Gwen the Librarian's Reviews > What They Always Tell Us

What They Always Tell Us by Martin  Wilson
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Sep 23, 2008

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bookshelves: teenbooks, glbtq
Read in September, 2008

One night at a party, Alex drinks most of a bottle of Pine Sol – it wasn't like he was really trying to kill himself, it's just that nothing felt right anymore. Alex survives, but becomes more isolated than ever; his friends and his popular brother James won't talk to him and his parents are walking on eggshells. The new 10-year-old across the street is the only friend Alex has. When he starts running again, he meets Nathen, one of James's friends and they become running partners and close friends. James can't believe that Alex might have screwed up his perfect senior year and can't understand why Nathen has taken such an interest in Alex when he himself can't seem to. James just wants out of town. The year following Alex's "incident" is told from Alex's and James's perspectives, in alternating chapters. Both brothers learn a lot about themselves and their relationship as they deal with questions of sexuality, image, and standing up for what's right.

This is a well-written first novel with an authentic voice, but it might glaze over the homosexual themes a little too easily for someone actually going through such an experience and looking for guidance and comfort in a novel.
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