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The God Box

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  4,501 ratings  ·  344 reviews
How could I choose betwen my sexuality and my spirituality, two of the most important parts that made me whole?

High school senior Paul has dated Angie since middle school, and they're good together. They have a lot of the same interests, like singing in their church choir and being active in Bible club. But when Manuel transfers to their school, Paul has to rethink his l

Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 9th 2007 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,501 ratings  ·  344 reviews

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In spite of some nice moments in the book, I have to admit that on the whole I was disappointed with the story. Maybe because I'd expected much more from it or maybe because I simply wasn't the target audience for this book.

I liked the style of writing, but I struggled to warm to the narrator:

* I understand that Paul was supposed to be a deeply religious person, with Jesus, God and Bible ruling his life, who rejected to accept his sexuality because it was not Bible conformed. It explains a lo
Jan 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I read this in one day and I didn't skip work!

I started this morning, where I read the note in the front: "To those who believe in a loving God and those who struggle to love themselves." That's all I got, but it had my attention.

The first line of the first chapter did that too: "Sex and religion don't mix," my grandma once told me.

Pablo (err..Paul), our narrator, has a great voice. Okay, he's struggling with something and it makes me want to smack him around sometimes, but he's REAL. He loves

This one was hard to read, because it hit so close to home for me. Actually, my Dad mailed it to me about four months after I'd moved in with my Grandparents - a full year after he'd come out to us. I was actually quite pissed that he'd sent me the book, because I wasn't mad at him for being gay. I was mad at him for pretending to be straight. I just didn't know how to tell him that. That was June of 2011.

So I picked up this book rather reluctantly after it had sat, not-quite-forgotten on m
A very thought provoking read. All schools should have a copy of this in their library.

ETA On a second reading I found this as emotional as the first.

I love how Manuel explains his thoughts against Pauls thoughts. Maybe because I have no deep religious beliefs this works so well for me.

I still think this kind of book should be part of schools standard reading.
Mar 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Gay Teens, Open Christians
I have enjoyed all of Alex Sanchez's (Rainbow Boys) books to date but this one somehow touched me more than all of the others. This book ranks right up with David Leviathan’s "Boy Meets Boy" in my opinion. Set in West Texas, the story is a familiar one; boy comes to new school and upsets the status quo. The twist is that the school is located in a conservative Christian community, and the new boy, Manuel is both gay and deeply religious. Most affected by Manuel's arrival is Paul, a popular boy w ...more
Jan 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book for a whole lot of reasons. First of all, the main characters are Mexican American, which adds a different perspective to the age old controversy over sexuality and religion. It allows the author to add in more general issues of identity. Straight Paul is a mask worn by Gay Pablo, and he realizes the importance of both by the end of the book. Secondly, it deals with religion in a very nuanced fashion. It of course confronts the religious homophobes for misusing the Bible to ...more
Angela Broderick
Oct 15, 2015 rated it liked it
At first, I thought that I would have a lot of fun reading this book, and I sort of did, but I did have some problems with it. I was drawn to it because I can relate to it on multiple levels. The main character is Latino, whereas I am a Latina. He is also raised in a very heavily Christian environment, as I was, although not as strictly as the main character. And finally, I struggled for years to admit to myself that I am bisexual, just as the main character struggles to accept his own homosexua ...more
Mar 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbt

I finished The God Box by Alex Sanchez last week.

This is not a book I would have ever selected for myself. While I read a lot of books with an LGBT element, I am not fond of books with a major religious theme. However, a friend of mine said this was one of his favorite books and since he has read some of my favorites and liked them a lot I decided to give it a shot.

