Overall A touching story of high school romance that involves character growth, thoughts on sexuality and gender, and bullying. Aside from an overall eOverall A touching story of high school romance that involves character growth, thoughts on sexuality and gender, and bullying. Aside from an overall enjoyment, the story had some gaping holes that left me blinking in surprise, wondering where the rest was.
Strengths The art style won't be to everyone's liking, but the rawness felt appropriate for the characters who are edgy and fringe. The construction of the pages was sometimes hard to follow, but never confusing enough to disrupt the story or confuse the reader about what was happening. The writing and dialogue both fit well with the artistic style, unifying the elements of the book.
Some thing about the stye reminded me of Jhonen Vasquez, despite the very different topic matter.
There are strengths and weaknesses of the content of this story. Looking at it from Eu's perspective, the story feels pretty self contained and satisfying and, although I didn't really want their relationship to happen, the story and its ending pleased me. Ash's growth from the boy who won't talk into Eu's equal is interesting and dynamic. The story as a whole touches upon issues of sexuality and gender without dragging it into the main focus.
Weaknesses Ash, who is my favorite character in the book, is too much of an enigma. The narration is mainly from Eu's perspective, but not solely, which created a sense that too much information about Ash was brought up and pushed aside. Very important information is mentioned (repeatedly) but never resolved, including potential incest, potential eating disorders, and the almost blasé way rape/pseudo-rape is handled. Ash has huge issues with being touched but after one encounter it seems to fade to the point where he can get a girlfriend.
I think my biggest issue with these gaping holes is that those elements are what made Ash so interesting and I wanted to know more about them, how they came about, and how they get resolved. Instead the story focuses more on Eu, who is okay, but not nearly as interesting. Some readers may not have a problem with the focus being on her, but most readers will probably be confused--and feel a bit cheated--by the shocking content that is brought up and never really dealt with.
Overall I really enjoyed these stories, which came from a variety of authors, most of whom I wasn't familiar with. However, while it's subtStars: 4.5/5
Overall I really enjoyed these stories, which came from a variety of authors, most of whom I wasn't familiar with. However, while it's subtitled as "Ten Short Stories About Being a Guy," it could just as appropriately be called "Ten Short Stories About Being a Person." Because honestly, how big of a difference is there between guys and gals? Not much (beyond biologicals), since it all breaks down on an individual level. That aside, this was a good collection of stories and I think it'd be great for young "guys" to read, although I'd definitely recommend it to anyone. In answer to the blurb above's question: Being a guy is different for everyone.
Strengths These stories had a good variation of topics that sometimes touched on heavy subjects but never lingered too long or too heavily and often the heavy subject wasn't the main focus of the story either, which was refreshing. Some of the topics include race issues, sexuality, changing friendships, family roles, and identity/cliques.
The writing was solid through out, and each author took a slightly different voice/approach, with one story presented in the form of a comic. And while each story was individual and different, there was never a jarring switch between stories, either. A good compilation.
Weaknesses I think my biggest peeve with this book is the idea that men are so different from women that young men/boys need a guide to being a guy. As if they couldn't figure it out themselves. This annoyance is slightly placated by the fact that the stories aren't grossly "This is how you're a Man," and instead show a variety of how to be a man (or, you know, a decent human being). Feels like a sales ploy to me, much like all products "sold" to "men" or "women."
This thing hit me hard. Well done, but dug up a lot of emotions, especially if you struggle with depression or high school (hah!). Some people may takThis thing hit me hard. Well done, but dug up a lot of emotions, especially if you struggle with depression or high school (hah!). Some people may take issue with David's Will Grayson's lack of capitalization, but it felt like a good way to distinct the two characters to me, so the reader never felt like they were in the wrong head. Definitely worth a read....more
Overall This is not an easy or light reading, although it's not too heavy either. It's a nice balance of story and teenage sexuality drama.Stars: 4.5/5
Overall This is not an easy or light reading, although it's not too heavy either. It's a nice balance of story and teenage sexuality drama. Although the topic is nothing new, I feel like the way the story was handled was fresh, making it a new and interesting story. While I really enjoyed this story, I can see some people taking issue with its not-completely-happy ending. I struggled with it myself, but I felt the decisions the author made were appropriate for the story and the lessons that John learns.
Strengths The writing is pretty easy going, matching the character, who is pretty laid back most of the time, but has a temper when his buttons are pushed. It was straight forward and well paced and overall made for an enjoyable read.
John is a likeable character, although he is flawed (he has a temper, biases, and acts like the teenager he is). But he's still a young man struggling to deal with things in his life and he acts like many teenagers do, and has to face those consequences. I think what I liked most about him is that he never complained about things being unfair or trying to take things back (even if he wishes he could). Instead he focuses on where he's at and what he needs to do—and what he should do. There are various side characters that are nice and varied, all of whom help make John who he is. I also liked Kit, even though some of the things he did/choose were just as hard to deal with as what John did/choose.
