Tag Archives: gay teens

Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Harlequin Teen, 2012.

Chelsea Knot is one of the popular girls, based almost solely on the basis of her friendship with queen bee, Kristen, who manipulates her, and everyone around her to get what she wants. Most of their time together is spent putting other people down, shopping, and gossiping about boys.

Chelsea is also known for her inability to keep a secret, unless she can blackmail someone for something better than the thrill of spilling the latest gossip. When she finds out that Tessa is sneaking around with her best friend, Megan’s boyfriend, and has pictures to prove it, Kristen convinces her not to share the photos if Tessa will get them two fake IDs.

So far, there is nothing likeable about Chelsea – and it’s all about to go downhill at a New Year’s party at Kristen’s. Drunk, and in desperate need of a bathroom, Chelsea stumbles into a bedroom where she discovers two boys making love. With the best secret of the year in her grasp, Chelsea blurts out the details to everyone within hearing range. Kristen, her boyfriend Warren, and others react in horror, disgust and anger, and Warren and his sidekick Joey follow the two boys out the door, saying they’re just going to teach them a lesson.

When she finds out from Kristen, the next morning, that Noah, one of the two gay teens, is in the hospital, Chelsea accedes to Kristen’s threat not to say anything to anyone.

Surprisingly, her conscience gets the better of her, and she confesses everything to her parents, and makes a statement to the police.

She then takes a vow of silence.

Returning to school, Chelsea finds that all of her friends have turned against her, and she is treated to verbal and physical abuse and harassment that the school administration manages to remain ignorant of. Given detention every day by her English teacher for not participating in class, Chelsea makes a new friend, who draws her into a new circle of people who are respectful of her silence.

These new relationships are not uncomplicated – they all know what she did, and one of the teens in this group is Noah’s boyfriend, who is furious and resents her presence in his life.

What Chelsea learns about herself through her silence, and through her new friendships is what makes this book worth reading, and not simply another story of a gay-bashing.

 

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Filed under **** Highly recommended, 2010s, Gay, High School, Middle School

Tips on Having a Gay (Ex) Boyfriend by Carrie Jones

a

Llewellyn Publications/Flux 2007.

Gay – T

Belle had expected to marry her high school boyfriend, Dylan, after college, so she is devastated when he comes out to her. However, she soon starts dating someone else, and even manages to be there as a friend to Dylan, despite her anger.

Jones has nothing new to offer with this well-worn plot theme.  Low recommend.

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Filed under ** Low recommend, 2000s, Gay, High School

Marco Impossible by Hannah Moskowitz

marcoRoaring Brook, 2013.

Gay – Middle School/High School

Stephen and Marco have been best friends for years. Known for their pranks, and detective works, one of which uncovered the fact that Stephen’s father was having an affair, they are finishing middle school with one last blast: Marco wants Stephen to help him get them into the high school senior prom, where Marco’s crush, Benji, will be performing with his band. Benji is going away for the summer, and Marco will be going to private school in the fall – so this is Marco’s one chance to declare his feelings to Benji.

Of course everything becomes more complicated than planned, not the least of which is the fact that Marco is clearly being targeted by bullies, something which Marco wants to ignore, while Stephen feels responsible for protecting him. Stephen feels growing resentment at being taken for granted, and the friends erupt in anger at each other, even as they try to follow through with what seems to be turning into a series of less and less funny disasters.

A very good book about friendship.  Recommended

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Filed under **** Highly recommended, 2010s, Middle School

Magic and Misery by Peter Marino

Haoliday House, 2009.

Gay – High School

Another stereotypical teen novel in which the girl (Toni Jo), has a crush on a guy (Pan, short for Pansy–yes really), only to find out he is gay. Stuck together in their miserable little town where nothing’s happening, they swear best friendship and loyalty to each other, only to have it shaken when teen jock, Caspar, falls for Toni Jo.

