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Gravel Queen

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  576 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
"Whatcha' lookin' at, Aurin? I thought you weren't interested in those guys," Kenney says."I'm not," I say.

There is a carefully constructed balance between Aurin and her friends Kenney and Fred. Kenney is usually the one who comes up with things to do -- her flair for the dramatic can make even boring old Greensboro seem interesting. And if she is a little controlling, Aur
Hardcover, 152 pages
Published March 1st 2003 by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
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Mar 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
A pretty standard book about teenagers, with the necessary fight with the best friend, confusion over relationships, and miscommunications with parents. I actually think Benduhn treated this rather well, and managed to write a nice lesbian story while doing so that didn't fall into some of the horrific plot snares that gape along the way. I had only one real confusion, concerning how "out" Aurin was in relation to Kenney, but that did not hinder my enjoyment of the book very much. I would have l ...more
Connie McEntee
Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-lgbtqi
There was so much about this book that was just so unexpected. It was an absolute joy to read.
Kristle Steele
Benduhn, Tea. (2003). Gravel queen. New York N.Y.: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Original Review:
Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2003 (Vol. 71, No. 1))
The summer before their junior year finds Aurin lolling in the park eyeballing the more active Frisbee players. Aurin and her best friends, Kenney and Fred, female and male, live in Greensboro, better known as Greensboring. Fred is gay and enjoys the view of the athletic guys as much or more than Kenney, but Aurin is surprised
Jul 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
I really liked the honesty of the characters and the "realness" of the teen voices in this novel. It's a fairly quick read, exploring LGBT issues. I would've liked to have had a little more in this book. Aurin and her best friend Kenney argue over Aurin's increasing interest in Neila. Kenney finds out that Aurin and Neila have kissed, and in typical teen fashion confronts Aurin in a round about - I know what you did - kind of way. The author hints that Kenney may have told Aurin's mom about the ...more
Jun 05, 2012 rated it liked it
A gentle summer story about friendship and first love. I had high hopes for this book because of the laudatory blurbs on the back cover by James Howe, Alex Sanchez, and Nancy Garden, but I wasn't bowled over by it. Too many of the characters were more like caricatures and I just couldn't buy certain plot points (which I won't mention -- no spoilers here).

In her author statement, Tea Benduhn writes that she wanted to depict teen love in an "uplifting" and "positive" way that spoke back to other,
Jenni Frencham
Feb 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Aurin and her friends Kenney and Fred spend a lot of time doing the things Kenney wants to do. Aurin and Fred are happy to follow in Kenney's footsteps until Neila arrives. Aurin quickly develops a crush on Neila, and they begin spending more time together. Kenney cannot understand why she's been thrown out of the driver's seat and she lashes out at Aurin. Soon Aurin finds herself in the middle of a mess: how can she continue to pursue her relationship with Neila while maintaining a friendship w ...more
Mar 15, 2008 rated it liked it
A charming story of first love. Benduhn paints a convincing portrait of Aurin, a creative and slightly geeky teenage girl who falls for the enticing new girl in town. Parts of this novel rang very true to me, especially the portrayal of Aurin's relationship with her slightly controlling (and much "cooler") best friend, Kenney. I was disappointed with the characterization of Pru, Aurin's mom, other. Her meanness and slightly off-kilter behavior wasn't quite believable to me. It's not that I don't ...more
Edward Creter
Aurin first sees Her on the green, the Frisbee Girl, with chocolatte skin and blond halr and the body of Portia De Rossi. It's Love at first sight. Then she meets her at a dance club, taking note of her awesomw dance moves and dellighting in her free spirit. Tho' they don't share that First Kiss until page 102, the wait is worth it. And tho it starts as lust on Aurin's part, her overwhelming love for Neila (backwards for "alien" for reasons that may become obvious to the wary reader) takes over ...more
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
So, I really enjoyed this short book. I like the complexity of evolving friendships, the fragile nature of new love, and the resilience of both. I wish the book had been longer but I think the author wanted us to enjoy these characters in their happy moments, and not go deeper when things would have gotten more complicated and potentially less happy. I can appreciate that and it gave me a sweet feeling as I read it.
Dec 21, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbqt
I was depressed when I read this book, so my review may not be the best. The concept of a character wanting to film their life, and using that concept to describe aspects of the book, was wonderful. The actual characters were underdveloped and predictable, however. I felt like everything in the plot went way too easily. A good attempt at lgbqt, but nothing particularly new or special.
Sara Bennett
Jun 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Has a very dusty and slow country town-vibe. Not a super fast read, but it's a nice one. Focuses on growing up and things changing as you learn things about yourself and that changes how you sometimes act or relate to your peers. It was a book I enjoyed but probably won't reread. :)
Jan 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq
This was an okay teenage romance. The annoying parents bothered me a bit bc the mom was just way too angry and it stressed me out. The ending felt unfinished. I was, however, grinning during a lot of it so I'll recommend it if you're looking for an easy read.
Jenny Schmenny
Aug 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
A coming-of-age novel in which bisexuality was an important factor, but not a central point! Awesome! I'm sick to death of Oh! God! I'm! Queer! books. It's been done. There is more to identity and experience, certainly more worth writing about.
Feb 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-aka-teen, queer
Aurin hangs out with buddies Kenney and Fred, meets Neila and falls in love with her, rearranging friendships somewhat. Reasonably good- lots of metaphorical sensory details (“sparks of frozen fizzle warm”).
Sep 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
A mediocre story, lackluster characters, dull plot. I only finished it because it was so short. There are a few good lines of prose, but altogether, the novel just doesn't compel the reader.
Paola Moll
Oct 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
Cute LGBT book. Only of the only mushy books I like.
Nov 16, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: queer, ya
of course, i had to read it. queer ya set in nc!
Nov 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
The book was good but at times a bit unclear and not a good ending though.
Linda Saldierna
May 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
this book is a love story about Aurin. she likes to make movies in her head. one day at the park she falls in love with the frisbee girl. her friend becomes jelous.
its a great story! read it!
Jun 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
lovely story.
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Megan Anderson
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KOrr Ya
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Mar 05, 2016
Carolinosaurus Rex
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Nov 05, 2013
Jessica Garman
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Feb 08, 2013
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Apr 22, 2017
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Nov 08, 2015
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Apr 07, 2012
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Tea Benduhn lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her two cats. She has an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College in Boston, and a BA in English and secondary education from Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Of Gravel Queen, she says:
"I wanted to write an uplifting story about teen love that had a positive outcome. When I was growing up and discovering my identity, I read a lot about
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