A Better Place by Mark A. Roeder
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A Better Place

(Gay Youth Chronicles Complete Chronology #11)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  763 ratings  ·  45 reviews
What do the poorest boy in town and the captain of the football
team have in common? More than you might think. Casper has nothing, but a trio of bullies who hound him, a distant father and an older brother who makes his life a living hell. Brendan has it all; muscles, money, fame and popularity. The boys come from different worlds, but both share a constant desire.

A Bett
Paperback, 332 pages
Published March 20th 2001 by Writers Club Press (first published 2001)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  763 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Sep 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bookwatcher by: Mahyar Alemipour
I hate it… very much.
No, I’m not saying that I hate this book, but the feeling I get reading it. Are you confused? Well, please think about something: you have your good live. Is not perfect, but you are happy, in a good house, with a loving one near you (family or a partner) trying to stay exactly as you are now… happy and enclosed in your perfect or almost perfect little world. So you are there and start to read this book, and all the walls that enclose you, the ones you created, fall down so
Aug 20, 2015 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I have no idea how to rate this book. Not one - so I'm leaving it stateless. I could pick the thing apart quicker than an old jumper. It bordered between epic and ridiculous.

It seemed like the author started with one story, then decided that it wasn't enough so he added more pain and more horror and more atrocity. Parts of it were downright soul destroying. Characters were good or bad and melodrama ruled.

And yet... I couldn't stop reading. I loved Casper & Brendan and wanted them to be happy.

DarkHeart "Vehngeance"
Sep 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009, young-adult, m-m
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. Brendan and Casper were sweet characters, but the story was just a bit too much for me. The dramatic events would have had more impact had it only been a couple of them, but pretty much every horrible thing that could happen to this pair happened. It was just too much to be believable, which distracted from the story. And while I didn't mind the changing POV from Brendan and Casper, I thought the addition of Nathan and Ethan in the latter half w ...more
Mar 17, 2012 rated it liked it
I have a whole list of things that annoyed me about this book:

For a start, there were characters called: Brendan, Brandon, Brad, Brent. It was like the author went through the baby names book and got stuck on 'Br'.

Quote: "Have you been avoiding me Brandon?" "It's Brendan, and no." She'd had sex with me, but she didn't even remember my name.

I'm not bloody surprised, I couldn't remember his name either!

The writing was pretty poor - all short sentences, loads of cliches, lots of tell not show.

Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tayanna Nelson
May 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
This is the last time I pay for a book before getting a preview on it. I bought it on my kindle because I love young adult books and I love books about gay youth. It's hard for me to find anything quality or something that just isn't smut, and I made the mistake of thinking I might find what I needed from this book. I absolutely despised it. The plot was nice and the author obviously meant well but the overall writing quality was terrible. I couldn't stand his stilted sentences or his tired phra ...more
Mar 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing because it was truly a gay romance novel in the purest form with high school teen angst. This story begins with high school football captain in love with the high school most bullied, abused, and poor boy. Suffice to say certain events in the book is shocking and these unfortunate events that occurred to the two main characters only made them better in retrospective. To be honest, I read the book in a time period of 2 weeks because the main character were so likable and I w ...more
Dale Hankins
Aug 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gay-youth
have not read all of Mark's books yet but I keep thinking I am going to catch up and then he comes out with a new one--out of the ones that I have read so far this is my favorite. I wish there had been someone writing books like this when I was a teenager back in the 60's ...more
Jun 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: m-m, made-me-cry
Thank you so much for helping me *wink* get this book, Camila. You don't know how grateful I am. I REALLY wanted this book, the plot sounds like just what I want in a M/M romance.
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love the book it has a way of giving you 100 and taking you back to 0. Making me anticipate what would happen next,crossing my fingers not knowing the turn of events,moving forward to know what would happen,one moment crying the next laughing. I am not yet done reading I simply dont know what would happen to Brendan an Casper. It's a great book ...more
Sep 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
I can't believe I was able to finish this. One of the worst books I've ever read. Too long, too repetitive, too angsty. ...more
This was next level extra
Elisa Rolle
I went back to read this novel by Mark Roeder since, having read Masked Destiny, I learned some info about one of the character, Brendan Brewer, that let me think it was a nice and sweet love story; in a way it’s and there is also a bit of “fairytale” feeling that makes it light, and on the contrary of Masked Destiny, there isn’t any paranormal event, making it an ordinary, and in this case ordinary is nice, coming of age story.

Brendan is the most popular kid at high school, quarterback of the f
Jul 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Brendan has a secret he's been hiding for a while; he's gay. He always knew he was born that way and has come to sort of accept it within himself, but can't yet bring himself to fully accept it or vocalize it. He's popular, he's good looking, he plays sports, and he can get almost any girl he wants. But he doesn't want them. He has a traditional and emotionally removed family whose love he wants more than anything and friends who he's afraid won't accept him if they were to know the truth.

S.J.D. Peterson
Sep 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-m-m, reviewed
I truly liked this book. The message was loud and clear and tugged at my heartstrings. I read so many wonderful reviews of this book and author that I was expecting a 10. Sad to say I didn't get the 10 I was expecting. I think the message of why we must learn tolerance and acceptance was one every teen should read whether gay or straight. In fact I gave this book to my teenage niece to read but I gave her a warning before starting it. I wanted her to remember that Casper was 15. Sometimes I forg ...more
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
"A Better Place" is easy to like but hard to love. Before reading I had no prior knowledge that it was related to Roder's previous novel "Someone Is Watching." It has turned out that the two books are more than simply related -- it's more like they're two stories combined into one, and the puzzle fits quite perfectly for that matter.