I should be clear when describing my reactions that I am an atheist. I have no problem with religion itself as it applies to peopl

Ashley Casperite
Jun 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I planned on reading 20 or 30 pages of this before I went to bed last night (at 1am). I've read most of Sanchez's other books and found this in the library today and picked it up. I absolutely couldn't put it down once I started. I don't know what it was that kept me turning the pages. It's not like it's suspenseful, but I was so... drawn?... to Paul and Manuel and I just wanted to KNOW what happened. Every other page, I kept saying "I'll go to bed at the end of this chapter" but I never did. I ...more
Sarah Swann
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 05, 2019 rated it did not like it
I guess I am in the minority. Total DNF for me. The narrator keeps telling us everything he thought in so much detail, day by day, like a diary, in a life not particularly interesting. I was bored to tears
Jeff Erno
Aug 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Paul is a high school senior in a small Texas town, and he is devoutly religious. Everything in his life is right on track. He’s an outstanding student, he’s sustained a longstanding relationship with his girlfriend Angie, and he is very active in his high school and church. Both Paul and Angie are committed Christians, and they love their church, their school, and their country.

When a transfer student named Manuel arrives at their high school, he threatens to completely derail Paul’s “on-track
Katherine Marple
Sep 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
"The God Box" was about Paul (Pablo) and coming to terms with whether or not he's actually gay. The Christian belief (atleast in that small town) is that being gay is sinful, yet how can it be sinful if it's just a matter of falling in love?

"The God Box" is loaded with challenges- Can you test god? Can you test your faith? Can you test what's in your heart and learn to be honest with yourself- regardless of what others think?

Now, I titled this "coming from an outsider" because I'm just an avid
May 17, 2013 rated it liked it
This was more a tract than a story... it was a discussion of what is said about homosexuality in the Bible, and how people can form a belief system that both includes God and being gay. The characters and what plot existed (the only plot was basically the closeted & Christian main character coming to terms with who he is, and integrating being okay with being gay into his Christian belief system) were basically an excuse for the aforementioned examination of the intersection of homosexuality and ...more
Sassy Jacksun
This book will break your heart, mend it and break it again (in a good way). This book will challenge long-held misconceptions about religion (in good way), and deliver a sweet, coming-of-age, romance story that is truly beautiful. I absolutely loved this story, so much so, that I do not know how many times I have read it. (Also, I cry every time I read it. So have tissues ready if you choose to read this delightful tale.) More importantly, this story reminds us that love is never wrong because ...more
William Miles
Mar 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book! I wish it had been around when I was a teenager. I even wrote a quick note to the author thanking him for it!
Kris Dersch
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Pros first. I'm sincerely glad this book did and continues to exist. I ended up in the end really liking the characters and caring about their story and I appreciated the different character points of view from dad to grandma to the various classmates. And I feel like the book was well researched and sound in its knowledge of the faith and the Bible.'s not the best writing. It feels very get dumped into this story and it took me awhile to get to know these characters and ca
Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
So I was very wary to go back to read this book, as it held such a strong place in my heart from my childhood and I was so afraid that it wouldn’t hold up and boy was I so relieved to remember it was just as wonderful as when I first read it. Not only did this book help to pave the way for current queer YA books, but it is basically a self help guide and love story all rolled into one. Okay, is the book a bit cut-and-dry about the message it’s getting across at times? Sure, but for this book it ...more
Jul 31, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary, 2011, ya
Original post at One More Page

High school senior Paul has dated Angie since middle school, and they're good together. They have a lot of the same interests, like singing in their church choir and being active in Bible club. But when Manuel transfers to their school, Paul has to rethink his life. Manuel is the first openly gay teen anyone in their small town has ever met, and yet he says he's also a committed Christian. Talking to Manuel makes Paul reconsider thoughts he has kept hidden, and list
Oscar E
Jan 07, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars. I found it to be very well written and solidly discussed.
This is nearly a guide for Christians confused/scared about being Christian and gay. I know it has "God" in the title, but it was really, really Bible heavy. A step-by-step guide through all the oft-quoted and debated passages.

