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David Inside Out

3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,266 Ratings  ·  93 Reviews
David Dahlgren, a high-school senior, finds solace in running with the track team; he's a fast runner, and he enjoys the camaraderie. But team events become a source of tension when he develops a crush on one of his teammates, Sean. Scared to admit his feelings, David does everything he can to suppress them: he dates a girl, keeps his distance from his best friend who has ...more
Hardcover, 184 pages
Published May 12th 2009 by Henry Holt and Company, LLC
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26th out of 42 books — 25 voters
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Best YA Fiction with GLBTQQI themes / characters
305th out of 1,071 books — 3,097 voters

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Community Reviews

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Aug 25, 2009 Thomas rated it really liked it
"David Inside Out" is about David Dahlgren, a likeable young man that might just be gay. He is struggling to accept the fact though, in fact, he is doing everything to avoid it. He dates a girl, avoids his gay best friend, and has a rubber band to snap himself with whenever he has innapropriate thoughts. Suddenly, one of his track teammates who he has had a crush on, Sean, starts to show some feelings toward David too. While it seems like a good thing at first, this bond may not be the best thin ...more
Aug 12, 2009 Danielle rated it it was ok
This book is better suited for the 80s or early 90s. It did not have the feeling of a book for teens in 2009. It seemed to address much older concerns that I don't see modern teens dealing with as much and ignored other more pressing issues. The author's bio said that some of the book was autobiographical and I believe that is what caused the problem; he grew up in the 70s. I think if the author had made it a historical novel about the time he was growing up it would have made more sense.
Diane Ferbrache
Nov 15, 2009 Diane Ferbrache rated it liked it
Shelves: washyarg
I was asked to review this book for a group of YA librarians. In spite of the pretty graphic sex, much of it VERY exploitive, I basically liked the book. I gave it a "recommend", but I do have some concerns about appropriateness in a high school library -- public library's YA collection, no problem.

Now after reading many reviews (on this website & others), I'm may be having second thoughts. It's definitely not Geography Club or Rainbow Boys, but there are some excellent points made without
Jan 29, 2011 Ami rated it really liked it
David Dahlgren is a high-school senior, a member of of track team, who has a gay friend (Eddie), a supposed to be girlfriend (Kick), and a huge crush to one of his team members (Sean). David is pretty sure he is gay but he is NOT sure whether he wants other people in his school know about it ...

This is a wonderful coming-of-age novel; a look of what a gay teenager might think and feel on his 16th year of life. Knowing that he has a huge crush on a "boy" but facing that his friends are not nice t
Aug 03, 2012 Scott rated it really liked it
Shelves: homo-lit
Here's a rant about how we all judge books by their covers:

I was given an uncorrected proof of "David Inside Out" at some nerdy English teacher conference and it sat on my shelf for a few years. The cover is AWFUL! I am always looking for recommendations I can make to my teen students struggling with coming out. No potentially gay kid would carry this book around. Look at that dumb cover. Hell, Bantle even discusses the stigma of being seen with the movie "My Beautiful Launderette," or gay book
Bibek Thapa
Nov 11, 2014 Bibek Thapa rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, mm-aka-gay, lgbt
I read this book right after Alex Sanchez's The God Box, and I found myself comparing this one to The God Box time and again. And since I loved the God Box, this book fell short in comparison to it.

Also, I felt like everything in this book moved a little too fast.

Full review to come (when I finally get around to it)
I feel like I’ve read a lot of books where the MC or another character tries to deny that they’re gay (see: Absolutely Positively Not, Openly Straight, Way To Go…) and it’s kind of tiring, this sort of thing. I don’t want to read about people snapping rubber bands on their wrist every time they get some “gay thought”. Surely we’re past that.

Apparently not. And neither are we past having the homophobic characters be the cool kids. Oh, and whaddya know one of them is in the closet. Look, there’s n
YA Reads Book Reviews
David is pretty sure he’s gay. At least he knows that much about himself. He thinks about guys in sexual ways and he can’t help but perve on his team mates in the showers after practice. But David doesn’t think he should be thinking these things, so he snaps a rubber band around his wrist to snap at every time he has an ‘inappropriate’ thought about a guy.

But then Sean, the guys he’s been crushing on, sort of outs himself to David. Although its clear that Sean has no intention of outing himself
Jeff Erno
David is a high school junior from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He's a runner for the high school track team. He goes to a private, parochial school on scholarship. David's best friend since elementary school is a boy named Eddie. Eddie is openly gay and trying to start a gay/straight alliance group in the school. This embarrasses David, even though he secretly harbors a crush on his track teammate Sean.

