Marc reviews Safe by C. Kennedy. This book was published by Harmony Ink Press on October 23, 2013 and is about 89 pages long.
Also check out Dana’s review of this book HERE 🙂
I scored a free copy of this book during a Harmony Ink Press book promo and couldn’t wait to read it. I wanted to read a book by Cody Kennedy for a long time and a short story like this one seemed perfect to get a taste of his style.
They met at ten, kissed at twelve, and were madly in love by eighteen.
Caleb Deering is the captain of the swim team and the hottest senior in school. He comes from a loving home with a kind father and a caring, but strict mother who is battling breast cancer. Nico Caro is small and beautiful, and has a father who rules with an iron fist—literally.
One morning Caleb forgets himself, and he pecks Nico on the lips at school. A teacher sees them and tattles to the headmaster. The accidental outing at school might be the least of their problems, because the ball set in motion by the school’s calls to their parents could get Nico killed. In the face of that very real danger, Caleb knows he has only one mission in life: to keep Nico safe.
This is the first book by this author I had the pleasure to read and it is a very sweet book, even though it touches on some very dark themes like abuse. I think the author excels at showing how cruel, hurtful and dangerous the actions against LGBT kids can be and puts these actions in direct comparison with the innocence of Caleb and Nico’s love.
Now, I must admit that I did not expect their intimacy to be shown as explicitly as it is. The characters become sexually active at a very young age and I felt a bit uncomfortable intruding as these boys discovered themselves and each other. Neither their emotional nor their physical connection is dirty or shameful, though and the author very openly and honestly shows readers the love between these two boys.
The way they share their bodies with each other is just as much part of their relationship as their honesty with each other and the way their love does not break, even when things become difficult for the boys. Still, I would have loved to buy this book for my mom, had it been less-explicit. I think Cody decided to write the book like this deliberately and I can respect that and am in awe at the innocense and purity he captured.
The boys find each other at a young age, grow up together and become boyfriends in secret, until a teacher witnesses an innocent kiss and forces them out of the closet. This is only the first of many violations Caleb and Nico have to endure. While Caleb has a happy home life, Nico lives with an abusive father, who hurts him regularly.and sees his year-long abuse justified, when he finds out that his son is gay. Not that he ever needed a reason to punish the small boy.
Add to that the terrible way many other children react when Caleb and Nico are openly outed by the teacher and it will be easy to understand my admiration of the strength and courage it takes for them to continue loving each other without regrets and without limits.
I must agree with Dana, who recommended this book to me, that Caleb’s father should have reacted much better. I understand that some parents don’t want to stick their nose where it doesn’t belong, but the kind of abuse Nico suffered for years should not have been allowed to continue. Even if Nico had been taken out of his home, I think leaving him with his father, who beat him up viciously, is not an option in my opinion and should not have been an option for the DA. At least it was easy to see how much he loved his own son and his reaction to finding out about Caleb being gay and in love with Nico was perfect.
I also loved Caleb’s best friend and the way he stood by him and Nico. Not all athletes and kids in general act in a hurtful way. It seems that some kids have been taught hatred from their parents, some have been taught to be tolerant and the others are looking for guidance to find out how they should behave. It was beautiful to see Caleb and Nico be happy and find a safe place to love each other.
I can strongly recommend this beautiful and sweet book and hope its message will be as powerful for you as it was for me. Also check out this post, where Cody explains Caleb’s dad’s actions and advocates for speaking out for those who are being abused.
8.5/10 Pots of Gold (85% Recommended) – Compares to 4.25/5 Stars
Raised on the mean streets and back lots of Hollywood by a Yoda-look-alike grandfather, C. Kennedy doesn’t conform, doesn’t fit in, is epic awkward, and lives to perfect a deep-seated oppositional defiance disorder. In a constant state of fascination with the trivial, C. contemplates such weighty questions as: If time and space are curved, then where do all the straight people come from? When not writing, C. can be found taming waves on western shores, pondering the nutritional value of sunsets, appreciating the much maligned dandelion, unhooking guide ropes from stanchions, and marveling at all things ordinary.