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The Boys on the Rock
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The Boys on the Rock

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  535 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Written with uncanny precision and wild humor, this is the story of Billy Connors, high school student in the Bronx, member of the swim team, and all-around regular guy, who in his sixteenth year has to face the fact that he's a little different from everyone else, a little "weird."

Though he's sort of going steady with a girl and popular at school, he's always worried tha
Paperback, 160 pages
Published January 15th 1994 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1984)
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This was the first gay fiction novel I read - it changed my life!
K.Z. Snow

Unique and delightful, especially in terms of the time period, setting, and narrator's voice. I've never read a gay YA story quite like it.

The only thing I found bothersome was the final chapter, which apparently bothered other readers as well. It wasn't the abruptness or ambiguity of it -- any slice-of-life novel, to be realistic, can't tidy things up too much at the end -- but rather Billy's seemingly cavalier dismissal of a man he deeply desired and claimed to love. Kids that age seethe w
A queer solo classic that I hope is still not out of print. (John Fox died of AIDS in 1990 with nothing beyond a few other short stories published. Stonewall Inn Editions put the novel back out in 1994, and I've seen it around even the occasional B&N.) A quick read that really could be the proto-type for every breezy, generic teen coming out book and movie. That is not a slight-The Boys on the Rock should be acknowledge for its footprint. As it came out in 1984, and takes place in the last s ...more
A fast read, the main character is engaging yet very frustrating

A good coming of age story, I’m happy I read it, but I’m not sure I can really say much without spoilers.

Written in more of a stream of consciousness, the book is told from the point of view of the main character. It’s intensely teenagerish –teenage boys are not reliable narrators, yet they can be really intriguing.

Set in time frame of spring 1968 thru the summer, our narrator, Billy grows up. It’s really a fast read, so brace yours

The Bronx, 1968, in the midst of political turmoil and Billy Connors meets Al DiCicco while Al is campaigning for McCarthy. Billy is a high school sophomore on varsity swim team, and Al is a twenty y/o aspiring politician who dreams of becoming the first Italian-American president. It's love at first sight, and in a Holden Caulfield whirlwind summer, Billy and Al experience the ups and downs of their adolescent romance.

This is one that will stay with me.
An entertaining, believable story. Billy's feelings sound plausible and "real", and the sex scenes are handled very well.

Why I didn't rate it with three stars: I had minor troubles with the writing style, it was too hurried in places (especially the beginning, it gave me trouble getting into the story) and jumping around in places with an too often unreliable narrator - plus switching from past to present tense within paragraphs. And the ending felt rushed.
Although short, little more than novella length, this book isn’t lightweight. It’s one of the most powerful coming out stories I’ve read. An incredibly real account of teenage confusion about identity and self awareness worked through to a satisfying, albeit difficult, conclusion. The narrative voice is spot-on, so you imagine the book is addressed directly to you.

Comparisons have been made to Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. I haven’t read that book (shocking, I know) but it did remind me of Patr
I'm yet to read a 'coming of age' book that I actually like. Came across this one on a second-hand bookstore and, well, my LGBT inner fan kicked in and I bought it.

I had several issues with the book, starting with the writing style; first time I tried to read it I had just finished with a vintage French romantic novel, so this book's writing felt like a bucket of cold water being dumped on me. When I finally got around picking it up again I still disliked the writing style and considered it too
It was some easy reading. I feel ambivalent about it - I liked it, but it was about the same kind of thing that I've read a zillion times before, and not significantly better. What I liked about it was it didn't feel like an exercise, it felt raw and human. Genuine. That is of course mainly due to the protagonist and his struggles, how they aren't candied up or made to seem darker than they are. We get a chance to sit with his not insignificant problems for a while.

I guess my issue is that the
Picked this up as a fun summer read.

It caught that period of youthful transition of budding spring to wisened fall in this story of boys awkwardly figuring out who they are and what they want. And making decisions that ultimately put them on their paths already determined by life.

This book has a timeless feel because although it was published in 1984 and took place in 1968, the emotions and conversations could have taken place even today.

Knowing it took place in the 60s within this country it
Derek Fleming
Loved this book! This is one of the first 'gay' books I ever purchased - I would have been twenty-one at the time, and bought it while visiting Halifax, Nova Scotia... I wish I could remember the name of the bookstore. Anyway, I still think of it very fondly - a wonderful coming of age novel.
Mike Adams
absolutely one of the best short gay YA books ever. Stunningly brief, succinct, with a hint of 'Catcher in the Rye' without going overboard, this small book is exemplary of the literary loss from AIDS. Imagine what more poetic literature Fox could have written...
Oh my god it was sooooo good. I couldn't put it down. And I'm not a reader by any means omg I just wish there was more like I'm so angry I'm done with it
Steve Woods
There's not much here! Though there were passages that rang of the truth of an emerging gay sexuality in adolescence, in places it was poorly written, disjointed and smacking of a "gay" Mills and Boon though probably not so saccharine. I would recommend that people spend their money on something worthwhile this one is just a bit banal for my taste; especially since I have read some masterpieces recently. I found it a bit puzzling that Edmund White seemed to give it a thumbs up on the cover notes ...more
Jon Wilson
Probably my favorite "Coming Out" story.
Kathy kennedy
typed in wrong book
What a real trip of a read for me. The coincidences to my own life at certain times were profound. The first person narrative was scary in its almost exact mimicry of my own experiences or thoughts in the same circumstances. The book was a marvelous read. I read it in one sitting when I should have been asleep already and remained captivated.
Pretty good read about a boy coming to terms with being gay in the 60s. The narration style is really unique and very in character. The relationship is cute, but there's really no depth to it. Probably a book teenagers would find easy to relate to, the only thing that bothered me was the lack of depth.
A taut and prosaic escapade of a sensitive and likable gay seventeen year old boy, narrated by a sober voice. Remember how gay lit used to be before the fag hags turned it into sleezey porn?
I read this a few years ago when I was on a kick to read a lot of queer fiction. It was a highlight of many not so good queer fiction. Not thrilled with the way it ended, but it's realistic.
It was quite good, but still not fantastic, the style bothered me a little, and I didn't find the subject matter all that engaging. Easy to read.

Liked the writing more than the actual story; the writing was awesome and the actual story, while it was really cute, was okay.
Your mileage may vary, but this is one of the books that saved my life back in the day. Sassy, sexy, and direct.
This remains one of the great gay coming-of-age stories in a cluttered and not always that good genre.
A pleasant coming of age/coming out story. Billy had little trouble accepting who he was.
Jul 24, 2008 Lin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: owned
Not bad. Reads quite quickly, which is a plus, although the ending does seem extremely abrupt.
Kate Michael
Kate Michael marked it as to-read
Jul 31, 2015
Dsvii marked it as to-read
Jul 28, 2015
Christina West
Christina West marked it as to-read
Jul 20, 2015
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