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4.0 out of 5 stars A story of two equals...
I brought this book after noting a recommendation in another book ('In To This World We're Throw', author Mark Kendrick). I didn't realise at that point however that this was actually the third novel in Gay Youth Chronicles, by this author, following his earlier books 'The Football Field is Empty' and 'Someone is watching'. If I had, I'd have brought the earlier two books...
Published on 15 April 2008 by R. L. Judd

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3.0 out of 5 stars Too good to be true
A better place was a well written and pleasant read. The story line was filled out enough to maintain your interest and you became fond of the central characters and wanted everything to turn out right for them.

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...
Published on 3 Jan 2012 by David Ford


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4.0 out of 5 stars A story of two equals..., 15 April 2008
By 
R. L. Judd (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Better Place (Paperback)
I brought this book after noting a recommendation in another book ('In To This World We're Throw', author Mark Kendrick). I didn't realise at that point however that this was actually the third novel in Gay Youth Chronicles, by this author, following his earlier books 'The Football Field is Empty' and 'Someone is watching'. If I had, I'd have brought the earlier two books first and read the series in order as several events were refered to in 'A Better Place' which will no doubt spoil my eventual reading of the earlier books.

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!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down, 21 Mar 2012
This review is from: A Better Place (Kindle Edition)
What a lovely, feel good story about love, loyalty, kindness, and deception. Once I started the book I couldn't put it down. Read the book in three days it was that good. I am really looking forward to reading the next book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't wait to read more, 6 Jan 2012
This review is from: A Better Place (Kindle Edition)
This book may be slightly simple in the way it is written but the message is clear from it. I am only half way through I can not put it down. The story is based around Casper (young, naive and poor) and Brendan (popular gay jock) and how they find love is a high school. It is told from the point of view of both the lead characters and gives you an insight into their relationship. It is a story of how two unlikely paths meet, and as I say I am only half way through but, I am looking forward to reading more and more. Although the book does find itself being repetitive this can be dismissed for the story telling ability of the author who sucks you in to the world around.

A thoroughly entertaining read and highly recommended to all. I would go as far to say this is one of the best in the genre of have read. You certainly won't be disappointed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a must have book, 30 Aug 2008
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This review is from: A Better Place (Paperback)
when i looked on this page i read the other review and i thought i would give this book a chance.
i thought this would be another boring gay love story.
but this book is about finding your inner self
and all i can say is that it is beautifully written and must have book.
i finished this book within 2 days i was so hooked on the story line and the juicy characters.
this just shows you how everyone is a someone and that everyone should be accepted for who they are.
if you are looking for a differant kind of love story, this is the book for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars i liked this book, 1 Mar 2014
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This review is from: A Better Place (Kindle Edition)
i really enjoyed this book, there was a lot of drama and different things going on in the story, it was a real eye opener to some of the terrible things that did and unfortunately still occur in the world. but ultimately a tale of love and that is definitely conveyed in this story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great story that leaves you wanting more like it, 25 July 2013
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This review is from: A Better Place (Kindle Edition)
I was recommended to read this book and thought it was a one-off story, which it is in a way. It's an easy read but very touching and I would think whatever age you are, you can identify with the characters.

In fact, it turns out this book is part of an on-going series called the Gay Youth Chronicles and you should really start with a book called Outfield Menace. Although I'm no longer at school, I wish I'd found these when I was. The latest ones are present day but the first is set in the 1950s. I wouldn't know what schools here were like then but I bet they were very different from those in these books. Although no less enjoyable for it, one thing that stands out is how American High Schools were apparently so violent. Also, even average kids had their own car and (before mobile phones) their own personal direct phones lines to their bedroom - something of another world.

Having said all that, the stories are great and the characters believable. They intermingle into different books. Everything is here: love, hate, death, self-discovery, coming out, reconciliation, tragedy, triumph and disaster. So far, this book seems the best but it may be an idea to read them in order. I'm only up to the 1980s but really enjoying them. Some of the books are a little bit more 'observations of life' but this one is a definite story.

If you do read this one first, it's still a great story you can't put down and you will probably then want to go back to the beginning of the series. The back pages of the books suggest the best order to read them, as does on the author's website.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Too good to be true, 3 Jan 2012
By 
David Ford (Kent in the UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Better Place (Kindle Edition)
A better place was a well written and pleasant read. The story line was filled out enough to maintain your interest and you became fond of the central characters and wanted everything to turn out right for them.

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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a wonderful book well writen a joy too read, 10 Dec 2010
By 
A. J. Dickson "Andy" (scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Better Place (Kindle Edition)
i loved this book and fell in love with the charicters landscape and story. was sorry when it came to an end, what more can i say?
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3.0 out of 5 stars An okay read, 21 Jun 2010
By 
EBR45 (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Better Place (Paperback)
I'm not overly keen on first person narrative and I do find swapping back and forth between the characters a little irritating - not helped when, towards the end of the book, two more characters were introduced into the mix.

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.
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A Better Place
A Better Place by Mark A. Roeder (Paperback - 20 Mar 2001)
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