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Absolutely Positively Not

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  2,978 ratings  ·  211 reviews
There is one thing Steven knows for sure: He's absolutely, positively NOT gay.

Steven's a 16-year-old boy with two obsessions: sex and getting his driving license. The problem is, Steven's not thinking girls when he's thinking sex. Could he be -- don't say it -- gay? Steven sets out to get in touch with his inner he-man with Healthy Heterosexual Strategies such as "Start Ha
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published June 1st 2005 by Arthur A. Levine Books
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  2,978 ratings  ·  211 reviews

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Ulysses Dietz
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a special book for me. I never tire of reading YA books with gay main characters, probably because, at 60, I still can’t forget what it was to be a teenager just realizing I was gay, some 45 years ago.

Steven DeNarski is gay. But he doesn’t want to be, so he tries extremely hard NOT to be. Such energetic denial could be ugly, and in fact this book has quite a lot of pain in it; but David Larochelle manages to handle Steven’s angst, his fear, and his sadness with a sympathetic light-hear
Eva B.
Jun 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
The first time I ever heard the word "gay", it was in reference to this book. I was a third grader at a Catholic school, and the librarian was playing book trailers. It was clearly an accident that this book's was played, since it was 1) about a gay kid and 2) young adult, but by the time she realized what was happening, it was too late to turn it off. But the book always stuck with me, and I figured that for Pride (especially my first Pride semi-out to my parents) I would finally read this one. ...more
Jul 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As an LGBTQ teen in the process of coming out myself (I'm a bisexual girl) I found SO much to emphasize with in Absolutely Positively Not. I loved Steven; he was the right balance of quirky and normal, gay-but-not-too-gay. Occasionally his self-denying rants got a little ridiculous to someone like me, who has always grown up in a household where it's not a bad thing to be gay. He finds an old book which instructs parents how to 'fix' a gay teen and tries the methods on himself. I can't imagine a ...more
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
I don't often impulse buy at bookstores (I tend to browse libraries), but I came across this book, opened it, and started reading, and I couldn't stop, so I figured I might as well buy it. Turned out to be an excellent idea. This story comes with natural and engaging characters and a plot that is sometimes hilarious and sometimes a bit painful, but always subtle, and it feels *just* removed enough to feel like a fun, engaging read, rather than something that's super realistic and heavy (those bo ...more
Feb 15, 2009 rated it did not like it
I found this book to be a very unbelievable, clique story of a teen’s journey to discovering his homosexuality. Although it was refreshing to see a heavy subject dealt with in a light and somewhat humorous way, it was so unrealistic; it is hard for me to see how teens could benefit from it. It appeared to me to be a “Brady Bunch” version of a story of discovering your sexuality. Many stereotypes of homosexual people were used in this book which don’t really reflect reality. The teen also takes a ...more
☆ Todd
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
Meh. This one felt very *junior* YA to me, like the training wheels were still on Steven's little pink pre-gay bicycle.

Even at the LGBT Youth Meeting, Steven only met girls, no boys at all. We wouldn't want to shock the readers by a gay boy actually meeting another gay boy face to face, would we? : /

For me, it had an overly sanitized, palatable fodder for the possibly homosexually-challenged in-class 8th grade reading assignment feel to it.

I'd much rather stick with a good Mark Roeder YA, if I'
A 16-year-old boy wants two things: to get his driver's license and to be absolutely positively sure that he is not gay. Funny, touching, and affirming. ...more
Jun 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'm so fond of this book. The protagonist is awesome, the story's delivered with a good dollop of humour and not a lot of angst, and it's simply a delightful read. I appreciate how the main character isn't just a gay guy, but a gay guy with a lot of weird quirks, like his Superman obsession and his passion for square-dancing. Plus, no tacked-on romance! Which made me especially endeared to the character, since too often queer YA novels are all this melodrama about this one character who's attrac ...more
Mar 24, 2021 rated it liked it
I'm not into YA but this one was particularly good! Such a light reading dense with some thoughts about the testosterone/masculine/alpha-men society we're into and how this could build a wall towards ourselves. If only I'd the chance to read it back when I was 15yo, that would been so useful to understand how things should have to go, how we shouldn't be afraid to do the most natural and important thing in our life: to live. ...more
Crisanda (Sapphire)
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

A tad juvenile in places but hilarious overall.
My Tasting:

Why I bought it:

I've been going through the YA books on Lee Wind's site and this blurb caught my imagination.
Dislike/like (ending on a high note):

Dislike~ Or more of a warning~ The people who think we're living in a gay utopia where all stories should reflect queer experiences where everyone automatically accepts and believes everything about themselves and each other and that this magically makes everything alright in the world should probably stay away from this book.

Like~ What I li
Apr 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: teens coming out, parents of gay teens
Steven's got a secret as he admits in the first sentence of this book. But by the second sentence we know that his secret is that he enjoys square dancing. He's also got ANOTHER secret that he's not so forthcoming with. In fact he can't really admit it to himself yet, he's gay.

