School Library Journal
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Gr 7 Up-Carlos Amoroso, 15, loves video games, junk food, and hanging out with his buddies. The only thing he can't do is get a date with sexy, popular Roxy Rodriguez. After watching Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, he approaches a gay classmate, Sal, for a makeover. Sal agrees but insists that Carlos help him start a Gay-Straight Alliance at their predominantly Hispanic Texas high school. Carlos is conflicted-what if his friends think he's gay, too? In the process, the teen learns how to clean, dress, clear zits, and talk to girls. He also learns how to be honest with himself, and how to tell people, including his macho father and homophobic buddies, how he really feels. Although Sanchez's prose is creaky and expository at first-it seems slightly dumbed down compared to his "Rainbow" books (S & S)-the truth of the story and familiar, realistic characters quickly engage readers. The dialogue is pointed and natural, and the characterizations and plot emerge deftly from conversation, especially teenage trash talking. Sanchez's usual good-natured humor flavors Sal and Carlos's tumultuous friendship. The easy pace and farcical Cyrano de Bergerac meets Queer Eye construct of the novel is deceptive: the mood is wholly emotional as hate is exposed everywhere and even the minor characters discover new truths. This sweet, simple examination of homophobia and friendship is a welcome addition to the genre, especially for reluctant readers.-Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Sanchez (Rainbow Boys) begins with an intriguing premise: inspired by the TV show Queer Eye, 15-year-old Carlos Amoroso asks Sal, the gay guy at school, to make him over so he can stop being a "girlfriend-less virgin." Sal agrees, in exchange for Carlos's help with forming a Gay-Straight Alliance. As Sal helps Carlos fix up his room and shop for clothes-and even eat better-he also teaches Carlos to be more honest and to stand up for what is right. The story goes on a bit too long, but the author presents an authentic if somewhat raw world here: the characters describe their hookups, many of which begin with the Web; his friends tell Carlos about the "hookup rules" that explain why his crush, Roxy, ignores him the day after they make out. The author also gives readers valuable information and ideas: his mother's boyfriend tells Carlos of the importance of condoms; when forming the GSA, Carlos tells his uncooperative principal that "because of, um, a Supreme Court decision... you have to allow the club"; and Sal speculates about why gay guys have style ("None of the guys will come near you-and you try to figure out why. So you notice things-how people dress, wear their hair, decorate their room"). In the end, it is sensitive-but-flawed Carlos and his struggle to do right that keeps this story grounded. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved