ARC BOOK REVIEW: Dead Sea by Mia Kerick

Publication Date: March 3 2021
Format: Kindle
Genre:  LGBTQ Romance, YA

Publisher: Independently Published                                       
271 pages
Buy:  Kindle 


Kyle is a swaggering bully; Lenny strives to be invisible.
Kyle has been left alone in the world; Lenny is the world’s biggest loner.
When Kyle saves Lenny from drowning, their lives will never be the same.

After a brutal encounter with school bullies, Lenny swims out into the ocean, determined to let the current whisk him away. Next thing he knows the meanest kid in town is pulling him from the waves, promising to be his Dead Sea, and to never let him sink.

All Kyle wants is to get out of beach cleanup, is that too much to ask? So he goes for a swim, only to come upon the most epic “nobody” in the senior class drowning in a riptide. Lenny’s haunted gaze grips him, and Kyle makes the impulsive decision to save his life or die trying. And through this ordeal, Kyle and Lenny are transformed.

Kyle’s heroic act sets him on the straight and narrow, and he opens his heart to the young man he dragged from the ocean. Lenny changes too but is still unable to reveal the truth of his pain. While drowning in a sea of secrets, the reformed bully and wary victim fall in love. But staying afloat in the Dead Sea is not as simple as it seems.

Trigger warning: One character unsuccessfully attempts to die by suicide as is noted in the blurb. There is further discussion of death by suicide.


Thank you and Gay Romance Reviews for providing me a free advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

This is a coming of age story about two boys from very different backgrounds struggling with their identity, and how they cope with trying to fit in while in High School.  Kyle is a bully, he strikes first in order to distract others from his own insecurities.  Lenny goes inward and doesn't speak, earning him the name "Zip-Lip" Lenny. 

While volunteering for beach clean-up Kyle sees something bobbing in the water, at first he thinks it may be a coconut then he realizes its a person caught in the rip tide, ignoring all his training and the warning bells going off in his head he dives in to save the person knowing he may be sealing his own fate.  

Lenny was humiliated and was tired of the stress of life so he decides to end it all, only once he gets out in the water he changes his mind.  Unfortunately its too late and a rip tide has him and he is struggling to survive, until one of his biggest tormentors swims to the rescue.

The bond forged during this fight for survival changes both Lenny and Kyle.  Now both of them have to decide who they truly are and who they want to be in the future.  

This is a good story, although I had to suspend my disbelief a bit that Kyle does such a quick 180 in personality.  However I would like to think that the experience they shared in the water did make an impact on him.  Definitely worth the read. 

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