When Ahmed’s parents find out he’s gay, they send him away for “treatment”. Unable to take the abuse, he heads for San Francisco instead and stays in a safe house with other teenage runaways, where they have to hide to be themselves.
When Ahmed’s parents send him to a residential treatment center known as Serenity Ridge, it’s with one goal: to “fix” their son, at any cost. But eleven months of abuse and overmedication leave him desperate to escape. And when the opportunity comes, Ahmed runs away to San Francisco.
There, he moves into a secret safe house shared by a group of teens. Until they become independent at eighteen, the housemates hide away from authorities, bound by rules that both protect and frustrate. Ahmed, now known as Ben, tries to adjust to a life lived in impossibly close quarters with people he barely knows, all of whom guard secrets of their own. But even if they succeed in keeping the world at bay, there’s no hiding from each other or from themselves. And there’s no avoiding the conflicts, crushes, loneliness, and desire that could shatter their fragile, complicated sanctuary at any moment. . .
Cis boys: Ahmed/Ben
Trans girl: Anita
Middle Eastern/North African: Ahmed/Ben
Trigger warnings: family rejection, gay conversion, abuse, substance use or alcoholism, sexual assault/rape, sex work