A good summer read about librarians, libraries, and the power of reading but in a fictional novel. My favorite take away is not the characters or plot...moreA good summer read about librarians, libraries, and the power of reading but in a fictional novel. My favorite take away is not the characters or plot but the message: Stories can get children and adults through touch life situations intact, and librarians have often been and can still be the conduit by which those books are delivered. The story contains at GTLB story line and some wonderfully crafted statements on intellectual freedom and the freedom to read. (less)
With the recent onslaught of Push/Precious mania in the library and movies, including the censorship that tags along for the ride, it was nice to read...moreWith the recent onslaught of Push/Precious mania in the library and movies, including the censorship that tags along for the ride, it was nice to read a book about abuse, addiction, and mental health from the viewpoint of three realistic male main characters: an 18 year old Latino boy, an 50 + year old screenplay writer, and a 30 or 40 something therapist. Saenz blends the voices of all three into a woven tapestry of pain, forgiveness, friendship and love. The story broke my heart, and gave me hope. It is well worth the read, even for wimps like me who usually avoid tearjerker's at all costs. I recommend this book to everyone, but especially those who work with teen boys and I will recommend it to teen boys. (less)
This YA story is about three life-long friends who break away from their usual routine for a few months and learn what many teens secretly fear: A sum...moreThis YA story is about three life-long friends who break away from their usual routine for a few months and learn what many teens secretly fear: A summer can absolutely change your life forever.
Nina Bermudez has mixed emotions about returning home from a college summer residence program in California for high school leaders. She is literally bursting with experiences to share with her friends while at the same time desperately missing her new found love Steve, the son of hippies who lives in Seattle. Instead of the bff support group Nina expects, she finds that she is standing on the outside of their once close group.
She soon stumbles onto the fact that her friends have moved into unfamiliar and uncomfortable waters while she was away. Mel and Avery, the other two points of the triangle, have become best friends with benefits. For Mel, the experience is of first love, of breaking out of her shell, and admitting to herself that she is gay. For Avery, it is a safe and secretly exciting experiment with someone she already loved. For Nina, it was pure hell.
Johnson's story provides an honest, thoughtful, and at times humorous view of teens exploring their sexual identity. Although it is a good addition to the GLBT YA collection for high school and public libraries, it is not necessarily just for this crowd. It is a way for any reader to contemplate the natural awkwardness one might experience upon discovering that a good friend of the same gender is gay.
In once scene, a nervous Nina approaches Mel right before she is scheduled to speak in front of the school. Nina starts to tell Mel that she is worried that her shirt is see-through, but then awkwardly hesitates, not wanting to say something uncomfortable. Mel wants to tell Nina that yes, in fact her shirt is see-through, but she doesn't want Nina to think she is staring at her breasts.
My favorite character in the story is Parker. He is the sarcastically funny "nice" boy who always seems to crush on the girls he can't have (including Mel). He becomes the new friend in the group, often a stand-in for the ever-absent Avery. He is the comic relief of the story, interjecting witty lines that made me chuckle out loud.