REVIEW: Escaping Camp Rooosevelt, By Bryan T. Clarke

Title: Escaping Camp Roosevelt
Author: Bryan T. Clark
Genre:GENRE
LGBTQ+ Category: New Adult, Gay
Publisher: Cornbread Publishing
Pages:252
Reviewer: Maryann

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About The Book

“He’s a bad boy–cocky and damaged. So, why can’t I stop thinking about him?”

Broken Dreams
Sociable and unselfish, eighteen-year-old Tucker Graves loves two things–his darling little sister and the thrill of playing baseball. He never dreamed that he’d be homeless, but after a series of misfortunes, his life is nothing like he could have possibly imagined. Tucker, his mother, and his baby sister now must brave the dangers of a dilapidated homeless encampment called Camp Roosevelt.

A Wounded Heart
Homeless since the age of fourteen, Dancer has mastered the tricks of living on the streets as a sex worker. The quiet, reclusive, and calculating ways of this twenty-year-old, green-eyed Adonis help him to survive. He hides his emotional scars from the world by interacting only with his clients, whose occasional bizarre requests he reluctantly fulfills. Dancer’s past has taught him to trust no one.

A Second Chance
When Tucker and Dancer come face to face on a stormy night, having been thrown together under the same roof, Tucker brings out a feeling in Dancer that he didn’t know still existed in him–desire. Neither man can deny the attraction he feels for the other. But some scars run deep, causing both Tucker and Dancer to question whether falling in love is even possible, especially when survival is on the line.

Bryan T. Clark is a multi-published, Rainbow Award-winning author and LAMBDA finalist.

*** One hundred percent of the royalties from the first year of this novel’s publication is being donated to the Larkin Street Youth Services/Castro Youth Housing Initiative. The CYHI provides transitional housing in the city of San Francisco, California, for LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness. Fear of being raped, abused, or murdered should not be a part of anyone’s youth.

The Review

Dancer believes he’s fine by himself and in control of his own life.  He has a set clientele that he earns monies from to survive.  At Camp Roosevelt, a homeless site, he has his own milk crate/tarp shelter all set up and doesn’t want or need anyone around.  On his return, one evening a storm starts to pick up and he struggles with a tarp and finds unwanted help in the way of Tucker.

Tucker Graves, Mattie, his six-year-old sister and Sarah, his mother, have just become homeless and find themselves at Camp Roosevelt. Unfortunately for Tucker his mother is a huge problem and Tucker finds himself doing anything he can to keep his young sister Mattie safe.  When Tuckers mother disappears he now has to be not only a brother but a parent to Mattie.  

When another storm blows through Tucker and Mattie loose their tent and Dancer, against his better judgement, offers them shelter.  From then on Tucker and Dancer start to learn about each other and a bond between them starts to grow.  

Even with the help of Ian at the New Beginning shelter, Tucker struggles with being eighteen and making responsible decisions for himself and his sister.  Dancer is also trying to amend his wrongs but even trying to do what’s right can lead to tragedy.

Bryan T. Clark brings us an emotional, thought provoking novel about two different lives, that through different circumstances become homeless.   Dancer and Tucker both have heart-rending events that put them in the homeless camp, through no fault of their own.  It gives food-for-thought, that we really don’t know the many circumstances that arise and create homelessness. 

Clark created a wonderful character, Tucker, who really tries to stay positive through difficult times.  Tucker can’t find work, or shelters because they only take women and children and not for very long and he knows he needs a safe place for Mattie to go to school.  He helps Dancer see life differently, to the point he’s willing to take a chance to change the hazardous life he lives.  

The novel also had me thinking about the parents involved.   Both mother’s Sarah and Joaquina Ziegler got consumed in what made them happier than how it affected their children and not knowing what danger they placed them in. 

I found several interesting articles at the start of this novel from Bryan T. Clark:  Dedication, To Kenny/My Little Brother and To Larkin Street Youth Services/Castro Youth Housing Initiative.  

The Reviewer

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California.  Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018.  My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen.  New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. 

Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! 

From a young age Ialways liked to read.  I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors. My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012.  She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series.  Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book! As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me.  But if a blurb peaks my interest I will read the book. 

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing.  I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading. I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews. 

One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group.  Joining her site was such an eye opener.  I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre.   Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended. 

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams.

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