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.