Dead Sea

Mia Kerick Story Ballads Book 2

Young Adult - Coming of Age
270 Pages
Reviewed on 03/21/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

Dead Sea by Mia Kerick is a coming-of-age novel with strong characters and meaningful themes of friendship, love, and human connection. There is only one thing that Kyle and Lenny have in common — they are both loners. Kyle is the meanest bully on campus. Lenny prefers self-effacement. When Lenny has had enough of the bullying, he decides to commit suicide by drowning, so he swims out into the ocean, determined to be carried away by the riptide. Kyle, who just wants a good swim, is stunned when he sees Lenny drowning and makes a desperate, instinctive move to save his life. This heroic act transforms the two young men and establishes a strong bond between them. But can Kyle break the inner barriers of Lenny’s heart and uncover what troubles his soul? Can Lenny find in Kyle to reason to live?

Mia Kerick’s novel is emotionally engaging and fast-moving, a novel that will keep the reader’s attention from the beginning to the end. It is character-driven and I enjoyed the way she develops the humanity of the key characters, who are genuinely flawed and appealing to the reader’s sense of sympathy. They are two people who are broken and it is in their brokenness that they discover a connection that brings meaning to their lives. An almost tragic event is all it takes to set them on a path towards self-awareness, personal growth, and strong love. Dead Sea is a beautiful story that explores the growth of two troubled teens and their love is something that gives each of them shelter. It is interesting to notice the transformations taking place in Kyle, who suddenly realizes that being strong is being compassionate and instead of being a bully, he becomes a protector. The conversations are enlivening and emotionally touching. I also enjoyed how the author writes the family dynamics in this story. It is one of the best coming-of-age stories I have read in a while.

Lexie Fox

Dead Sea is a work of fiction in the Coming of Age genre. It is aimed at young adults and was penned by Mia Kerick. The book follows the journey of Kyle and Lenny, the classmate who is the victim of Kyle’s relentless bullying. After Lenny’s experiences with the bullies of his school overwhelm him, he swims in the ocean in an attempt to commit suicide by drowning, only for Kyle to risk his life to rescue him. With a bond forged by the traumatic experience, the two boys begin transforming into new people and even start falling in love. But the paths they were previously on aren’t easily abandoned.

Dead Sea is a beautiful coming of age story that follows Kyle and Lenny on their journey of self-discovery. One of the most enjoyable things about this novel was the characters, and how flawed yet likable they were. I loved following the journeys of Kyle and Lenny individually and the journey of their relationship as it developed and blossomed. The relationships in this story were the driving force of the novel, and Kerick crafted these masterfully. The conversations between Kyle and his deceased grandpa were raw, honest, and bittersweet and the relationship between Kyle and Lenny felt well developed. Mia Kerick delivers a story of hope, growth, and multifaceted characters. The attention to detail in the novel was wonderful, making it easy for me to feel like I was in the world and sharing the journey with Lenny and Kyle. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend this book to fans of the genre, and those who like diverse and interesting characters.

Pikasho Deka

Dead Sea is a coming-of-age romance novel written by Mia Kerick. Lenny Dubinski is a high school senior and an introvert who loves to dress up in costume and visit the local bar Marco's Playroom at the weekends. Lenny's life turns into hell when the school bullies, Gil Sisti and Damon Zane, witness his secret hobby and start tormenting him for it. Depressed and full of regret, Lenny tries committing suicide by drowning in the ocean during a rip current. But he's saved by the meanest kid in school, Kyle Larson, and the duo soon strikes up a burgeoning friendship. Constantly abused at home by his neglectful mother, Kyle finds a kindred soul in Lenny, and the two of them develop feelings for each other that could change their lives forever.

A moving tale of growing up and finding love, Dead Sea will bring joy to readers who enjoy LGBTQ romance stories. Author Mia Kerick perfectly captures the anguish and loneliness felt by teenagers suffering from issues related to identity, sexual orientation, and anxiety. The characters feel realistic with deep layers to them that make them compelling to read. The narrative moves at a decent pace with an absorbing plot that hooks you in from the get-go. Kyle and Lenny's relationship is the backbone of the story, and their distinct personalities create a sense of great chemistry between the two of them. I found myself entirely invested in their relationship and felt pretty satisfied with its culmination. I highly recommend Dead Sea.