Reviewed by Dan
SERIES: A Shane and Corey Gay Teen Mystery – Book One
AUTHOR: Mark Zubro
PUBLISHER: MLR Press, LLC
LENGTH: 245 Pages
RELEASE DATE: September 1, 2016
Two high school boys try to survive amid death and danger in the desert, while hoping for the possibility of first love.
Shane Semereau wants to be left alone to read his books and carve his wood sculptures in the warm desert. His life is a swarm of confusion and violence, but he wants to be a force in making the world a gentle place. He grasps at those dreams. Corey Garcia is a bundle of electric energy who lashes out at everyone and everything, but loves to let his mind go in the world of dance. Amidst great danger and looming violence they find each other and unite against all that is arrayed against them at every turn.
I’m going to love this series if this book is anything to go by! I almost passed on this one because of the blurb. I just had a really bad experience with a book about teenagers, and I’m afraid that two high school boys to me sounded like it might be something I couldn’t get into at this point, but then I remembered how much I loved Mr. Zubro’s former teen series. Wow, am I glad I listened to that inner voice of reason. The book is really good.
Mr. Zubro brings us a tale that seems to tie to his other teen series Teen Romance, the two books of which, Safe and Hope, I read and reviewed back in the spring of 2015. I loved those tales.
In Gentle, we again have a tale of teenagers, but only vague references to some similar events which tied the two series together in my mind. Primarily the orange groves, the myth of a mysterious “sucker” in the orange groves and the parties, secret meetings and things that occurred there as well. Then there are the murdered boys.
This book is the story of a young man named Shane who goes through life keeping his head down, avoiding conflict, and even human interaction if at all possible. He is also a gifted artist, creating miniature trains and other objects from wood in very detailed wood carvings. Shane is the son of an international mercenary. His brother is a total psychopath. His mother drinks and attends charity events. I’m not sure how Shane is normal, but he is. And he is pretty well adjusted for a gay kid who has never told anyone about his sexuality.
It is also the story of Corey, the school troublemaker, so bad that he has a “keeper” that has to shadow him at all times while he is at school, plus an overseer who monitors everything he does. But on the flip side, Corey is a gifted dancer. His family has no clue, but Shane has secretly watched him dance and is enthralled with him. Corey is one of, I believe, seven sons? The number isn’t important. What is important is half of them are his full brothers and the other half are his half-brothers. His oldest brother is an attorney and is out of the picture. The other brothers all appear to be in two rival motorcycle gangs, the full brothers in one and the half-brothers in another.
When these two young men are thrown together in a chance encounter in the school library, little do they know where they are headed. The story is told over a short period of time, from Shane’s point of view. I loved the way Mr. Zubro wrote this one. I really connected with Shane. He spoke to me. Anyone who has ever felt alone in the world at any point in their life will be able to empathize with this character. And I also enjoyed getting to know Corey and the depths inside this angry young man.
I highly recommend this start to a new series. I’m going to be eagerly awaiting the next book, and I hope Mr. Zubro is already pounding the keys turning it out!