David's guilt over his growing attraction to Sean leads him to take drastic measures. He distances
Jun 13, 2013 Abigail marked it as never-finished-reading
I want to start out by saying that I'm not finished with this book. I'm not even half way though. I've made it as far as page 35. I'm going against my rule of reviewing before I finish. But, I wanted to get this down while I was thinking about it.

I've been on a kick lately with books like this. "David Inside Out" is probably about the tenth one I've read in under a month. And quite frankly, so far there is nothing that sets it apart from all the others I've read. I understand I'm reading a genr
Oct 02, 2015 Rizal rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David is having trouble controlling where his eyes go in the locker room after cross-country practice; more importantly he's having trouble with what that means. He's also having trouble understanding why his best boyhood buddy feels the need to be so open about being gay, and why his team mate and current crush Sean is so adament about denying his feelings, even after they...

This book is an enjoyable quick read and the characters are likeable enough. It's nice to see a more up to date version o
Jun 10, 2009 Amy rated it did not like it
I tried to read this but found the masturbation scenes, incessant teen drinking, and vapid sexual encounters between the two gay runners too much. I thought this book was not really suitable for teens as it didn't really focus on coming to terms with ones sexuality as much as it just showcased raunchy teen behavior....whether gay or straight...this was not well written in my opinion.
Nov 19, 2011 Tom rated it really liked it
A quick read and a good coming of age / coming out story. the dialog and the interactions were all believable, although... it is hard for me to imagine these 16 year olds choosing Jazz and oldies as their musical go-to so much... all in all it was good.
Michelle (michabooksandcaps)
When I finished this book I just knew I was going to give it 3 stars. That was just how I was feeling about the book. Three stars isn't a bad thing, though. I did enjoy the read, it was my kind of book. Three stars just means to me that I liked it and it was okay. But I gave it only 3 stars because the book took a different turn, one that I was not expecting. I thought this book was going to turn into a more romantic read about David and Sean. But no, the author didn't allow that because he made ...more
Eleni ( La Femme Readers )
Sep 17, 2010 Eleni ( La Femme Readers ) rated it it was amazing
My Rating: 4.5

David Inside Out was a novel about self-discovery which offered an evoking plot and endearing characters. I've never had the chance to read a GLBT book until now. I must say, Lee is an extraordinary author who has the ability to grab readers from start to finish. The quality behind the story was sincere and powerfully impressive. David's personality was amazing; he had a good head on his shoulders and a caring heart. However, the struggle within himself was confused and lost. His m
Mar 09, 2010 Aaron rated it really liked it
David Dahlgren is finding that things are getting really difficult in school. He is fairly good at track, and he has some great friends, but he is really worried about everyone finding out his biggest secret. David is gay, and some people already have some suspicions because his best friend has recently come out.

David does everything he can to try and immerse himself in the straight life, including buying some really "guyish" magazines such as Road & Track and Playboy. he even tries getting
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Lauren Ashley for

DAVID INSIDE OUT was a book that I'd been looking forward to reading for awhile and I'm grateful I was given the chance to review it. It's a very fast read: I got so caught up in the story, I was able to finish it in only one day.

David's best friend, Eddie, comes out as gay and shows that he doesn't care - it's just the way he is. David, on the other hand, pushes him away so people won't call him "gay by association" if you will, and pretends that he
Jan 20, 2013 Emily rated it liked it
This book had potential I feel, but it missed out being better than it was. The first half was so weak. The characters, David especially, unfortunately, were really weak. I couldn't connect to his story. For once, I think this is a story that would have benefited from a more complex background for all the characters. I'm glad the story progressed so quickly, but I don't think it was worth the sacrifice in quality. But right around page 120 things got better. David's dilemma was more convincing, ...more
Steph Su
Aug 18, 2009 Steph Su rated it liked it
Shelves: debs09, lgbtq
DAVID INSIDE OUT is a quiet but powerful read about the complexities of coming out in a wary society. Details are sparse, and while the simplistic narration and underdeveloped characters may turn off some readers, others may appreciate those techniques as a subtle yet effective way of bringing a difficult issue to light. David’s uneven summarization of the events in his life is indicative of a confused individual attempt to sort out his emotions.

