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Clay's Way

3.41 of 5 stars 3.41  ·  rating details  ·  339 ratings  ·  40 reviews

Set against the dazzling backdrop of Hawaii’s Oahu and Kauai islands, Clay’s Way seethes with energy and hormonally charged nihilism. For 15-year-old Sam, a wanna-be punk rocker who writes bad haiku poetry, his middle-class suburban life feels like a prison. Mistaking lust for fate, Sam becomes obsessed with Clay, a 17-year-old surfer, outwardly cool but equally adrift. Th

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Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 1st 2004 by Alyson Books
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(showing 1-30 of 548)
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Lenore
Clay's Way reads like a really long and bad haiku. Or a really long and bad acid trip. Or an overambitious and pretentious coming of age story about the contemporary gay teenager.

Sam and Clay are the loser kid and the cool kid, respectively. But they are two versions of the same persona. They're both gay, they both need to behave in a certain way. They are both struggling and they are both tragic figures. That much is obvious.

But even though the premise was interesting, and the endeavour challe
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Kealii Ballao
Clay's Way is author Blair Mastbaum's first novel. The novel centers around the emotionally confusing Sam. He is a rebellious boy living in Hawaii where he feel that he does not fit in because everyone is a surfer or Hawaii. Sam himself is self-deprecating in his looks and his family. He falls in love with a self-unaware surfer guy, the very type of guy that Sam hates, and the story is then centered around their one-sided love affair.

Mastbaum tries to introduce some local dialects which I find c
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Caleb Blake
Cross-posted from Papyrus Independent Author Reviews. (http://papyrus.calebblake.net/2012/11/13/clays-way-by-blair-mastbaum/)

Growing up on Hawaii's Oahu island, Sam uses his appearance as a rebellion against who he's expected to be. But he has deeper differences irreconcilable with the community in which he lives. And then there's Clay...

Clay's Way is a gay coming-of-age tale focusing on a rebellious sixteen year-old skater who is dealing not just with growing up gay in a predominately straight
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Craig
I started out really liking this book. Set in Hawaii, 16 year old Sam falls for popular surfer, Clay. This is not a coming out story or even a romance. It's more about how Sam is driven crazy by such intense desire for Clay and how Clay ends up being so screwed up under his cool exterior.

I had trouble getting into the second half of the book. It kind of falls apart for me as Sam, who is madly in love with Clay, ends up doing things that, knowingly, would push Clay away. And Clay really goes off
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Blake Fraina
This terrific debut novel turns the typical teenage coming out story on its ear by portraying its sixteen year old narrator, Sam, as completely self-loathing in every respect except with regard to his sexuality (which he treats with extreme matter-of-factness). In many ways he is the typical rebellious teen, he hates his folks, his life, his appearance & is forever trying on different looks and identities in an awkward effort to express his individuality, but as the book follows his falterin ...more
Michael
The back of the book says "A gay Catcher in the Rye". That a pretty good description. Unlike a lot of other gay fiction, the main character doesn't make a big deal about being gay. It's just another summer day in Hawaii. I thought it was a great book to read for leisure. The words on the pages flow as easily as the character's thought and feelings. The book is full of realism (or should I say Nihilism?), and the ending still makes me think hard. I highly recommend it.
Benjamin
Set on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, fifteen coming on sixteen year old skate boarding punk Sam, (punk to the extent that he likes dyeing his hair exotic colours), a compulsive haiku writer, becomes infatuated with the handsome eighteen year old surf boy Clay Anderson, whom he meets in the local skate board shop. Much to his surprise his feelings are reciprocated, and he and Clay begin enjoying each others company. However the relationship that ensues, while having its tender and fulfilling momen ...more
Robert Hyers
I believe this book won the Lambda award one year, and I really can't understand why it did. The story has very good bones, and I think it could've been a spectacular piece of queer literary fiction if the author had taken the time to do some more editing and a few rewrites. As is, I can't understand why it was published, or won the award. Perhaps there wasn't that much better queer fiction to draw from that particular year.
Oliver
it started off really good but then once they went out on their hiking hippy trip, they all went nuts. like it was a different story. and when sam comes back, he's a complete crazy freak.
Red
Nov 27, 2007 Red rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: gay men, gay teens, any boy that has been in love with a straight guy
I really enjoyed this tale of the tortured gay soul.
Aitziber
Oct 16, 2014 Aitziber rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: masochists
Recommended to Aitziber by: Amazon
For much of Clay's Way, I wondered just what in the world I was reading. John Rechy, a highly lauded writer, is quoted in the backcover as saying, "A gay Catcher in the Rye." Certainly, it's not hard to picture readers ranking Holden and Sam as equally annoying, teenaged main characters. However, Salinger is an amazing writer and Mastbaum is not.

Blair Mastbaum was trying very hard to infuse his novel with some meaning. And so I can't tell if the utterly trite metaphors and similes employed are
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Holyfool
Sep 28, 2009 Holyfool rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: teens
Recommended to Holyfool by: don't recall
It is a unique setting to encounter ordinary teen age surfers that they start to intertwined with each other
with out a base for it but just a nature impulse to touch their unknown feelings.

