Safe could be described as a charming love story, but it is so much more than that. This is a story about pain, fear, friendship, loyalty, love and hope.
The tale starts with the moment Caleb and Nico’s world falls apart. They’ve been caught kissing by a teacher and their parents are being informed. While this is awkward for Caleb who hasn’t come out to his tolerant and loving parents yet, it is a disaster for Nico who has been suffering abuse at the hands of his father for as long as he can remember.
The story then goes back in time and shows us how the relationship between Caleb and Nico has evolved over the years. It is a charming and at times sexy journey for the two young men, until it all falls apart after that one unguarded moment.
As in Slaying Isidore’s Dragons, Cody Kennedy strikes the perfect balance between depicting the horrors of abuse and the beauty of unconditional love, thus leaving both his characters and his readers with a profound sense of hope that things will get better and love will prevail.
For me this story could have been longer. While we are shown all the pivotal moments in the developing relationship between Nico and Caleb I wouldn’t have minded seeing more than the glimpses we get. This is just a personal preference though, a secret wish to spend more time with characters I’ve gotten quite attached to over the course of seventy-two pages. Because all we need to know about Nico and Caleb is in this story. Their relationship is realistic, their love believable, and when the story ends the reader is in no doubt that the two young men have a future ahead of them – together. Because the end of their story is also the beginning of the rest of their lives.
After two books it is safe to say I’m now a fan of Cody Kennedy. His personal brand of hopeful realism has both impressed and captured me.