Many of the characters, unfortunately, are unlikab
Mar 11, 2016 Dolores rated it liked it
3 1/2 stars. This book was very good at times. I thought it did a great job of describing David's ambiguity and terror at his attraction to a male teammate. The place where it lost me was his relationship with Sean. I kept thinking that I had read this book before. And I have. But, maybe this experience is common. The ending was kind of bizarre. The author just seemed to lose interest, and the book just stopped. Overall, this was a no-holds barred kind of book. Even powerful at times.
Jun 16, 2015 Sara rated it it was ok
"David Inside Out" is about David Dahlgren, a likeable young man that might just be gay. He is struggling to accept the fact though, in fact, he is doing everything to avoid it. He dates a girl, avoids his gay best friend, and has a rubber band to snap himself with whenever he has innapropriate thoughts. Suddenly, one of his track teammates who he has had a crush on, Sean, starts to show some feelings toward David too. While it seems like a good thing at first, this bond may not be the best thin ...more
Oct 12, 2011 Beth rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011, ya-fiction
Well-rounded cast of characters brings to life this short, sweet coming-out story. The female characters were thoughtfully writen, as was his first love affair. There were some steamy make-out scenes, but the author kept the language vague in order to tone it down. The story explores how repressed Midwestern guys struggle to come out, or not. I was facinated at how some keep rationalizing and marginalizing this aspect of themselves while still dating girls.

*****Potential Spoiler******

the first
Katie M.
Aug 16, 2009 Katie M. rated it really liked it
My best friend, a girl who has a huge love for any form of homosexuality, told me that this book was amazing. That I HAD to read it. That it would rock my socks (maybe not that last part).
And dude. She was a wee bit off.
Yes. I liked the book. And I loved the message it was trying to send. But there was a huge lack of description. The only person I recall being described in the book (with actual useful detail that is) was the girl (Whose name I do not remember. Sorry)and she really wasn't THA
Jenni Frencham
Feb 21, 2012 Jenni Frencham rated it did not like it
David is on his school's cross-country team. All is well until his best friend comes out to him and David realizes that he has a crush on a teammate. David does everything he can think of to deny his orientation: he begins to date a girl, he snaps a rubber band on his wrist whenever he has a thought about a guy, but the feelings don't disappear. At the end of the novel, David finally comes to terms with his orientation and apologizes to his best friend for avoiding him.

I can appreciate David's r
E. Anderson
Aug 31, 2009 E. Anderson rated it really liked it
David Inside Out, a new young adult novel by Lee Bantle, is a wonderful coming-of-age story that follows a gay teen in small town Minnesota who is in deep denial about his sexuality. He's trying everything he can to be straight. He dates his friend Kick, a girl, in hopes of becoming attracted to her. He wears a rubber band around his wrist and snaps it every time he has "inappropriate" thoughts about his teammate, Sean. And, when his best friend, Eddie, comes out, David begins avoiding him at al ...more
Audrey Ettinger
Aug 09, 2014 Audrey Ettinger rated it liked it
Shelves: kids
Seemed to accurately portray what it might be like to come out in a less-than-tolerant high school. David fights himself and eventually comes to accept his homosexuality and restore his friendship with his gay best friend; his first romantic partner, Sean, is not able to move past his own fears to embrace his own homosexuality.
Sep 05, 2009 Dr.horrible rated it it was amazing
It's a book about coming out. Therefore, the main character is gay. And I'm STILL imagining them naked? In my bed? Yes. Yes I am :]

I mean, come on!! Gay guys are hot. Sure, they'd never look at me and go "Damn I'd tap that!" But it doesn't mean I can't think I'd tap THEM!

Oh... I'm not exactly saying anything about this book am I??
Well, It's about a smoking hot babe named David, Who runs track with the super sexy Sam. WHO happens to be Gay too. Well, Closeted gay anyway (he takes dah BJ
Katie Fitzgerald
David Inside Out is one of several books I have read in the 'boy coming out of the closet' genre, and while it's not the best one (The Vast Fields of Ordinary remains my favorite), it is a good, solid read, and one I can recommend to those teens who have exhausted Alex Sanchez's books and have already read Geography Club and Vast Fields.

The think I liked most about this book as compared with the others, is that the main character and his love interest aren't the only gay people in the story, and
Jack Dorr
Jan 06, 2016 Jack Dorr rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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I live in Park Slope, Brooklyn in a sunny apartment where I do my writing. I set David Inside Out in Minneapolis, Minnesota where I grew up and went to college.

In addition to being a writer, I am a lawyer who represents employees in race, gender, disability and sexual orientation discrimination lawsuits. My law firm, Bantle & Levy LLP, is located in Greenwich Village.

I got my B.A. degree in jo
More about Lee Bantle...

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