Author: Mark Zubro
Publisher: MLR Press, LLC
Word count: 61,000
Heat level warning: (Implied consensual sexual contact, Attempted Rape)
In an unsafe world, death and danger stalk gay teens, Roger Cook and Steve Koemer.
Roger Cook is in the middle of his senior year when Kyle Davis, the most picked on kid in his high school commits suicide. Roger agrees to write an article on Kyle for the school newspaper. As he gathers information, Roger realizes the dead boy was gay and may have been murdered. Gay himself, Roger wants to find out the truth, but this leads him to danger and the possibility of love. Roger opens himself to even greater risk while trying to make those around him safe.
Review of book
Safe by Mark Zubro was nothing like I’d anticipated, and it completely rocked my socks off. I’m not usually a fan of the YA genre, because I’ve found that I just don’t relate well to the characters. It’s not a criticism against the authors who write it; it’s more a case of my own reading bigotry, if you will. Safe was chock full of twists and turns, with emotional plot developments that actually brought tears to my eyes at times, and characters that I not only liked, I loved.
Roger Cook is a closeted Gay athlete who writes for his school paper. On the surface he seems happy, well adjusted, liked by many of his peers and classmates. There’s a reason for that; he is a happy well adjusted teen male who enjoys moderate popularity - he’s also Gay. Roger has hesitated to come out to his family and friends because he’s fearful of the repercussions the revelation could bring. When word comes that a fellow classmate, Kyle Davis, has apparently committed suicide, Roger takes on the daunting task of writing a column to memorialize his life. However, the deeper he digs, the more he’s convinced that the boy didn’t take his own life. Roger is determined to honor Kyle the only way he knows how to - by uncovering the truth.
I found Roger to be very likable, and while he wasn’t up front about every aspect of his life, he was confident enough to stand up for what he believed in. He was a loyal friend, compassionate and dedicated to making sure others knew the value that Kyle held as a person, albeit posthumously. Kyle, at first glance was the odd duck; not well liked at all, and seemed to have little in common with his classmates. I was pleasantly surpassed at how his back story unfolded and ached a little at the loneliness he must have felt. Kyle may have been quiet and unassuming, but he was anything but boring.
Safe by Mark Zubro, is a white knuckled, spine chilling look at how hate and intolerance tend to bring out the worst in the small minded, while inspiring others to reach within to find the strength necessary to rise above their circumstances and live with authenticity. An entertaining tale of suspense that I highly recommend, whether you’re a fan of the young adult genre or not.
Five Shooting Stars!!