School Library Journal
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Gr 7-10-Fifteen-year-old Jamie is so scared that his gay classmate will out him at school after finding him on a chat site that he desperately tries to respond to flirtations from Celia, a cute, rich girl in his First Knights Club. When his heart (and other body parts) just won't cooperate, Jamie "steals" an experimental drug designed to repress the homosexual response from Celia's father, a pharmaceutical scientist. As Jamie increases his dosage in order to be more physical with Celia, the side effects of the drug get progressively worse, until finally he realizes he must confront Dr. Gamez with the truth. During this confrontation, Dr. Gamez reveals that Jamie has just been a convenient guinea pig in his research, and Jamie recognizes just how evil the scientist and his drug really are. If the plot weren't unbelievable enough, it goes into overdrive on the final pages-Jamie sets the lab on fire; he comes out to his friends and family who, of course, love him unconditionally; newspapers distort the story, causing gay and antigay activists to demonstrate in Chicago streets; there is a lawsuit and countersuit where Jamie is awarded a million dollars; and his poverty-stricken parents get a new restaurant and begin life anew. Although this novel tries in the end to be positive, it seems to have a 1980s mindset while writing for 21st-century teens.-Betty S. Evans, Missouri State University, Springfield (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Klise's debut novel follows high school freshman Jamie Bates, who closely guards the fact that he is gay in a school where "the worst insult for any boy was to be called simply, fag.' " When beautiful Celia Gamez begins paying attention to him, Jamie has an opportunity to date a girl and appear normal to his friends. What's more, Celia's father is a scientist developing a drug that "suppresses the homosexual response in the male brain." A chance encounter enables Jamie to steal a number of the pills, taking them when he knows he will be with Celia. Much to Jamie's relief, the pills quell his desire for boys, but he begins to suffer side effects-headaches, tremors, bloody noses-and he doesn't get the one effect he wants most: desire for Celia. The drama that ensues is a bit far-fetched and the ending tidy, but Klise has created an empathetic protagonist (avoiding the trap of dumping him into a gay relationship right away) and a thoughtful story about identity, sexuality, and learning to accept oneself. Ages 14-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Terrified that his classmates will discover he is gay, high-school freshman Jamie decides his best cover is to start dating a girl. No sooner has he decided this than beautiful, wealthy Celia expresses an interest in him, but unfortunately, it evolves into a sexual interest that Jamie cannot reciprocate. But wait: Celia's father is a doctor who develops behavior-modification drugs and is experimenting with one that will cure homosexuality. Still determined to change, Jamie begins stealing the untested meds. In an interesting parallel, his best friend, Wesley, simultaneously decides to take himself off the Ritalin that has helped control his hyperactivity. Things don't work out as either expected. Though sometimes a bit clumsy and melodramatic in its execution, Klise's first novel succeeds in capturing the terrible anxiety of a teen discovering the truth of his sexual identity while also offering a cautionary take on the sinister personal and social ramifications of medical technology's attempt to change one's sexual orientation. An excellent novel for both classroom and gay-straight alliance discussion.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2010 Booklist