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What's a straight boy from New Jersey doing in a place like Dishes, a gay bar in a predominantly gay Maine tourist town? The answer, as revealed in this savvy coming-of-age novel: trying to make a connection with his absentee dad. But it isn't easy for college dropout Danny to develop a relationship with his father, Jack, who was 17 when Danny was born and who still lives like a teenager. Even though they share an apartment and work at the same bar (Jack mixes drinks, Danny washes dishes), they don't have much in common. But while Jack stays out most nights, Danny gets to know other people in town: his mostly gay co-workers and customers, and a girl he meets while out for his daily run. Taking a departure from sports-themed fiction, Wallace (Wrestling Sturbridge) looks beneath stereotypes about gays and teen fatherhood as he shares Danny's induction into a new subculture. The author's ear for dialogue and sharp timing will keep readers turning pages to find out who will grow up first, Danny or his dad. Ages 14-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal
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Gr 10 Up-During a summer waiting tables at a bar/restaurant that caters to mostly gay tourists, Danny tries to get to know his absentee dad better, figure out how to make a more significant connection with a girl he likes, and decide if he can stay friends with a guy who might want more from him than just a friendship. He is comfortable around his coworkers and customers, and their homosexuality is treated matter-of-factly. The author also authentically conveys a young man's uncertainty about developing relationships beyond a one-night stand, and how attraction to a person's personality is possible when there is no physical chemistry. This short novel is light on in-depth characterization, and conflict is minimal, but readers looking for realistic relationships from a male perspective will be rewarded with a quick, enjoyable read. A college-age protagonist and scenes with underage drinking and references to drug use and sex might make this most appropriate for older teens.-Natasha Forrester, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.