While there are some difficult things that happen in this story, and some difficult decisions that the characters make (many of which I disagree with, personally), I really enjoyed the story with its different resolution and some of the "morals" it teaches (to the main character, but not in a preachy way). I also liked the bull riding/western environment, which fit into the story without being too heavy handed in its role.
Weaknesses Not really a weakness, but I didn't like the ending. It was handled well, and I knew it was coming because of what I read in someone else's review, but … well, you'll have to see for yourself.
The cover that I had makes it seem like the main cast is young teens when they are actually all 18 or older. While I like the set up and the emotion behind it, I think it would dissuade younger people from reading it, which is a shame.
Overall I both loved and hated this book--which may leave you wondering why I still gave it 4 stars. The short answer is that the book got under my skiOverall I both loved and hated this book--which may leave you wondering why I still gave it 4 stars. The short answer is that the book got under my skin, and any book that really gets under my skin and has me loving and hating characters (often the same character), has to rank higher than a 3. Maybe it's a 3.5 that I bumped to a 4. We'll say I liked the cover enough to do that.
Warning, some content below may be seen as spoilers
Our narrator, Sprout, is a fun guy to listen to and lead us through the story. He's honest (in a roundabout sort of way), funny, and tells plenty of anecdotes, many in the form of essays he writes for Mrs. M. He hasn't had the worst life, but he hasn't had the best one either. It's not really a surprise that he's a little unbalanced in some elements of his life. Isn't everyone? Even the other people in the story have issues...one's in the closet, one has delusions of becoming famous, two are alcoholics (at least one is especially), and one has an abusive father.
There are so many things wrong with what happens in this story (not technically, just morally). People are so extremely people that you can't help but love and hate them. You want Sprout to come out the winner because he's the hero of this narrative, but this isn't necessarily that type of story. That's something you'll have to decide for yourself.
One part that seemed technically wrong to me is the abuse. I felt like the school wouldn't handle it that way, even if the kids refuse to talk. It also made me want to know why Sprout never said anything, never tried to convince him to admit what was going on. Maybe it's part of the Teens Don't Talk About That sort of thing, and obviously some of it needed to happen to make the story progress, but it irked me a little.
The end left me frustrated, then thoughtful, then frustrated, then worried, then frustrated...and you get the idea. It makes me want to re-read it to understand something I must have missed. If you need a resolute and happy ending every time, look elsewhere. If you're willing to fly by the seat of your pants, at least this once, then give it a shot. You may find your happy ending after all.
Overall: I probably would have ranked this book as a 2, but the author did an excellent job with the horse elements, so it earns an extra hStars: 2.5/5
Overall: I probably would have ranked this book as a 2, but the author did an excellent job with the horse elements, so it earns an extra half star. Otherwise I found the novel mediocre overall, mostly due to Cleo's involvement. If the story had focused solely on Alex and been from his perspective, it would have been better.
Overall: A good story with a easy to get along with narrator. Although there are few surprises on the content, the way it's revealed is worth reading.Overall: A good story with a easy to get along with narrator. Although there are few surprises on the content, the way it's revealed is worth reading. One reviewer compared the novel to Girl, Interrupted, which feels like a pretty good assessment (It's been a while since I've watched that movie).
What I liked Characters: While our leading man is struggling to deny he belongs in the mental ward, he doesn't shut down completely. We learn more about him through his interactions with others than what he actually tells us, which feels appropriate for the character and his situation. I enjoy his judgment of others and how he connects with each of them (for better or worse). All the characters were fun and individual, playing into stereotypes just as often as they fought them. Also, I loved his sister.
What didn't work Originality. The story, as I mentioned, was very similar to Girl, Interrupted, so it wasn't the most refreshingly new angle. It had it's own story and resolution and was unique in some ways, but overall, the story felt "done." It wasn't surprising or peaked my interest in anything else, although I am interested in reading more of Ford's books....more
Overall: While this is a beautifully written story with several positive points, the ending really sours the entire story for me.
What I likStars: 2.5/5
Overall: While this is a beautifully written story with several positive points, the ending really sours the entire story for me.
What I liked Writing. The style is unique and moving, feeling abstract and distant in many cases, which works to illustrate how the main character has become closed off (although the writing style doesn't change as he opens up.
Abuse. The main character's relationship with his father is handled well. The fear is palpable without showing any actual abuse being committed, just threats (which is enough).
What didn't work The ending. I'm not sure if I'm missing something, I didn't read carefully enough, or it's just the style of the book, but the ending was extremely confusing. I'm not exactly sure what happened, and I'm not certain if I'm supposed to know if certain things happened. I found it frustrating to feel uncertain and confused about the ending.
