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A Secret Edge

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I love the long distance run, when you feel like you're about to die...and then you reach this place where you feel like there are no boundaries for you anywhere...

In many ways, Jason Peele is like any other teenager. He hits the books, hangs with his friends, flirts with girls, and omits the full truth of his life from his Aunt Audrey and Uncle Steve, who have raised him since his parents died. But there's one way that Jason Peele is very different: when he dreams at night, it isn't about girls; it's about David Bowie. At sixteen-years-old, Jason is just beginning to understand that he might be gay.

The one place Jason feels comfortable is on the track where he can run fast and hard. He loves the feel of the wind at his back, of his legs propelling him furiously around, the roar of the crowd in his ears. But now, even his sanctuary feels threatening. It isn't just the jerks who call him "faggot" in the locker room. A new guy has joined the team, and everything about him will challenge the way Jason sees life. From late-night showings of "La Cage Aux Folles" to reading Gandhi, he's running a new race on an uncertain course, and only one thing's for sure--his senior year is going to be unforgettable...

With "A Secret Edge, "Robin Reardon delivers a sexy, sensitive coming-of-age novel about identity and courage, love and honor, anger and hope, and the many ways the truth can really set you free.

265 pages, Paperback

First published June 1, 2007

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About the author

Robin Reardon

21 books179 followers
I'm an inveterate observer of human nature, and my primary writing goal is to create stories about all kinds of people, some of whom happen to be gay or transgender—people whose destinies are not determined solely by their sexual orientation or identity. My secondary writing goal is to introduce readers to concepts or information they might not know very much about. On my website, robinreardon.com, see individual book pages for “Digging Deeper” sections that link to background information and research done for the novel.

My motto is this: The only thing wrong with being gay is how some people treat you when they find out.

Interests outside of writing include singing, nature photography, and the study of comparative religions. I write in a butter yellow study with a view of the Boston, Massachusetts skyline.

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5 stars
542 (35%)
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534 (34%)
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346 (22%)
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87 (5%)
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37 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 67 reviews
Profile Image for Tony.
4 reviews1 follower
December 18, 2008
I read this book just today in its entirety, front to back. I had been gifted an autographed copy from my friend Beckie Weinheimer a while back but because of the demands of my college course load I never got around to reading it sooner. If only I had known what a treasure I had tucked away on my bookshelf before today!

I must had teared up four or five times throughout the text. I laughed out loud on occasion too. I was surprised at how sexy it was and that a female author captured a teen gay male's emotions and blossoming sexuality so accurately. I was raptured back to my youth through Robin's words and characters.

All I can say now is that I want a sequel and to have Norm experience the fullness of joy that Jason found in this book.
Profile Image for Jeff Erno.
Author 68 books630 followers
October 13, 2009
The story A Secret Edge by Robin Reardon is a dramatic depiction of a sixteen-year-old boy's struggle to make sense of his identity as a gay teen. Jason Peele is the star athlete of his school's track team. He's also a brilliant student who excels academically. Having been raised by his aunt and uncle after his parents were killed when he was very young, Jason is also an orphan.

Initially Jason is troubled by dreams that he's having about other boys. He tries to redirect his attractions to girls, but his attempts are unsuccesful. Eventually he connects with another student, also a member of his track team, and the two develop a very intimate friendship. This relationship blossoms into something more, and Jason eventually has to make a decision as to whether or not he can be honest about who he is.

A Secret Edge deals with the issues of Jason's coming out, first to his family and then to a circle of significant friends within his life. The romantic element of the story is secondary to the primary focus of Jason's effort to make sense of who he is and to thus acquire a degree of self-acceptance. Jason feels isolated and defenseless, and he secretly possesses an object which provides him a sense of security in the face of a judgmental and often violent group of peers who are jealous of him. The object is his switchblade.

When Jason's love interest Raj discovers the knife, an argument ensues. Raj is vehemently opposed to violence of any kind, and he insists that Jason has betrayed him by merely having the weapon in his possession. Their quarrel escalates, and eventually Jason faces the reality that he has been rejected by the one single person he has ever truly loved.

I genuinely enjoyed the book, and the single aspect which I found most meaningful was the manner in which Jason's coming-out to his family was presented. Often in stories such as this the families are depicted as being either 100% supportive or utterly devestated. In reality, the revelation generally evokes reactions somewhere in-between these extremes. I found it quite realistic the way that Jason's uncle initially felt as if he'd failed in his role as Jason's paternal influence.

