Having read a couple of other books in Roeder's "Gay Youth Chronicles" series, I picked up "Masked Destiny" already knowing it would be well written and feature realistic characters with whom younger readers could relate. On that level I was not disappointed, though I feel Roeder has pushed his story lines more than a bit beyond believeable, with the inclusion of ghosts, angels and a town where it seems every other teenager in town turns out to be gay or bisexual.
"Masked Destiny" tells the story primarily of two teen boys who narrate the novel. There's Oliver, a 14 year old pudgy gay boy with self-esteem issues, and Skye, seemingly the stereotypical ego-driven 16 year old football jock, who work together at the feed store in small town Verona, Indiana. Skye lives with his sister and small nephew, as his parents have separated and moved elsewhere, and is obsessed with working out, competiting, and remaining one of the primary "Alpha males" at the high school. Skye figures that Oliver is probably gay, but doesn't bother him about it, and actually kind of gets a kick out of it when Landon, the team's manager and towel boy, "checks him out" as he comes out of the shower each day at practice. Skye world changes after he fails to intervene when he later sees Landon being gay-bashed by two teammates who resented being stared at, then becomes a target himself when Landon ambushes Skye and Greg (one of his attackers) with a gun, shoots Greg, chastises Skye for not coming to his aid, and then takes his own life. Witnessing another bashing after a Halloween party, still wearing his mask from the party, Skye steps in to run off the attackers, and becomes a bit of a legend at his school. Meanwhile, Oliver finds out some disturbing information about a cute boy he meets at a gay youth group, which ties into stories about ghosts at an old mansion and the murder of some gay boys years earlier.
I give the novel four out of five stars. Likely a great read for teens who like "ghost stories", or fans of Roeder's series as a whole.