As one would expect from a book released under the Scholastic imprint, there's nothing too disturbing or too depressing in this book. Aimed squarely at teen readers, it's a basically happy, basically fun-filled, tale of t
Jul 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbt-themes, fluff
Okay so this one was a cute coming out story that was rather humorous. I really enjoyed the first half, and I was often giggling whilst reading.

However, near the 60% mark there is so much awkward I couldn't hardly take it. I ended up skimming a bit to be honest.

The ending was nice too.

For fans of lgbt and coming out stories.

This is a great coming-out story. The first person narrative is witty and humorous. The quips are delightfully funny. Finding your own identity is such a cumbersome process that usually starts at the adolescent age, regardless of one's sexual preference, but it is kind of refreshing to find a book which has a different approach on the matter.

Oct 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Cute book about a teen guy coming to terms with his sexuality. Nothing earth-shattering or even particularly memorable, but it’s funny (International Male!) and a lot more natural and less anvilicious than, say, Geography Club. ...more
Jun 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Surprisingly, I actually liked it. It was a common story of a confused boy who tried to weave through his sexual realization; in fact, it sounded boring. The character development was mostly surfacial and fleeting, so it was not a book to empathize or seek empathy. In most aspects, it was not something I would enjoy. But still, I had fun reading it (a fairly quick process) mainly for the nonchalant and rather airheaded main character/narrator/writing. Let's just say the story was depicted via th ...more
Idit Bourla
Jun 30, 2019 rated it liked it
You know it is a bad book when there are only 200 pages in it with extremely big letters and you struggle to finish it, while other books which contain more than 400 pages with letters' size as ants you finish in a day, because they are so good. I gave it 3 stars because I happen to be in a good mood, but generally, I would not give it more than 2.
By all means, I barley have anything to say. I will cut to the chase because I obviously read so much better and I have a feeling the next one will be
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I legitimately liked this book more than I thought I would. I was afraid that it would be a very stereotypical read. I won't spoil a lot, but the main reasons I liked this were:
1. The main character didn't need to be in a relationship to figure out his identity.
2. The character, although reluctant to admit he's gay, never once uses slurs to refer to gay people. In fact, he even dislikes it when other characters around him use such terms.
3. He felt real. It wasn't just the quirky misadventures he
Tiny, super sweet, and heartfelt book. Steven's character growth from denial to actively seeking out other gay teens (boys) to learn about himself and connect with others is *chefs kiss*.
This is a very lighthearted book, but still emotionally poignant & such a great read. I consumed it (seriously gobbled it up) in one sitting.

I especially liked how his driving test was all tied up in what he "needed" to drive to and how it related in the end to him coming out to his mom.
His coming out to his
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
In terms of personal enjoyment, I'd give it more of a 3. This wasn't a groundbreaking or super unique story about coming out, especially compared to the ones I've read lately. HOWEVER, this is clearly written for a younger reader, and with that in consideration, I think it's a great and short read about what someone might experience when questioning their sexual orientation in high school. For that reason, I gave it a 4. ...more
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fun ride. Steven is incredible, he is mostly level headed but being a die hard Superman fan he finds in himself more and more bravado which leads to even more abstract and funny situations. I laughed every other page or more. The way he described other guys reminded me how in HP descriptions made me think that Harry was more attracted to boys. Read it in one go. Shame it ended so abruptly - would love to engage in more of his escapades but nevertheless it was quite a right moment.
Elaine Fultz
One of the original books selected but REJECTED by the administrators for the CCS/PFLAG Dayton Rainbow Reading project. Reason: because of the gay boy's crush on his male teacher. Clearly the admin didn't read the other books cover-to-cover because surely the loss-of-virginity scene in another book, which was added to all MS and HS collections would have raised more eyebrows. =-) ...more
Giorgia Larocca
Jan 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
this is one of the most hilarious books I've ever read. It's a brilliant satire on masculinity, stereotypes and all the angsty tropes of most coming out fiction (you know the kind). Refreshingly hilarious, it's the perfect book when you need a break from the struggles our community usually faces in media. ...more
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Steven is adamant that he’s absolutely, positively not gay. But certain thoughts keep popping up in his head and no amount of suppression can turn those thoughts around.

Read the full review here.
May 16, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5- I would have appreciated this more if I read it when I was younger, though I still found it real and truthful. While there is some terminology that some may find offensive due to it being largely uncommon today, the overall positive message remains the same.
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fiction, 2020
Cute YA novel. It seemed relatable and like it could be useful to LGBTQ kids as well as any teens open to reading about new perspectives. This has been in my class library collection for over a decade and I’m glad I finally read it so I can better recommend to students.
Arlynn Woods
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was hilarious and I loved it.
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memory-lane
Very cute story, quick read.
Apr 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Read for a course. Fluffy little book about a teen who discovers he is gay and at first tries to re-train his body to be heterosexual. Funny, but unrealistic characters.
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“Of course! That was it! I didn't need a tattoo. What I needed was something a lot less expensive and considerably less painful. What I needed was a Playboy. Guys who are gay do not keep Playboy magazines in their bedrooms.” 6 likes
“I tried to think of a good reason as to why I had a sex book down my pants, but my brain refused to work.” 5 likes
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