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Book Info


Story Ballads by Mia Kerick

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Mia Kerick
3 March 2021
Book Type


He risks his life and finds his heart.

Kyle is a swaggering bully; Lenny strives to be invisible.
Kyle has been left alone in the world; Lenny is the world’s biggest loner.
When Kyle saves Lenny from drowning, their lives will never be the same.

After a brutal encounter with school bullies, Lenny swims out into the ocean, determined to let the current whisk him away. Next thing he knows the meanest kid in town is pulling him from the waves, promising to be his Dead Sea, and to never let him sink.

All Kyle wants is to get out of beach cleanup, is that too much to ask? So he goes for a swim, only to come upon the most epic loser in the senior class drowning in a riptide. Lenny’s haunted gaze grips him, and Kyle makes the impulsive decision to save his life or die trying. Through this ordeal, Kyle and Lenny are transformed.

Kyle’s heroic act sets him on the straight and narrow, and he opens his heart to the young man he dragged from the ocean. Lenny changes too but is still unable to reveal the truth of his pain. While drowning in a sea of secrets, the reformed bully and wary victim fall in love. But staying afloat in the Dead Sea is not as simple as it seems.

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Reviewed By: Josh Dale


Mia is a new to me author. But not anymore. I am blown away with this book. It is a book that everyone can relate too in one way or another.

It touches so many issue that young lgbtq+ people endure in the young lives.

We have Lenny, who lives in the shadows, avoiding others as much as possible. He is struggling with his sexual identity and the desire to dress up as a character from movies. It is his release to all the stress, turbulence, and constant ridicule /bullying from his classmates.

The we have Kyle, who has no support from his single mom who is cold and resentful of Kyle. I just cried at her stone-cold attitude to Kyle. As a defence strategy, Kyle has fallen in with the wrong crowd. His reasoning is bully or be bullied so he plays the tough jock type of guy.

Lenny has been visiting the local gay bar where he can go out in his costumes and feel safe.

One sighting of Lenny dressed up triggers a chain of events that changes both Lenny and Kyle for life.

Panicking that his world is about to implode, Lenny feels like he can not take any more. He swims out from the shore of the local beach with the intention of drowning.

Just as it is to late to save himself from dying, the least expected person Kyle comes to his rescue and after a few hairy moments they return to shore.

What follows is a touching story of two troubled boys struggling with life, that become good friend and seem to bring the best out of each other.

The story is so real and relatable to life’s struggles. The author does not suddenly wave a magic wand, and everything is good.

No, the suicide rescue is just the start of the long journey Lenny and Kyle are set on. With many obstacles ahead, as they slowly learn to trust each other. There is so much growth of these two young men as they grow beyond friendship to boyfriend.

Kyle sees the world differently and wants to be a better person, his determination shines through. And Lenny with Kyles support learns to be himself.

I love Kyle’s chats with his dead Grandfather, some of them make you smile, and others brings tears to your eyes.

Lenny’s turmoil and inner thoughts are so sad, but its nice to see him open up with his mother’s unconditional support and Kyle by his side.

The constant tension that Kyle’s former buddies might out Lenny keeps you biting your nails right till the end.

This is a master Young Adult novel that I think will show many young people who are going through similar situations, that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It is such a shame and darn right wrong that Bullying in general is still widespread in our schools around the world.

Dead Sea is an apt title that you will understand why after the rescue scenes. It is a powerful story of surviving school years and coming of age.

I so would love to read a second book of Lenny and Kyle. I am prepared to beg the author to write their second book lol.



My ass is getting numb from zoning out for so long on the couch in front of the boob tube. I crack a smile. It’s what you used to call the TV, Grampa. Remember? Not that it’s got boobs—I’d have surely noticed that, seeing as most nights I stare at the damn thing until my eyes go blurry.

I pop open the bag of Ruffles I found on top of the fridge—you can’t hide junk food from this dude—and stick my bare feet on the coffee table. Mom would kick them off, her big feet wedged into a pair of clunky boots with lugged soles that always leave a mark. She’s not here, though, so I might as well make myself comfortable.

I didn’t want to sneak into the dumb gay bar with those assholes, anyhow. But would it have killed them to ask me if I was up for it? Nope—that didn’t happen. The three fuckin’ musketeers, my ass. Sisti and Zane snuck off with two hot sophomore girls without a word. So, this guy’s parked in front of the boob tube. Like, again.

Makes sense no girl will come near me, though. They smell my meanness from a mile away. Can’t say as I blame them—my own mother smells my meanness and steers clear. But shit, I can’t get a date to save myself.

I stuff a handful of chips into my pie hole and savor the salt and grease. They taste almost too good—I haven’t had a bite to eat since noon when I swiped the school lunch of some dweeb who dared to wear jeans that made him look like he was waiting for a flood. The loser should’ve come to school in pants that hit his damn ankles—he might’ve escaped my attention.

And another fist full of chips…down the hatch.

My best pals bailed on me tonight—I would’ve been a total fifth wheel. You used to tell me with friends like Sisti and Zane I didn’t need no enemies. Whatevs.

I only give about half a shit I couldn’t find a girl to go out with tonight. None of the babes Gil and Damon drool over do it for me. Sure, they’re hot—sweet smelling with painted-on jeans and I’m-all-that smiles. There’s just something I want to see in their eyes that’s not there. Could be because most girls are always glaring at me in that stay-the-hell-away-from-me-you-caveman way. Or it could be the other thing…

Yup, the thing I’ve never admitted to nobody. Never even told you, Gramps, about how I sometimes get hot for the look in certain dudes’ eyes. Grampa didn’t need to know that shit—it’s TMI, for sure. And it’s not like I stand a chance with the smart quiet types of guys I’m into.

I lean back on the ancient couch in our living room for my third episode of Cops. Lucky me, tonight’s a Cops marathon. Hope like hell I’m never one of the bad boys on it.

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Award-winning gay romance author, Mia Kerick, knows that a satisfying romance novel is riddled with challenges. For true love to prevail, the leading men are gonna have to put in some effort. But the HEA is oh-so rewarding.

Mia has a great affinity for the damaged teenage soul in literature. Her YA gay contemporary romance focuses on such tropes as hurt/comfort and dark secrets that keep them apart. In Kerick’s books, the course of true love never does run smooth.

Mia’s books have been featured in Kirkus Reviews magazine. They have won a 2019 IPPY GOLD award for Juvenile/Young Adult Fiction, a 2018 YA GOLD MOONBEAM Children’s Book Award, a YA Readers’ Favorite Award, several Gold Rainbow Awards in YA and adult categories, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, a YA Indie Fab Award, a First Place Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, a First Place Story Monsters Purple Dragonfly Award, and more.

Mia cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

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