Pan acts like a jealous boyfriend, and Toni Jo lies to both boys, alienating each of them: not telling Pan when she has a date with Caspar, and not telling Caspar that the reason she can’t go to the prom with him is that she already promised to go with Pan.

Meanwhile, Pan is the victim of increasing harassment from two classmates, and refuses to complain to school authorities. Nothing Amy can say will convince him to report the abuse, and ultimately, he and his family decide they need to move out of the area.

While there is nothing glaringly wrong with this book, it isn’t a strong title. None of the characters is well-developed, and the dialogue is occasionally wooden. Caspar is consistently portrayed as somewhat slow on the draw, and it isn’t clear what Toni Jo sees in him beyond the fact that she’s desperate for male attention.  And Pan’s jealous behavior comes close to being the frightening sort which parents ought to be warning their daughters against.

Marino is a playwright and has published a previous novel that was well-received.

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Filed under ** Low recommend, 2000s, Gay

Angry Management by Chris Crutcher

aGreenwillow Books, 2009    ISBN: 0060502479

Using the plot device of an anger management group for troubled teens, Crutcher presents three novellas that explore the reasons why each member has been referred to the group.

There are a couple of familiar characters from Crutcher’s other novels or stories: Angus Bethune, the fat teen with two sets of gay parents from “Athletic Shorts: Six Short Stories,” finds friendship and the surprising possibility of love with Sarah Byrnes, the burned girl from the novel “Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes,” as they take a road trip to Reno to find the mother who abandoned her to her violent father shortly after he purposefully burned her hands and face on a wood stove.

In another novella, Crutcher explores the spiraling damage of a hate crime badly handled by a school principal and superintendent. Matt Miller, a straight-laced Christian teen finds himself speaking out on behalf of Marcus James, the only black, and only out gay teen in their rural high school.

Then there is Montana West, the adoptive daughter of the school board president, a rigid and controlling man. With the help of a teacher, Montana decides to challenge the school’s decision not to run her article on medical marijuana in the school paper. Meanwhile, at home, her father has decided to return a little girl to the foster care system, and Montana faces him down on that issue as well.

These novellas are absorbing, engaging reading, and make a good choice for reading aloud, or recommending to reluctant readers. They would serve very well for classroom or book group discussion, and are likely to lead readers to Crutcher’s other books, as well as to other books about teens facing extremely difficult obstacles.

The device of the angry management group is almost extraneous; it either should have been better fleshed out and incorporated into the book, or left out altogether. However, this is a minor detraction from an excellent book that should be in every teen collection.

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Filed under **** Highly recommended, 2000s, Gay

Call Me by Your Name by Andre Acimen

andreFarrar, Straus, Giroux, 2007     ISBN: 0374299218

Seventeen year old Elio falls in love with his father’s summer graduate student assistant, Oliver, while occasionally sleeping with neighbor girl Marzia. Oliver is hot and cold with him by turns, and Elio is left anguished and unable to express his feelings.

At least half the book is taken up with Elio’s frustration, and while it brings back memories of being a tongue-tied teen, it gets tedious at times. Finally, three weeks before Oliver is due to leave, the two confess their feelings for each other and the action picks up.

Older teens may have the patience for the slow action.

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Filed under *** A good read, 2000s

Just a Boy by Rob Clinger

justHaworth Press, 2007     ISBN: 1560236612

Seventeen year old Jove is attracted to some of his male friends, particularly to Jason who lives next door, as well as to a neighbor’s gardener he’s been spying on. He’s relieved that the girlfriend he doesn’t really care about is going away for the summer. Through a series of typical ups and downs over the next few months, Jove comes out, and finally finds himself with the boyfriend he’s wanted all along.

Unfortunately the writing is stilted, and the chapters, at approximately three pages each, are annoyingly short. Oddly, the publisher has chosen to put copyright information at the bottom of the first page of each chapter, and I found that interrupted the flow of the story even more.

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Filed under * Not recommended, 2000s