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Everything you could want in a real romance story!
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 15 years ago
This was the romance story I have been searching all year for! How easy is it to find? Not easy at all! You've tasted purity of love and the devestating pain of loss in Mercedes Lackey's "The Last Herald-Mage" series. You've found the long lost classic "Maurice; a novel" E.M. Forster and "The god in Flight" Laura Argiri. You've read the more contempory novels like RD Zimmerman's "Hostage" and Alex Sanchez's "The Rainbow Boys" Well this is it! Casper and Brendan are the perfect match, so sweet and loving. Casper needed someone soo bad and thank god it was smart and understanding Brendan. In fact this story shows something that is refreshingly new and rarely seen; that all our education isn't wasted on the young. Kids in the here and now aren't so dumb or naive (mostly)as their parents may have been. There is still predjuice and ignorance but MAYBE it's not so strong in this next generation. Maybe with continuing education and generations it will disappear.. Well the first 'Part' is more then half the book and is the meat of Casper & Brendan's story. In Part 2 new characters are added and they meet others in Roeder's universe, a little slower paced here but no less wonderful (also a great taste of his other stories.) BUY IT. YOU WON'T REGRET IT!
A Review of A BetterPlace by Cheri
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 16 years ago
"A BetterPlace", by Mark A. Roeder, is an engrossing tale of two boys from different worlds who fall in love. Readers may already be familiar with Roeder's other books in the "Gay Youth Chronicles" series. These include, "Ancient Prejudice", "The Soccer Field is Empty" and "Someone is Watching", to name a few. It is sad that young boys are taunted and shamed into keeping their true identities securely hidden. What could Brendan, a beautiful, incredibly popular, seventeen year old boy, captain of the football team, and an A student, have to fear when he seems to have the world on a plate? The truth is that he is gay and if anyone finds out, his life as he knows it, will be over. Could such fear of discovery be worth taking your own life, or even thinking about it?And what does Casper have to fear? He is fifteen, motherless, poor, lonely, and tormented by his brother, neglected by his alcoholic father, and bullied at school. He never gets sufficient food to eat, has a sparse wardrobe, and often sleeps outdoors to escape his abusive brother. He hasn't even admitted to himself that he likes boys. What would happen to him if people suspected he was gay too?Brendan and Casper make an unlikely couple, the rich boy who has everything, and the poor boy that has nothing, but they hook up. Their relationship is a bit stormy at first but Casper learns to trust Brendan, comes to terms with his homosexuality, and is able to return Brendan's love.Roeder gives us an amazing portrayal of the fear, self-loathing, and other problems these boys experience because of their sexual orientation. He captures the boys' emotions so deeply that the reader's own heart breaks for them and for all boys like them. It is disgraceful that they are made to feel perverted, abnormal, and inferior because much of society has deemed homosexuality immoral.It makes any accepting human being want to fix society, to change the puritanical idea that same sex love is wrong, to pass legislation that makes same sex marriage legal, and accept that it is diversity that makes our country great. We should all be free to love who we want without fear of discrimination, hatred, and prejudice.Anyone who has ever been teased or tormented appreciates the emotional toll it takes on self confidence and self esteem. It is depressing to hear Casper describe himself as "poor, unpopular, weak, puny, and pathetic," while the reader sees a sweet, loveable, bright, and undernourished boy. Brendan's love for Casper makes him even more desirable.Roeder shows, parents who can not accept their children's sexual orientation and love them unconditionally, parents who do not protect their children, and a society that allows places like Cloverdale, a mental institution that uses physical, chemical (drugs), and psychological means to "cure" people of their homosexuality. There can be no equality and freedom until people accept that nothing can (or should) be done to make gay people straight.This story offers hope t
A *Far* BetterPlace!
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 16 years ago
This is one of three of Mark's books that I have read so far and is, in my opinion, the best yet read.Casper's character, especially early in the book, stimulates every sympathetic and protective nerve in your body. Sometimes so much so that it hurts. Brendan, almost a little too perfect to believe at first, develops very nicely as the story progresses and the balance between our two heroes shifts into gear before any seeming gulf between their needs and abilities becomes uncomfortable.Like all Mark's couples with whom I am familiar, Casper and Brendan really and truly *belong* together. It seems to take a little longer for them to show it in APB than is the case with characters in some of the other books. But that makes it all the more wonderful. There was a quite a bit of heartbreak, suspense and even a "dark secret" or two before Casper and Brendan truly "meld" in my mind's eyes. But when they do, the result is one of the most beautiful and believable stories of mutual love and support that I have had the pleasure of reading.Although other fans will disagree (we have *strong* opinions in this regard), I would readily recommend "A BetterPlace" to anyone who is curious about Mark A. Roeder's work (or about "gay teen romances" in general) as a "first read." That recommendation stands whether the prospective reader is straight or gay or somewhere in between. Even more, I would recommend this book to parents or adult friends (teachers, employers, coaches, etc.) of gay young people who are a little unsure of what "being gay" can really mean. Mark captures the hopes and fears, as well as the trials and victories of young gay men and gives them a vitality and realism that is exquisite. If you have read other of Mark's books, you of course need no recommendation. But if you haven't, I urge you to try this one. It will definitely take you to a "far betterplace" than you might first imagine.
A wonderful read
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 18 years ago
This is the story of Brendan, who has it all; looks, popularity, and money and Clint nicknamed Casper in grade school because he was thin and pale like Casper The Friendly Ghost. Casper is the poorest boy in school and is not in the popular clique, his brother beats him, his father ignores him and his mother passed away a few years before. The first half of this book takes us on the journey of how they come together and begin a relationship. Casper is excited at the attention paid to him by Brendan but the road they travel is not always easy. There are misunderstanding and mixed feeling to deal with along with friendships and betrayals, hardships and heartbreaks. The second half of the book explores just what they have to do for love and to be together. Is it worth it? Can they find their way to a betterplace? This story was critisized by other reviews for being to juvenile in its writing style and for the characters crying and descriptions of muscles but in my opinion the author hits the nail on the head with these situations. Perhaps others have forgotten what it was like to be a gay teen just coming out. It is not all easy. Crying is par for the course and seeing the muscles in good looking guys along the way is normal. The author switches from the points of view of the main characters so you do get a little overlap of some situations as they are described by each of them but it allows the reader a greater chance to get to know each character more by seeing how they react to the same situations. The boys end up in the town of Verona and meet up with characters from the authors three preious books. This book can be read without having read the others but I recomend the reading of the first three books to get some of the back ground history of the characters. Some authors seem to think that to write a coming out novel it has to be an "event" that the messages have to be grand and larger than life. No so here. MarkRoeder has found the voice of the young gay teen and captures it with depth and compasion without coming off as predictable or shallow. The joy of reading this book is you care for the characters and what happens to them. I can't wait for a sequel or to find out what happens next in Verona.
A BetterPlace - A better novel
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 19 years ago
It's wonderful to read a novel that pulls at your heartstrings and makes you care deeply about the main characters. But this novel will make you sad not only for what happens but that what happens also happens to too many other boys. But feel assured they do end up in A BetterPlace!
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