Larry Benjamin's Reviews > Caught Inside

Caught Inside by Jamie Deacon
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really liked it

Seventeen-year-old Luke Savage is good looking, oddly charming and though he has a pretty, wealthy girlfriend, Zara, he doesn’t seem particularly in love. With her anyway. His first, and apparently only love is the sea—and surfing. Then he meets Theo, Zara’s openly gay cousin and best friend, and everything changes. And the story gets really interesting.

I thought surfing, the sea, was a perfect metaphor for the rush and confusion of Luke’s unexpected feelings for Theo.

Deacon does a good job describing first love and its attendant discoveries, joys and frustrations and jealousies:

“Theo didn’t tell me he could dance, not like this. I can’t look away, am captivated by his fluid grace, the blatant sensuality of his every movement.

“And it should be me out there.

“Rage, dark and ugly, surges up inside me, choking the air from my lungs. Tabitha’s way too close, arms hooked around Theo’s neck and her hips thrusting against him, as I’d pictured myself doing…”


I’ve often said being gay isn’t necessarily, or at least is not primarily about sex; it’s about who you want to hold hands with, who you dream of going to prom with. Yet, I was initially dissatisfied with the description of Luke and Theo’s coming together for the first time. I thought the sex was awkward, unreal—I mean Luke had a girlfriend he was intimate with, and Theo had had a boyfriend. Then I remembered being that age, the insecurity, the tentativeness of those first sexual encounters—how far can we go? will wanting to do that scare him off? —and I realized Deacon had gotten it exactly right.

The jealously we glimpse when Theo is dancing with Tabitha, a casual acquaintance, rears its head again when Theo’s ex comes a-calling. And jealously becomes a driver of Luke’s actions. When he, in a fit of pique, takes his surfboard out in a storm, it nearly ends in tragedy. It is a stunning sequence though. As the sea threatens to drag Theo under, wash him away, we realize he is drowning in his own feeling of love.

“Water. Water all around me. It presses in on my eyeballs, forces its way into my nose and between my lips. I can’t breathe, can’t see. Waves pummel me, shaking me like a ragdoll…So this is it. This is how it ends. I’m going to drown…”

And when Theo loses his surfboard as a result, the loss of his surfboard is like the loss of his innocence, the loss of his old self; its absence forces him to confront and absorb this new, different him:

“Before Cornwall, I would have drowned my emotions in the surf. I would’ve taken my board down the coast every day at dawn and hurled myself into the waves until nothing else existed. But not now. Now, I can’t think about the sea without being reminded of Theo…”

The writing is clean, clear; and this being a Beaten Track book, the editing is flawless. Overall a wonderful addition to the YA gay canon. So grab your beach towel, and sunscreen and take this book along to the beach.
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Reading Progress

April 13, 2016 – Started Reading
April 16, 2016 – Finished Reading
June 3, 2016 – Shelved

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