What I loved about "A Better Place" is its straightforward and simple language and its plot that offers quite a heavy dose of surprises. What I didn't like too much
Warning that this is a contemporary M/M romance set in high school with a lot of child abuse of every kind from family members and I was not prepared for this traumatic story before I started it.
Wow. I almost could not finish this although the first part was very shocking, the second part was also because I had assumed that we were going to just set up the HEA for Casper and Brendan, but there was still some serious issues to deal with. I did like that every administrative step took days, weeks
Jun 07, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Now I do not think this is a bad book and I would recommend to others, especially if you get it on sale. Roeder's writing style is in need of a serious editor. He was all over the place and at times it was hard to follow or muster up the energy to follow. I know that sounds harsh and I do not mean for it to be. The tale of Casper and Brendan is a sweet coming of age story but the intense drama experienced by both characters was a bit unrealistic and a bit contrived. The story could have used som ...more
Oct 29, 2013 rated it liked it

I had high expectations for this one, however I'm sorry to say it didn't live up to them. The book started off with potential…a good story was building along with some interesting and colourful characters. In the end I found the story to be a bit scattered…the introduction of additional characters a third of the way through the book was not well executed and I found the characters lacked development and interest. Casper and Nathan could've been the same person, as could've Ethan and Brendan. The
Jason White
Jan 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gay
While I tried to like it, it just didn't sit well with me. I liked what it was trying to achieve, there were just a couple of things that didn't work with me. I really liked the previous two in the series Soccer Field and Someone is Watching. This book seemed poorly written even if it was written with high school age in mind. There was a lot of extraordinary things that happened. One or two things I'd be ok with it, but combined it was a bit much. I liked the addition of Nathan and Ethan at the ...more
Sep 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
I can't get through this book.

It has a good plot and I was eager to read it to see the underprivileged triumph against all odds, but does this author even know how to write? Or is the book being dumbed down to better sound like a juvenile boy? The writing is so poor I can't even make it to page 30. One example was that the kid was comparing how one boy looked like someone else. Except he was better built. And taller. And he had dark hair. And his eyes were blue. No...that would mean he looked no
Jul 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: m-m
what do you do when you fall in love with a boy that is being abused and neglected by his family, when your parents send you to a mental hospital you cure you of being gay. where the sickest thing in the place is the guards.

Well, you escape, grab the guy and run as hard as fast and as far a you can in search of a better place. and theres nothing that you wont do to keep your love save.

Mark Roeder writes the gay youth chronicles. a series of books looking at relationships, bullying, depression, a
Feb 17, 2013 rated it did not like it
The writing is repetitive, the characterizations are trite, and the first half of the plot feels like a rip-off of Todd Brown's Entries from a Hot Pink Notebook. That is a much, much better book about being poor and coming out in a small town in the 1980s, and I would recommend that you read it instead.

Also, I really didn't need to be told that the main character is poor and skinny every other page. It wasn't just telling instead of showing, it was telling, and telling, and telling again.
May 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m
I love this book! It was very emotional charged and perhaps if I hadn't seen things like this happen, I wouldn't believe that such bad things could happen to a person over and over. The characters draw you in and even while you are screaming at them not to think a certain way, you get why they do. Those that are familiar with abuse certainly do. However because of the age of one of the characters 15, I kind of had a hard time with the happy ending but perhaps the other books later on will help m ...more
Jayson James
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
From the momment I opened up this book I fell in love with the characters Casper and Brandan. As they struggled to be together. I have never cried as much as I did reading this book. I spend two days straight doing little beyond reading this book and was hooked on the series. Mark Roeder 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 th ...more
Sep 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Had an amazing beginning but while i went on...it felt like I was going through sequels of the story. Cause it changed from one plot to another kinda quick and changed the mood entirely. So i felt like i read three books of the same characters and life adventure. lolz i will say that i was so scared reading the mental hospital bit...read through those pages quickly ha ha
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Was one of the first books I had the courage to purchase. Its a wonderful story and truly unforgettable series. I will admit the cover got me in trouble... a few times, but I'm blessed with wonderful friends. Back to the book, this series got me interested in reading again.Love the series excellent story!! ...more
Mar 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Probably pretty OK for youth although it is much darker than I prefer. I read for romance and joy. This is romance and dark challenges showing a great deal of the homophobic nature of society. It did scare the crap out me when he detailed about the institute. I never gave thought about what runaways deal. I guess I wanted a happy tone.
Jul 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-lit, lgbt
Even though it is #5, it is the first book of this series that I read. I have read nearly 20 of this series now but this one remains one of my top faves. There is just something about Brenden and Casper that grabs my heart and holds on.
Claire Walt
Feb 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I was kinda shocked myself when I decided to pick up this book. I don't know what drew me to it, but I am glad I read it. It was a heart wrenching story and even though I couldn't relate totally to it, being a straight female. It was still potent and beautiful. ...more
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Mark A. Roeder grew up in southern Indiana - near a small town similar to those that appear in his novels.

Other books in the series

Gay Youth Chronicles Complete Chronology (1 - 10 of 61 books)
  • Cadets of Culver
  • Benji & Clyde
  • A Triumph of Will
  • Outfield Menace
  • Snow Angel
  • The Nudo Twins
  • Beautiful
  • Ugly
  • The Soccer Field Is Empty (Gay Youth Chronicles, #3)
  • Someone Is Watching

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