The story was written in the first-person singular narrative with a precise focus upon the central character's emotions. It was written in the present tense which at times distracted me, for as a reader I'm used to seeing autobiographical narratives such as this in past tense. It was, however, well-edited, containing no obvious grammatical errors or plot inconsistencies. The dialogue was at times a bit formal, especially in reference to how teenagers would communicate amongst themselves.

Overall I genuinely enjoyed the story, and I felt it delivered a number of powerful, positive messages. The author skillfully developed the character of the protagonist in a manner which led this reader to identify with him and to ultimately care about his struggles. I look forward to reading further work by this author, and I recommend the book highly.

Profile Image for Robert.
Author 7 books5 followers
August 10, 2011
I devoured this book. I actually had to tell myself to slow down while reading it in order to prolong it. I believe this book is intended for a younger audience, which is why I was somewhat disappointed. There is a tremendous lack of detail regarding all things, settings, feeling (tons of repeated details, I don't know how many times I read that a character was 'flying') and with the most important aspect of all, Jason and Raj's relationship. I felt that the book was very safe with the intimate details of their relationship and was inhibited by its lack of passion. Some parts of the book are corny (not in the makes-you-smile kind of way) but had me rolling my eyes or slapping my head in frustration. The adversity and complications gay people face was not expressed as eloquently as it could have been, but managed to produce a few satisfactory sentences that offered a glimmer of that pain. I guess my expectations were too high for this book, but I think any teenager looking for fire hot passion and solace from a too harsh world would also find this book lackluster and disappointing.
Profile Image for Coenraad.
804 reviews41 followers
January 7, 2022
If a reader reads Robin Reardon's first novel, A secret edge, after her two most recent ones, that reader may be excused thinking that it is much simpler, as it "only" deals with the main character's process of identifying his sexual orientation and learning to live with it. That reader would be rather wrong.

Already in this novel one finds the Reardon magic, offering likeable characters with intricate lives and complex issues. The main character, Jason, is an orphan who was then adopted by his aunt and uncle. He is a star athlete who worries how accepting his team mates would be. His social relationship with girls is problematic.

At one point he becomes better acquainted with his team mate Nathan, who lives a significantly more affluent lifestyle than Jason, and is also deeply closeted, worried his parents will chase him away if he comes out. His moral choices, especially regarding substances, are made in the light of social acceptability, worrying Jason.

Jason's love interest is Ray, a fellow athlete who came to America recently from India with his family - the major reason is revealed eventually. He teaches Jason about Gandhi and non-violence, the accepting approach of the Vedic tradition - and what Jason really and truly wants from life.

So, simplistic and uncomplicated this novel and its characters are not - it is the Reardon magic that ensures the seamless weave of all these - and more! - issues. An excellent first novel (which I read many years ago, but forgot about to ensure a fresh rereading). As with her recent novels, this one has "Read me again!" written all over it.

Robin Reardon se debuutroman lyk dalk eenvoudiger as haar onlangse publikasies, maar dis 'n bedrieglike perspektief, gegewe die komplekse aspekte van die karakters se lewens. 'n Vaardige debuut, 'n inleiding tot 'n boeiende en hoogs herleesbare oeuvre.
Profile Image for Dorian Santiago.
25 reviews3 followers
May 28, 2011
This read was solid and enjoyable, for sure. I had two major problems, though: some occurrences were just too sudden and too quick. One who's observant could find a few inconsistencies with very small details, too (for example, Jason mentioned in the book that he wasn't allowed his own cell phone, but when he was out with a friend, his aunt asked him why he didn't call). The other problem, which was definitely what kept this rating from four stars was the dialogue between characters. Narratively, Jason Peele is someone I can relate to, but when he speaks to someone, his words are just unrealistic, contrived, and to be frank, corny. I think that was Reardon's weakest point in the book. But other than that, this was definitely a great coming-of-age story. Had I read this in tenth grade as opposed to sophomore year of college, I would have been more in love, and possibly have rated it higher. Like I said, though, very, very solid.
Profile Image for Marcus Parks.
68 reviews2 followers
June 29, 2022
DNF pile. I learned from a recent Tiktoker this rule she follows where if she wants to see if a book is good, she goes to page 99 and reads. Her theory, if the book was going to get to the point and say what it's about, it would've by 99 and the prose should be engrossing. I followed a similar rule before this I learned from my English teacher. She reads to 100 and checks if she's still interested. If not, she puts it away.