Boyfriend. We have an obviously limited view of what other people think and feel, but the main characters "boyfriend" had several moments where I really disliked him. He had a girlfriend, he's hot and cold, he's almost cruel in some instances. While I can understand this logically, I never felt his behaviors were satisfactorily explained or defended. It wasn't until the end that he both ruined and redeemed himself....more
Although I haven't read all of Sanchez's books, I've read the majority and this is very different from his others. This one was darker, more serious aAlthough I haven't read all of Sanchez's books, I've read the majority and this is very different from his others. This one was darker, more serious and completely refreshing (err, by the end).
He touches upon some very sensitive subjects in a realistic and capable way and helps his lead character get through them. The supporting cast is excellent, from his mother who ignores his situation to the parole officer who is trying to help him. While I wasn't wild about the girlfriend, she provided the support Diego needed and was balanced out by Kenny, Diego's best friend, who eventually gives up on Diego after some rather rude comments.
I don't think there was much of anything that I disliked in this novel (even the cover got my seal of approval!). Although some of the situations were difficult for me on a personal level and evoked some strong emotions, Sanchez never pushed too hard, which is probably good considering his audience.
On a side note, I read this book immediately after reading Sanchez' Getting It and it was quite the jump. ...more
I started this novel with very low expectations. The plot description didn't thrill me, but I've become a fan of Sanchez, so I gave it a chance.
I'm glI started this novel with very low expectations. The plot description didn't thrill me, but I've become a fan of Sanchez, so I gave it a chance.
I'm glad I did. It turned around and surprised me, turning out to be a delightful little book. I'm not sure how I missed the double meaning of the title, but I did, which just further delighted me as I was reading.
The characters were all rather enjoyable, even when they were being ***. I think what I liked most is they were very human and made mistakes and then struggled to correct them. The ending verged on being cheesy, but it almost felt like a necessary cheese, so it's forgiven.
While I did enjoy this novel, I think I either had my expectations set too high or something, because it kind of let me down. The main character didn'While I did enjoy this novel, I think I either had my expectations set too high or something, because it kind of let me down. The main character didn't particularly pull me or make me feel incredibly involved in the story--but the side characters did. It's interesting that the main character chooses the name Grady ("Because it has 'gray' in it") because he is just that, gray, especially when compared to colorful characters like Sebastian.
I suppose the dullness of the character works to make him realistic and "nothing special" so that a transgendered person reading it may feel "Hey, if he can do it, so can I!" I suppose in that way it has its merits.
The plot worked for me, it felt realistic (he comes out, everyone flips, time passes and things settle down) except for the last two chapters, which felt a bit forced and theatrical. It also didn't feel like something Grady would do. But the end wasn't enough to turn me off of the book, I'd still recommend it because it was overall strong in plot and characters. ...more
This books touches upon a variety of tough/important topics like attempted suicide, homosexuality, friends, and family. If that wasn't too vague!
The cThis books touches upon a variety of tough/important topics like attempted suicide, homosexuality, friends, and family. If that wasn't too vague!
The characters all felt extremely real without boringly or obnoxiously so. The first few chapters read very emo/apathetic and I was worried it would turn out to be a "woe is me" type story that did alot of whining. However, after the initial weekend, a new vivaciousness appears in the characters and things start to get better.
I think the only thing that really left a taste in my mouth is so much is left unknown. While I know life isn't a neat little package, I want to know some facts, some of which I know the author can't give and some that I think the author could give.
The writing was good, a sort of smooth rhythm with the right amount of action, dialogue and description. The chapter's changed perspective between the two brothers using a close third person narration in present tense (which I don't see very often). ...more
This was a very cute easy to read book. How easy? I picked it up at 5 from the library after work and finished it by 9:45. I also ate dinner and wentThis was a very cute easy to read book. How easy? I picked it up at 5 from the library after work and finished it by 9:45. I also ate dinner and went grocery shopping in there. But then again, this is a young adult book (aimed at 13 year olds, I'd guess).
Having read alot of Sanchez in the past two weeks, I've noticed some patterns in his stories and some psuedo crossovers. Such as in this book the narrator mentions a news article about a basketball player who came out (just like Jason did in Rainbow High). It's interesting reading them and seeing the small repeats like that, but it's not necessarily bad.
I think what I like about this story is it feels very age appropriate (at least for someone old school like me). The 13 year olds are excited about kissing, the girls are giggly and the boys are macho (as 13 year olds can be). It was also nice that half the book is told from Xio's perspective, so we get the boy and the girl's story.
This book probably would have earned a higher ranking if I were younger or it were the first of the 7 queer YA books I've read instead of the seventh. It's wrong to hold it against it, but alas....more