In other words, not meant for me at all and, and therefore, quite boring. The poor kid goes over and over the same questions in his head, taking forever to do what needs to be done. Realistic, but not interesting. My edition had two boys holding hands on the cover, and tho
Nicholas Armstrong
Mar 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
This doesn't ruin anything about the novel that isn't obvious within the first 5 minutes of reading this, but, being neither gay or religious, there wasn't a whole lot of appeal for me in this. I did like seeing how one might struggle with the conflict between religion and reality; that is, what a person is born as (sexual orientation), and what their decided religion tells them that should be. Too many of the arguments were too tired and cliche for me, though. The bible passages and 'debates' w ...more
Elisa Rolle
Homosexuality and christianity are two concepts that is no easy to put in the same sentence without them being at the opposite.

Paul is the perfect teenager: a beloved son, an attentive boyfriend, a good friend, he is perfect in anything he wants to achieve. But I felt something uneasy in Paul, a drive to be accepted that is almost unhealthy: Paul is a latino american, but when he moved to Texas with his parents, he was the odd kid out and the only to accept him was Angie, a kid his same age who
Brandy Shark
Jan 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: gay teenagers, gay christians, those who support gay rights
Shelves: ya, lgbtq
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gene Hult
Apr 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I've read and enjoyed most of his books now, Alex Sanchez isn't technically a great writer. His prose is sometimes awkward and sounds like it was translated. He's over-earnest, sometimes transparently manipulative with his pat characters, and incredibly preachy and didactic. In parts, his writing can read like a social worker's case files. So why do I love his books so much?

I will read anything Sanchez writes because his books have enormous heart. They brim with emotion, hope, and goodn
Menglong Youk
4.5 stars

Paul and Angie have been dating since they were in middle school; they wholeheartedly love each other, dating regularly, kissing, talking on phone and having fun just like normal couples. However, something is weird about Paul; he feels like Angie isn't sexually attracted to him at all. Anyway, Paul is Christian, reading and quoting lines in the Bible and joining a club discussing Christianity. He strongly believes that homosexuality is a sin. In the start of his school year, a new stud
Aug 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
I almost put this book down. I thought I had accidently grabbed some Christian literature…which I seldom read. Too preachy and I don’t need my shortcomings pointed out in a book, thank you very much. That’s why I have a mother.

There is more scripture quoted in this book than a church pamphlet on Sunday morning. Manual is a newcomer to an ultra-conservative school and openly admits he is gay. The majority of his classmates, as well as many teachers, are just as openly anti-gay. Both sides are usi
Phil Ansell
Sep 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic!! Alex Sanchez tells a touching story of Paul, a Christian teenager who is really struggling with his confusing and developing homosexual feelings. His world is opened and challenged when he meets out and proud teenager Manuel.

The story is brilliant and wonderfully written but what I absolutely loved was how Alex Sanchez addressed and challenged pretty much every Bible passage that appears to condemn homosexuality, and especially those that the Church and certain Christian groups use a
Jun 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
I was initially afraid that these characters would sound the same as the ones in the Rainbow Boys series, but luckily I was wrong. The story still had a unique voice, despite covering familiar ground: coming out, high school, and family issues. The major issue that this book tackles in a pretty great way is homosexuality and the bible. Tough topic, right? I know!
I wish I was much more familiar with the bible so I could form my own opinions on what the big book has to say on the issues the char
Aug 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to K by: Robb
Shelves: teens
Hispanic Jesus lover Paul had always prayed that God would take his gay feelings away so he could love his girlfriend Angie like a "normal" red-blooded Texas high school student. This all starts to change with the arrival of Manuel, a cute and openly gay boy from Dallas who also happens to be Christian and extremely good at explaining how the scripture's condemnations of homosexuality are not actually legitimate reasons for people to hate gay people. Manuel's winning personality and powers of pe ...more
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Alex Sanchez is the author of the Rainbow Boys trilogy of teen novels, along with The God Box, Getting It, and the Lambda Award-winning middle-grade novel So Hard to Say. His novel, Bait, won the Florida Book Award Gold Medal for YA fiction. Alex received his master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Old Dominion University and for many years worked as a youth and family counselor. His newes ...more

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