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Eight Seconds

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  242 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Each ride on the bucking bull is a lesson in pain. Each landing on the packed dirt is a jarring reminder of reality. Rodeo camp is a tough way to spend a summer, but John is having the time of his life. No clingy girlfriends, no nagging moms, no annoying sisters. Just him and the guys and the biggest bulls he's ever seen. All he has to do is stay on a bull for eight second ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published October 1st 2000 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  242 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
During the summer before his senior year, John who lives on a Texas ranch goes to a rodeo school and learns to become a bull-rider. There he meets Kit a 19 year old college student who happens to be a politically active Gay guy, unknown to John and his friends.

John and Kit click in a friendship in a way John has never experienced before. This all sets John into an intense personal re-examination and self-discovery. This conflict drives the novel which becomes even more intense when John and his
Jennifer Lavoie
Nov 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I wanted to give this book 4 stars originally just because it didn't have the ending I wanted, but in the end I couldn't justify that. I loved this book. It may not have had the happy ending I love, but it was so realistic because of that. Both Kit and John were excellent characters and I was able to connect with both. Some of the things Kit said made me stop to think, and I really felt for what John was going through on his journey to discover himself. Really a great read. ...more
Jan 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
John thinks that when he had open-heart surgery as a child, maybe the doctors forget to replace an essential piece, because he doesn't want to marry Kelsey, his girlfriend who is pushing for an after-graduation commitment. Eager to escape, John is thrilled when his dad signs him up for rodeo camp, where he discovers an odd and deep kinship with Kit.
Upon his return home, John is stunned to learn that the confident and poised young man is openly gay at his college. John is forced to make fast and
Jun 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
John a young man, still in high school feels surrounded by females what with his mother, his girlfriend, and his five sisters.

Getting away for a week at a rodeo prep camp sounds great and there he meets and befriends Kit a handsome self assured guy who goes to college with his older sister. Kit is a natural bull rider and the two quickly strike up a friendship.

When he returns home and his sister tells John that Kit is openly gay on campus, John's world is rocked.

Soon he's questioning many thi
Oct 05, 2008 rated it it was ok
High-school cowboy (John) figures out he is gay when he falls in love with Kit, a slightly older gay rodeo cowboy. John doesn't end up in a romance with Kit, which feels realistic, though not satisfying if the reader is looking for a romance. Clunky writing in some parts, unfortunately. I guess I would rate it 3 stars for a reader looking for a teen gay relationship novel. ...more
Feb 23, 2009 rated it liked it
I really liked the counrty story about a young bull rider. It did however take me for a loop, and one that some people may not be okay with for a young person. I thought that it shows that not everyone is the same and that it is okay, too.
Jun 20, 2018 rated it liked it
(3.5 stars) aaaaargh I'm so frustrated about the ending haha ...more
Jackson Roscher
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Might be my favorite book of all time. Would love it if the author makes another version of this. PLEASE DO !!!!!
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
i love rodeo type stuff if u like this book u sould read it
Sue J
Jan 05, 2017 rated it liked it
A realistic look at sugar coating or expected results. It was almost a new concept that people reap the 'benefits' of their actions. Very often in young adult literature that is not the case! ...more
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Eight Seconds is an amazing book. It is one of those that keeps the reader intrigued throughout the entire story. Of course it’s aimed at the teenage reader. Although the book’s central character is an 18-year-old guy girls too will be pulled into the story’s constantly changing relationships. His sense of self-discovery during his late teens is one of the most interesting elements to this story.
Jan 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Stars: 4.5/5

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 lesson
Jarrad L
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a popular bull rider at the age of 17? A guy by the name of John always wanted to be the best bull rider out there, and one day his dad surprised him with something that changed his view on bull riding. If you want to be inspired to pursue in something, you should read Eight Seconds by Jean Ferris. John kept practicing and he eventually mastered all of his riding abilities that in the end led to a great reward.

One thing I didn't like that hap
Apr 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-read, ya-lgbt
Ferris structures an interesting tale, based in cowboy country, of teenage boys who become interested in rodeo. The story is interesting and portrays a sense of the farm life of teens raised in a truly rural environment. In this case, there is a boy who has had heart surgery who lost a year of school. He is 18 yrs. old, but will only be a senior in high school. I'm unsure why she gave her protagonist this particular characterization given the rest of the content of the novel. John goes to rodeo ...more
Aug 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt-literature
Ferris, Jean / Eight seconds
Harcourt 2000

John Ritchie is heading off to rodeo camp; he can’t wait to be on his own, at least for a week, away the sisters, his mom and dad, the chores on the ranch. He knows exactly what he wants to do – ride bulls.

