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About the Author
- ASIN : B004RZGYLI
- Publication date : March 12, 2011
- Language : English
- File size : 3745 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 364 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 145657390X
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #718,301 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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"A Better Place" definitely is dramatic. Various tragedies befall both characters, including rape, "straight therapy," death of a family member, and the deaths of two other boys that plays a part of the story at the end. While some people found this to be too overdramatic and unrealistic, I actually enjoyed watching Casper and Brendan overcome this series of misfortunes. However, the one thing I would have liked to see was more character growth. After going through all these things, I would think Casper and Brendan would change in some way. It felt like Roeder was giving the message that true love can overcome anything, and indeed Casper and Brendan's love is unwavering once they become a couple, but it would have been nice to see them grow as humans over the course of the novel. Another problem I must address was at the beginning of the novel, when Brendan's infatuation for Casper's cuteness suddenly becomes love. The development of feelings felt way too quick, and then because nothing in their relationship ever sours (including a moment of near infidelity late in the book which is squashed WAY too quickly), their relationship doesn't seem to change much either. Essentially, change and growth could have really done these characters well.
One other complaint was that the boys who appear later in the novel, Ethan and Nathan are almost copies of Brendan and Casper, which didn't bother me too much as I read the story, but is just pretty unrealistic in of itself.
Still, I quite like Casper. The beginning scenes with him dealing with his abusive brother and absent father really made me feel for him. Roeder did a great job with his scenes. And as dramatic as some of the scenes were, I responded to the drama in sections like the Cloverdale Center.
After reading two of Roeder's other novels, I found this one didn't have the same focus on love/sex and the push-and-pull of teenage hormones. And the repetitive nature that plagues some of his sections weren't as prevalent here. I definitely felt the drama and extremity of the plot actually helped the writing. So even though I wasn't engaged as much as I was by "The Nudo Twins," I do prefer this novel to "Disastrous Dates & Dream Boys," and in spite of the pretty basic writing style (which I just believe is Roeder's style), "A Better Place" offers more writing strength than his other works I've read thus far.
Brendan is the most popular kid at high school, quarterback of the football team, handsome and friendly, for a very wealthy family that allow him to have a nice car and all the last fashion available, Brendan is even more fascinating since he seems unaware of his good looks and fortune. Brendan has also a secret, but not really something that is causing him trouble: he is gay, and in his openness and yes, lucky youth, he has already realized it and decided it's fine. Sure, Brendan is aware he cannot come out at school that it's not easy, but more or less, he is fine.
Not the same for Casper; he is the poorest kid at school, and even worst, he is abused at home; his older brother has more than once abused him and he is still doing that. Most night Casper sleeps under the open sky to avoid being alone in the same room with his brother. In his young mind, Casper associates being gay with being abused, and so, when Brendan makes a move with him, Casper is scared to death.
But as I said, Brendan is such a nice boy that Casper in the end is able to trust him; their newfound happiness is destroyed by Brendan's family and but the dramatic decision they take on their son's fate. Again Brendan will prove to be strong and with a self-consciousness that is rare in such a young man; he will maintain the promise he did to Casper to protect him, whatever it will take.
I preferred the first part of the story, until Brendan and Casper are trying to find their path in life alone; I found the last part, when Brendan and Casper go to live with Ethan and Nathan (from Someone Is Watching) a little too similar to what I guess is Ethan and Nathan's own story, almost a repetition. All in all, I think that, even if Casper is cuter and the one who needs more protection, even from the reader point of view, I think the best character was Brendan, I most of all loved how he is so open with his feelings and ready to love despite all the trouble it implies.
Top reviews from other countries
Anyway, back to this novel which is the story of two young guys - Brandan, the high school football hero and all round hunk, and Casper, the weak, bullied boy - and how they eventually fall in love. However, before happiness can be achieved they have to jointly overcome many trauma's and hardships, of which some were very adult in content. To give you a rough idea of some of the subjects covered in this novel, there is bullying, incest, prostitution, medical misconduct, rape, murder and underage sex. Reference to a medical centre aimed at 'curing' homosexuality paints a dim view of the methods used to put gay kids on the straight (excuse the pun) and narrow. I personally felt that this book almost needed a guidence rating due to its content, although the subjects are glossed over mostly, being only touched upon with little or no details given.
The book is also told in chapters from the viewpoint of each of the two main characters, so that you get variations of the same events and challenges, plus some that the two guys don't share with each other (making you feel privy to secrets). However, the book also has two parts - book 1 and book 2 - and book 2 definately has the feel of being a 'tack on' to the first, which ended quite nicely (with a few lose ends which could have been fully resolved in a proper, second installment of the story). Also in book 2 the focus changes and the story is told from Brendan's viewpoint and that of a new character named 'nathan' which left me feeling that Casper had been slightly dumped, which was a shame, as of the two boys, he was the most engaging.
Overall, I throughly enjoyed the book (even though I haven't quite yet finished it but couldn't wait to review the book here). I will definately now be going back and checking out the first two books despite knowing how they ended.
I recommend this book to anyone who likes not only a gay romance, but also a damn good story too!
The problem was they were just too good to be true and this stretched credibility too far. Teenage boys with raging hormones are unlikely to pledge undying love so soon in life and spend most of their time kissing.
The book made a pleasant change from semi-pornographic novels but a more realistic interpretation of real life would have made for a more believable read.
That said, it was a nice enough read although I was very disappointed with the editing - there were a lot of (very basic) typographical and grammatical errors which should have been picked up - and that did detract from the pleasure in some part for me.