This is a book I wanted to read for a long, long, LONG time. This was back when I was in high school, maybe younger, and there weren't near the volume of books for queer teens as their are now. This was one of The Forbidden Books. This was back before Kindles too (Yeah, yeah, Fred Flintstone, ha ha), so we couldn't just have books and people not know what we were reading and I would've had to have even had access to the book, which I didn't. Our gay/lesbian section of the local bookstore was, I shit you not, porn.

Anyway, I wanted to give this the benefit of the doubt since I'd read a bit into chapter 1 and the writing was peak cringe. I tried an implimentation of that rule mentioned above (for Kindles we decided that equates to about 30% in. What did I find? Not just cringe. Laughable cringe. Now when I say cringe, I'm thinking back to that Will and Grace episode where they find the play Will wrote in college called "If Gay Means Happy, Why Am I So Sad?" that level of cringe.

To further elaborate, it's kind of like if you gave the drama student who wanted to overachieve by overacting Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart, and you get something like this:

Hi, that's me, I'm the guy standing six feet tall with blonde hair and blue eyes and a handsome jawline. I'm on the track team and I love it because it lets me run away from all my problems. But there's one thing I can't outrun, the fear that I might be GAY!

That kind of cringe. So, thanks for the laugh, but I'll pass.
Profile Image for Pablito.
550 reviews14 followers
March 3, 2019
So WHY was this on my Want-to-Read list for so damn long?

"Never you mind," as Cloris Leachman says to her much younger lover Timothy Bottoms at the end of The Last Picture Show. And through my tears, that's how I feel after all that sweet, confused, proud, brave, and ultimately confident Jason has been through in A Secret Edge.

"Never you mind," because there's no wrong time to encounter Jason and the other characters in this moving novel. It's just that everybody should.

If you've ever wondered why groups such as GLAAD or GLISTEN or the Trevor Project or the Gay/Straight Alliances need to exist, you will not wonder after reading this raw yet sweet depiction of how we survive and come to thrive, despite all that heterosexual (and a few homosexual) haters hurl at us in high school.

EXTRA STAR for the wholesome discussion about Mahatma Gandhi and nonviolence!
Profile Image for Robin.
Author 21 books179 followers
June 21, 2008
On the surface, this looks like a coming-out book for a gay 16-year-old track star, a runner, who falls for a high-jumper on his team. But the high-jumper is from India and is obsessed with Ghandi, while the runner carries a switchblade. The story explores the concepts of honesty, violence vs. non-voilence, and includes a smattering of Hindu philosophy. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Profile Image for Abigail Singer.
165 reviews46 followers
February 2, 2013
I really wanted to like this more than I did. I think it deserves a 3.5 but since I liked it more than I didn't like it, I'm settling on 4.

The story was great. In a lot of ways it was the standard coming out story. And Jason's voice was great. There's not much else to say on this that other people haven't so I'm going to skip a lot of the basic stuff.

One of my two favourite scenes was the double date to Return of the King where Jason became attracted to Elijah Wood and then pictured him later on in the car. I attribute liking this scene to my own mild obsession with Elijah Wood.

My other favourite scene was the talk with the Coach in the office. Of all the conversations Jason has with adults, coming out, figuring out what to do, etc, this was the one that seemed the most "real" to me, the most natural. (more on that in a minute) Overall it was really well done and spot on.

The largest complaint I had about this book was the storytelling of it. The writing itself was good, getting into the scenes and once the plot got going, fine. But the setup and delivering of information was jarring and seemed "unnatural" or "unrealistic."

For example, in the beginning, Robert is in Jason's room and they're doing homework. Jason randomly starts thinking about a set of pencils his aunt got him when he was a kid and by the end of the aside, he comments internally, "if I'm like the son she [Aunt Audrey] and Uncle Steve couldn't have, then she's like the mother I can't actually remember." You mean to tell me, he's 16 and only just NOW figuring this out? That wasn't something that was necessary to put in, it was actually quite easy to infer by his relationship with his Aunt and Uncle. Also, the placement of the scene was also jarring and didn't have much to do with the actual current action besides Robert writing with a pen and then afterwards throwing it like the girl in the memory threw the green pencil. Things like this happen a few more times, but once the story really starts going, it gets better and the plot takes over.

Another problem I had with "A Secret Edge," is how contrived everything seemed to be to get everyone together. There's a random aside where Robert's mentioned in class that while it fits, he isn't introduced well. I'm okay with them becoming friends over Robert saving him from a fight. But it seems if they become too close too fast. Also, the only other friend mentioned that Jason has is this kid who now wants to beat him up? Doesn't he have any other friends? Some are mentioned in the second half of the book but for the most part Jason just seems to hang out with these people he just met or just started to get to know.