On this second day at camp he meets Kit Crowe, and John feels an immediate physical / spiritual attraction, he is drawn to Kit in a way he cannot really understand. Kit is also interested in bull riding. He has a natural balance and grace while he is on
Nov 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
Eighteen-year-old John is just about to watch his best friends graduate from high school. He would have been graduating with them too, if he hadn’t skipped a year when he had heart surgery as child. But the summer ahead is looking good when his father gives him a surprise gift: a week at rodeo camp! John is raring to go and decides he wants to give bull-riding a try. While at camp he meets Kit, a tough young bull-rider, and begins to develop a friendship with him. When John finds out that Kit is ...more
Oct 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt
I wish there was a sequel! I would love to see how our boys John and Kit are getting along. Especially John. (view spoiler) The thing that I really liked about this book was how well it captured the confusing feelings of discovering one' ...more
Sarah Maddaford
It was pretty good. There's a bit of coarse language and violence as well as a teen learning about his sexuality (not personally objectionable, but could trigger some parents). I appreciate that teen romantic interest, gay or straight, doesn't usually end with any kind of happily ever after, but I wish that they had ended up friends if nothing else. I can imagine a lot of people reading this and seeing (if not understanding) that just being gay means being different which is hard to deal with in ...more
Tara Calaby
Aug 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was initially worried about how well a woman would fare with writing rural male characters engaging in such male-driven pursuits as rodeos, but she did a good job. For some reason, her characters reminded me of S.E.Hinton, which is very much not a bad thing. The story itself is basically a coming-of-age and realisation-of-sexuality story, but it's all quite understated and the protagonist's reactions and actions are realistic. The ending was a little sudden, but it pleased me with its realism. ...more
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: glbtq, 2016
This was a fun quick read. I loved all the characters and the book had several surprising laugh out loud moments.

It was fairly short, so I felt not everything was fleshed out as much as it should have been. I would have loved to have more time spent on the bull riding as well as the characters.

Not, I am not one to require happy endings. But this ending just felt rather...pointless. The whole book felt like it was leading toward one thing...and that one thing didn't happen. I had to check that th
Mar 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
This story is about a kid who is surrounded by girls his entire life. He is getting tire of it. He has 5 sisters an, annoying mom, and a nagging girlfriend. So when he gets the chance he goes to redo camp for a week. Then he befriends this guy who is older. An he finds out from one of his sisters later the guy he's friends with is gay. Then the other guys pick on both of them. John doesn't know what to do. ...more
Apr 14, 2008 rated it liked it
I liked how John's self-discovery is not easy, nor is his acceptance. It's more realistic experience, especially living in a world where the conservative viewpoint is the norm. The story is a bit uneven, and I wish that the conclusion wasn't as unsettling, although I realize that's the way life is sometimes. ...more
Carrie Rolph
Quick, action packed story of Johnny, high school boy who goes to "rodeo school" and discovers the college-age cowboy he admires is gay, but not a florist or anything like that. I think it does a decent job of exploring stereotypes and Johnny's questions about his own sexuality, but it's probably mot the *best* YA GLBT book out there. ...more
Mar 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
I read this for my young adult literature class a long time ago, just remembered a few things about it. One thing that you expect is to have the story be about riding a bull, but that is just the vehicle to drive the plot.
"How could Kit be gay? Gay meant being a florist or a decorator; it meant wearing eye shadow and long scarves; it meant walking funny and throwing like a girl. It meant being somebody other people feared and hated and couldn't be friends with. Didn't it?" ...more
Sep 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-juvenile
A young adult book about a boy who goes to rodeo school, learns to ride bulls, and learns he has a friend who's gay. Coming to terms with his friend being gay forces him to discover his own orientation. ...more
Oct 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
its boring a bulls ya it sounds like a good book but it really is ent and whats up with the gay friend i think that kinda truns people a turnd me away but the only way people are going to read this book is if they wantto not when there focrd to
Jan 16, 2009 rated it it was ok
JUST KILL ME NOW! *weeps uncontrollably* This book was TERRIBLE. Gay cowboys? *sob* Why, oh why, did that kid have to be gay? *shudders* I can't believe I even finished this book. I want to die. ...more
Dec 16, 2009 marked it as to-read
Shelves: ya
Reading Rants Underappreciated Teen Books
Mar 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice coming of age story about a boy questioning his sexual identity. The ending left me feeling a bit empty, but that's life, isn't it? ...more
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Mrs. Anderson's E...: 8 Seconds 1 3 Jan 06, 2016 07:03PM  

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This author is not afraid to tackle difficult subjects: living with a deaf parent (Of Sound Mind), facing the consequences of a criminal act (Bad), or questioning one's sexuality (Eight Seconds). But Jean Ferris is also adept at writing comedy, historical fiction, and romance. What's most interesting is that she didn't publish her first novel until she was in her mid-40s. Yet she's never forgotten ...more

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