Not a contrived argument or blue prints of their situation. Their curiosity was obvious and you get to relate to these at some levels. There are some harsh part in this books, but not a surprise when it comes from teens' own limited thinking and obscure dilemmas.

This book is odd and some parts just cold. The
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Tindra
"Clay's Way" gets three stars, but it barely missed getting just two. It's a good book, well written and with thought behind it, I just didn't like it. Too much teenage selfcenterdness, too much weirdness and too much suicidale contemplation. The end was heartbreaking without any hopeful outlook on the future that is usual. I did like the overwelming boy's perspective, the culture environment and the angsty teenage lifes. I love the rebelious nature of Sam (even if he can be somewhat of a poser) ...more
Mitch
"Clay's Way" by Blair Mastbaum has been called the gay "Catcher in the Rye". Although I see the comparisons and actually liked "Clay's Way" better, I still feel like this story was a bit too contrived. It was too far out for me, way unbelievable. The first part could totally happen...soon crazy events start to pile up which left me thinking "uh...yeah right".

In this book we travel to the beautiful islands of Hawaii where gay teenage skateboard rebel sam falls for the hunky and confused surfer, C
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Scott
The book started out strong but faded at the end. It started wondering down an odd path and never really recovered. The book has a resolution to the relationship and has a gentle ending.

There were multiple distracting typos toward the end, which made me feel like someone was on a deadline! I found the writing style interesting, but by the end of the book it got more dramatic and fragmented. The mixing of random thoughts at the beginning was well done but became frantic by the end of the book.

It
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Tessa
it ends up being another story where the gay kid is punished for being gay, and it's too bad b/c it starts out strong. I admire the way mastbaum captures a kind of teenage aching bravado and puts me into the mindset where I can see how gross parties in filthy apartments have a really powerful appeal. And I liked how I didn't like Sam but he also seemed real. Clay wasn't so realistic, however.

(Rebecca, I think you should read this & we should have a conversation about it!)
William
I wanted to like this book--which has good things to say about teenage obsession, insecurity, lust and in fact explores all of these in a setting that hasn't been featured often: the surfpunk culture of Hawaii. But the book was so poorly edited in places, in terms of the author not having been reined in in sections, when he was allowed to go on way too long in very repetitive sections. A tighter, briefer novel would have been more effective.
David Kealii
While I liked this book, I remain conflicted about how it depicted Hawai`i and in particular Kailua (town my family is from) and the people. Although, it may show more of the underlying dissatisfaction with "paradise" that so many Native Hawaiians, locals and others have.

This was one of those books were none of the characters is entirely likable. Having said that, the novel may warrant a re-read just to be sure.
Max
I actually really enjoyed this book thoroughly. It was sort of different than your usual story and the writing style, and the tone of the character sort of drew me in. I quite liked how it was set in Hawaii, and that it was centered around a gay skater boy. That lure me in the first place! Very good read, I recommend it honestly.
Snoodle
DNF at 39%. Basically Sam is a massive tool, obnoxious to everyone around him & exhibits crazy stalker tendancies (view spoiler) As a former skater chick from the 90s I did like the NOFX mention...
Skip
An interesting fictional bildungsroman about a teenage Hawaiian skatepunk coming to terms with his increasing attraction to guys, how he explores that attraction with an older seemingly-straight surfer guy, and what eventually happens in both of their lives. File under learning lessons in maturity through experience.
J.M.
I really wanted to like this book. It's advertised in all the magazines I read and touted as the best new voice in gay fiction. But I just couldn't get into it. The main characters seems too spastic to me, too out of control, and the resulting conflict between them left me too frustrated to finish the book.
Matty
This is one of my very favourites, and I've read it several times. It's about a skater who falls for a surfer, and their totally screwed up attempt at a relationship. It sounds corny but I really love it.
Scott
Omigod. In our hawaii beach house...enjoyed telling the girls about the main character's ridunkulous actions. Some steamy, teeny poi on poi action, though. Recommended for all haole mahus, brah!
Richard
This book was marketed as Young Adult when it came out. I pointed out to the kids buyer at CWLP place that it had two sexually explicit scenes, and she moived it to adult fiction.
James
I couldn't even finish this book. The way it is written is just horrible, and the story goes no where. I just... nope. Almost finished but nope.
Jason
I thought it was a great read. Characters had a real feeling to them. I loved the setting in Hawaii. Timeless and comtemporary.
Jennifer Bertram
loved the book until the last few pages. The story didn't really wrap up just an abrupt end.
Roclaf Alter -Ego
An interesting read. The lead character, Sam, ranges from interesting to annoying to clueless.
N.S.
This was a really interesting look into the mind of an immature, insecure, tough gay kid.
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Blair is the author of Clay's Way and Us Ones In Between, and the co-editor of Cool Thing: Best Gay Fiction from Young American Writers. He's currently living in Portland, Oregon and working on a novel called Hommeboys about his time spent as a model.
More about Blair Mastbaum...
Us Ones in Between Cool Thing: The Best New Gay Fiction from Young American Writers Hommeboys Best Gay Erotica 2010

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“A sub-division’s predictable patterns, rigid lines, and ordered structure might feel calming. Normally, they feel segregating and stifling, but for once, I’m scared of this infinite disorder and I’m afraid I might get lost in this place where anything is possible.” 0 likes
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