And that really is the main problem with the book in my opinion, is that it all seems a bit too neat, too contrived. It doesn't feel organic. Parents and adult figures seem to react in stock ways, especially about giving Jason advice and wanting to help him. It's why I like the Coach's conversation so much. It's the one that feels the most real. Aunt Audrey's is fine as she's set up to be a nurturing mother figure.

And as for forcing details, this one also stuck with me. Again, it might be because I'm an LOTR nut, but hear me out on this. It's established that Jason hasn't seen the LOTR movies but he has read the books. He then fixates on Elijah Wood. These few pages, and the fact he brings up that date and seeing RotK a few times mean that LOTR is already in his head a bit, even if he's not a big fan. It's introduced and has a presence. For those of you unaware, the term "faggot" in the definition of "a bundle of sticks" is all over the trilogy. You mean to tell me that the classical music cds that come up in one scene he remembers seeing "faggot" on the back of the cases? And then later on the definition of "bundle of sticks" ends up meaning more. Seems to me that the classical music cd thing was a forced detail and perhaps unneeded when Reardon could have run with the LOTR theme as it was an item already introduced in an organic way and it was the definition that kept coming up throughout the book. In my opinion, that was a missed opportunity. As was the fact they ended up in a counseling center. I half expected Jason to double back another day and get some pamphlets on being gay or something.

Also, Raj is an ass. But, I know what it's like to have feelings for an ass who treats you like crap and you forgive them anyway. Although, I think Jason did forgive him a bit too quickly.

To wrap things up, I really like the story, the plot, the voice, the character, the emotions, etc. But I think the actual writing craft / storytelling could have been done better and those issues just stuck out too much for me. Once actual scenes happened and the plot got going, things smoothed out and were more polished and I noticed things less.

Sorry if this isn't an "average" book review. But I read other reviews and I can't say much about Jason, his experience and his relationship with Raj that others hadn't already said that I agree with. So I went this route instead.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
31 reviews1 follower
May 31, 2023
definitely a bit out of touch even for being written 15 years ago but kind of cute. a bit ignorant and insensitive at times but the intentions were good
Profile Image for Eric Klee.
209 reviews1 follower
April 9, 2019
A SECRET EDGE is the first book I've read by Robin Reardon. Coincidentally, it was also her first published novel. Yes, her. The author is a woman who writes about gay teens, particularly boys/young men. And she steps into the mindset of a teenage boy very well. This novel should be classified as a Young Adult (YA) novel, but sadly isn't due to its "subject matter." It's the sort of novel I would have liked to have read when I was a young adult/teenager questioning my sexuality. It offers positive reinforcement and lets questioning youth know that they're not alone and that there is nothing wrong with them.

The novel is about Jason Peele, a high school track athlete who doesn't fit the typical gay stereotype. He experiences feelings, emotions, and urges like his straight male colleagues. He has hopes and dreams like his straight male colleagues. He acts like his straight male colleagues. He dresses like his straight male colleagues. He just happens to like guys instead of girls. And he's learning to like and accept this part of himself. Fortunately, he has a strong support system in his adoptive parents and friends. The novel takes us through Jason's senior year, as he meets other gay boys and begins to develop feelings for them he didn't know he could experience. My favorite line: "Do gays glow in the dark so we can find each other when it matters?"

When I first started reading the novel, it seemed juvenile. I was annoyed by Jason as a protagonist. He seemed like nothing more than an annoying teenager, and I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to continue with the book. As I read further and watched him grow as a person, I grew to like him more and forgave the opening chapters. I related to the anxiousness he felt, as well as the angst of his teenage crushes and emotions. The thing that breaks up Jason and his first boyfriend, though, seemed a bit silly to me. I understand why it's integral to the story, but it just seemed like a stretch. I wished another tool was used. The ending was a little anticlimactic, too, but at least it tied up loose ends. Still, overall, I think this is the type of YA novel that young men questioning their sexuality should be exposed to and have access to like any other YA novel.
Profile Image for Beckie.
Author 2 books42 followers
May 3, 2008
This is such a great coming of age story about a boy who is uncertain about his sexuality as the story begins and slowly he comes to face the fact that he is gay and share it with the people in his life and take the consequences, sometimes good sometimes judgmental. And there's a sweet romance, and references to Ghandi and thought provoking insights that blew my mind away and made me want to dance and sing and love everyone.
Profile Image for Sean Kennedy.
Author 59 books970 followers
July 29, 2012

