School Library Journal
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Gr 7 Up-Nicholas Nathaniel Thomas Tyler has four first names and two mothers.As the only child in his class with gay parents, he endures the taunts and prejudices of classmates and adults over the years as best he can, drawing reassurance and strength from his parents. Challenges nearly overwhelm him, though, when their relationship ends; Jo moves out, and Nick, now a teenager, is left with Erin, his birth mother. Peters captures the voice of an adolescent sorting through the memories of his childhood in poignant prose that rings with truth. As Nick develops from a boy to a young man, he must address his own sexuality, his ties to his family, and his need to assert his individuality. This novel is a timely exploration of the struggles faced by same-sex couples and their children, and while the issues are significant, the story is never overwhelmed by them. Because Jo lacks biological or legal relationship to Nick, he can be cut off from her with no recourse, which makes his experience slightly different from that of other children of divorcing parents. This coming-of-age novel powerfully portrays the universal pain of a family breakup. It also portrays what is still a "weird" situation to many people (as reflected in the behavior of Nick's babysitter) as totally normal from one young man's point of view.-Beth Gallego, Los Angeles Public Library, North Hollywood (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Nick, 14, tells his story in flashbacks, revealing what it was like growing up with his two moms-and watching their relationship fall apart. Peters's (Luna) novel is much more than a story about a gay family. While Nick and his mothers do deal with discrimination (his third-grade teacher does not hang up the family picture he drew, for example), they have all too normal troubles as well, such as Jo's alcoholism, Erin's breast cancer, and eventually Erin's budding relationship with another woman. The author draws the protagonists as full-blooded characters, and readers will likely find it easy to relate to them. Jo struggles to hold down a job, but rescues animals and ferociously protects Nick (after some fifth-graders tease the then-kindergartner about his family, she stands at the school fence for a week, "posturing like a tough guy"). Erin, meanwhile, resents being the responsible one, yet she still gets drafted into the family's watermelon seed-spitting contest. When Nick learns of their separation, his "heart rips. A black hole opens up." Readers may have trouble believing that Erin, Nick's biological mother, would prevent him from seeing Jo after they split up, but overall, they will touched by this story about the struggles of a realistically flawed family. Ages 12-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Gr. 8-11. Fourteen-year-old Nick has two moms who couldn't be more different. His biological mother, Mom, is dependable and careful; Jo, Mom's partner, is irresponsible and impulsive. Nick tells their story in vignettes, including little things, such as the teasing he gets at school, as well as big things, such as Mom's cancer and Jo's alcoholism. Eventually these vignettes turn into a divorce story: Mom finds a new partner; Jo, who has no rights to Nick, struggles on her own; and Nick breaks down after Mom refuses to allow him to see Jo, with whom he wants to live. Nick's incapacitating depression and Mom's refusal to acknowledge it drag on far too long, turning into turgid melodrama. Yet Peters deftly depicts Nick's relationship with his moms and theirs with each other, and the story stays rooted in Nick's sensitive but limited perspective. A novel that will spark discussion. --Krista Hutley Copyright 2006 Booklist