From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Paul, a high-school senior and a committed Christian, loves his girlfriend, but worries about the feelings he has for guys. Then Manuel, openly gay, comes to town. Manuel says he's a Christian, too, but Paul doesn't understand how those two things are compatible. As the two become friends, Paul is both attracted to Manuel and repulsed by his feelings, and he continuously prays to be straight. God seems to have another path for him, though. Everyone plays an assigned role here: Paul, the conflicted gay; Manuel, secure in his sexuality; Angie, the confused girlfriend; the prejudiced jocks; the hate-the-sin, love-the-sinner pastor. There's even a throwback to early gay literature when someone almost dies because of his sexuality. Manuel seems the least real. Relentlessly upbeat, he knows the Bible better than most preachers, and is always ready to show the real intent behind chapter and verse. More authentic is Paul's confusion and how he uses the Bible to find answers. His investigation of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, often quoted by homophobes, is particularly eye-opening.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2007 Booklist
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Gr 9 Up-Conservative, closeted, and a Christian, Paul has a girlfriend and sticks to the straight and narrow in his small Texas town. He's changed his name from Pablo to appear more American, and he keeps his mouth shut when it comes to hot topics, like who is gay and who isn't-until Manuel, who happens to be openly gay and Christian, wanders in on his turf. The new guy slips easily into the high school senior's mostly accepting circle of friends and his Bible-study group. Before he knows it, Paul finds himself spending more and more time around Manuel, who simultaneously bends his heartstrings and his belief system. The results are a boxing-ring-like philosophical and spiritual debate on the intersection of homosexuality and religion. Sanchez's cleverly diverse characterizations, conversational stylings, and sense of humor lighten this potentially daunting theme. Plus, the brewing romance between the pair-not to mention the dissolution of Paul's romance with his loyally lovable girlfriend-keeps the pages turning during even the most excruciatingly detailed Bible-passage battles between the two warring parties. These rightfully thought-provoking debates-most of which happen either in after-school Bible study or between Paul and Manuel-make Sanchez's latest an intense, necessary addition to the burgeoning LGBTQ teen lit canon.-Hillias J. Martin, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.