, and the book was awesome!! Sad to see them go, but oh how great the series has been <3 <3

    • Lily

      Couldn’t agree more Linda and thank you for your kind words. I was still mourning you know who ….got no idea if I can add spoilers in a comment, so not going to mention names! Finishing at the beginning left me with the feeling it was all ahead of them 🙂

      • Linda

        Oh, I know, it was bittersweet to get a glimpse again <3 Made me want to re-read the series again =D

    • Lily

      Thanks Michele 🙂
      Always a pleasure to have the chance to talk about one of my favourite series!

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