Title : Safe
Author : C. Kennedy
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, YA, Contemporary
Length : 89 pages (e-book)
Published : October 24, 2013
Rating : ★★★★
A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
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.
1st Edition published by No Boundaries Press, April 2012.
Safe is the story of two young boys, Caleb Deering and Nico Caro. They meet at swim lessons at Caleb’s house when they are ten years old and become best friends. By twelve they share their first kiss, and then slowly progress to more explorations as they get older. During this time they both decide to keep it quiet. Caleb because he is not sure how his family will react and Nico because he knows how his father will react. Nico’s father is abusive to both him and his mother and he frequently appears with bruises as a result. Caleb and Nico are just waiting until they graduate and can leave for college, but Caleb wonders if he will be able to keep Nico safe until then.
The story is told in the present tense in the beginning of the story. The boys are seniors in high school. As they part for class, Caleb forgets they are at school and kisses Nico goodbye. A teacher sees them and reports it to the Head Master, who then calls their families. This is a disaster, especially for Nico. The story then flashes back to when Nico and Caleb met and progresses through the experiences that have shaped their lives and their love for one another. We then return to the present and the consequences of that kiss.
I thought the portrayal of the coming of age and falling in love was presented in a realistic light. Youthful experimenting and puberty is in full swing for many boys by age twelve. There are several points in the book that I would have loved to see further developed; more from Nico’s point of view and background, Liam, Caleb’s friend, one of the other characters Caleb meets in a diner, and Megan. I realize there is only so much you can put in a short story and I feel my curiosity is more indicative of the author weaving an intriguing story, than the story missing anything. I thought the relationship between Caleb and Nico was very sweet. The abuse from Nico’s father is disturbing and unfortunately not uncommon. The author lists many resources at the end of the book for anyone seeking help for themselves or someone they know.
Safe is the second story I have read by Cody Kennedy; the first was Omorphi, a full length novel. Even though I wanted this one to be longer, I enjoyed Safe and I am looking forward to more from this author.
Rated 4 stars by Deb