“Haze” by Michael Chavez is the story of Andrew. Growing up overweight and very reserved, Andrew never had a chance to feel like part of a group. When he goes to college and meets his first love, Nat, everything changes. Nat completely accepts Andrew just as he is. He also encourages him to join his circle of friends. When Nat is involved in a horrifying accident, Andrew’s life is completely torn apart. While he stays loyal to Nat, he becomes best friends with Ilario. Ilario is haunted by memories of being brutally violated in high school. Efron, the person who led the assault, shows up in Andrew’s life after Ilario commits suicide.
Andrew is filled with anger towards Efron. Vengeance is on his mind. When an opportunity to take revenge presents itself, Andrew actually backs down but he put himself in a position of being blackmailed by a witness. Since Efron has no clue who he is, Andrew decides to drastically alter his appearance by losing weight and getting fit. By sticking to this plan, Andrew becomes more confident and assertive, especially at work.
Encountering Efron again, Andrew sees that he is still deceptive and disloyal to those who are close to him. At this time, Andrew’s change is complete and he is unrecognizable to Efron. When Andrew’s place of work has serious allegations made against them, Efron comes into the picture as part of the legal counsel for the opposing side. When given the chance, Efron betrays Andrew to help his side. When he realizes what happened, Andrew has to reach inside himself to see how strong he really is. He knows that by doing what is right, he will risk losing everything.
“Haze” by Michael Chavez is a very complex novel. There are several dramas unfolding around the main one. Each one is connected in some way, yet at the heart of the novel is Andrew’s story. I was really impressed with how the author managed to tie everything together. His subplots were also very complex, and he presented them all so that they stood well on their own. Tying everything together made “Haze” stand out as an extremely well written, thought-provoking story about redemption - I highly recommend reading “Haze.”