School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr 9 Up-Fifteen-year-old Garth Rudd, more comfortable with his homosexuality than his 5'2" stature, is grieving his father's recent death. Forced to get a job, his understandably overprotective mother has asked him to temporarily keep his sexual orientation secret. When his father's estranged twin appears for a summer visit, Garth's trust is easily gained. Secretly Mike helps him navigate the unfamiliar waters of gay relationships by taking him to bookstores and facilitating dates with Adam, a school friend. Before long, Mike exploits Garth's trust and encourages him to quit his job, lie to his mother, and secretly help him collect money for "charities" instead. Soon the scams become apparent and the teen realizes the truth about his uncle. Now the teen must face his friends and his mother. The author has created a story with a pace that does not falter and a resolution that is realistically achieved. Garth is an appealing character, filled with contradictions, vulnerable while seeking strength, honest with himself but surprised at how easily he is able to lie to others. The author's use of language, at times brilliantly translucent, provides insightful dialogue. This contemporary coming-of-age story set in Richmond, VA, subtly and clearly provides a fresh perspective on teenage sexual identity by imbedding it into the context of the bigger issue of truth.-Sue Lloyd, Franklin High School, Livonia, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
At 15, Garth is increasingly tired of living a lie. Though he's come out to his best friend, Lisa, when he tells his mother he's gay, she insists he keep it a secret. Things then get complicated when, first, Garth's ne'er-do-well uncle Mike his late father's identical twin shows up and, second, Garth falls in love with Lisa's openly gay friend, Adam, who has (wouldn't you know it) honesty issues. The skein of lies gets increasingly tangled when Mike then involves Garth in certain, uh, fund-raising activities that must like Garth's sexuality remain clandestine. In his second YA novel, the talented Ryan (Saints of Augustine, 2007) too often sacrifices motivation and plausible characterization for his sometimes top-heavy thematic development. Nevertheless, Garth is an appealing character; his developing relationship with Adam is emotionally engaging, and Mike's increasingly outrageous schemes are ingenious and diverting.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2009 Booklist