I enjoyed this book but felt the motivations of some of the characters were underdeveloped. The most perplexing is the love interest, Raj. I know this book was written in first person so Raj's motives were as unclear as they were to the narrator, but by the book's end I was still baffled and didn't feel that the 'happy ending' was earned. Still, there is a lot to like about it.
Profile Image for JD Waggy.
969 reviews58 followers
February 20, 2023
I'm not usually much for coming-of-age novels because the whole process is just inevitably angsty and painful (true to life, sure), but Reardon actually did a solid job with this one. It helps that I've not stumbled across many queer, fictional coming-of-age novels, so that was quite a gift. And there's some racial recognition; Jason's boyfriend is Indian and Jason himself is white. Diversity on several levels, and not just so Reardon can gesture at "Diversity Bingo."

Basic premise: Jason, a runner, is beginning to realize he's gay (in late 90s, I'd say, judging by the tech referenced) and that is Oh No Bad. Heard, Jason. He meets Raj, a vaulter, who is slightly older and Way Cooler OMG. Raj seems to have his shit figured out--and one of the real strengths of this book is that we discover he doesn't, really, because none of us do. He has *more* of it figured out than Jason, but that's just because he's further down the path and not because he's inherently more aware or something.

Some knocks: there are several gendered references ("you want me to be the girl") that I can understand given that this is first person (not my fav) of a teenage boy, but they grate nonetheless. And Raj's references do feel very hey-a-white-person-wrote-this sometimes. Also, be aware that there are a ton of queer slurs here, so if that's unpleasant for you, leave this. It was overwhelming to me, sometimes, and while I get it narratively it was really a lot.

Some delights: Jason learns to stand his own ground. Sometimes, coming-of-age novels result in finding a best friend or significant other with whom the character becomes him/her/themself instead of doing that work on their own, but Jason gets there. He even pushes back against Raj about what he needs, and I am always 100% here for romance relationships in which both characters get to be equals.

I have one page marked because I think it's so important, 108, and I'm just going to leave part of it here:
"He said my life would be awful."
Raj chuckles and says, "It would be, for him. You know, it might help to remember that most heteros don't rub two thoughts together about what it's really like to be gay. They just get this feeling--some of them call it instinctive--that gay is wrong. That gay is bad. If they would add the phrase 'for me,' they'd be right. Trouble is, it usually doesn't occur to them to think of it like that. But, Jason, being straight is wrong, for you. Because you're gay."

HOLY CHRISTMAS IF SOMEONE HAD PUT IT LIKE THAT WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL. I think I'm going to hang on to this, maybe not to re-read but certainly to reference for all the moments I have people going through their own coming-of-age-coming-out stories.
17 reviews
May 6, 2023
Cute read. I thought the authors style was a bit… interesting. She uses a specific syntax that’s a little choppy, but at least it’s consistent. I really liked her portrayal of the main character and his struggle w defining himself, he’s stubborn in a very good way, and mature. Aside from the main character, using the side characters she offers more perspective on the experience of those who have someone come out. I liked this, I think it’s often overlooked (sadly, because it explains a lot of why queers feel the way they do, and could help non-accepting people be less so).

I did have one gripe with the author and it’s her superficial depiction of the protagonist’s Indian boyfriend; though I can’t tell if it’s intentionally like this. Just a short description: his nickname is “Raj”, the dad owns a software engineering firm, and his idol is Gandhi, additionally his room is described as being more like a temple than a room… Yeaaahhhhh. Could’ve made a more nuanced character than that, at least imho. A major theme of the story does pivot on Ghandis philosophy (I guess) but generally speaking I’d say it was just a bit lazy.

All in all, it’s a nice book and pleasant to get through. Wish it was available to me when I was younger.
Profile Image for Lou.
33 reviews1 follower
March 24, 2018
Disappointing. I’ve been reading (and enjoying) a lot of YA gay fiction lately but this book just didn’t do anything for me. “A Secret Edge” left me with more *eye rolls* and “Huh???” moments than anything else. The plot was tired and predictable, the “life lessons” weak and contrived and the dialogue was corny and completely “un-teen-like.” I can’t imagine, with so many other amazing works out now in this genre, that this book would resonate strongly with many gay teens. It definitely didn’t resonate with me reading from my “inner gay teen” perspective.

I guess it felt to me like a 1950’s interpretation of what an affirming, gay YA book might be. But “golly-gee,” (thankfully) the bar has been raised substantially from older standards of “quality affirmation.”
Profile Image for Michael.
1,067 reviews5 followers
March 12, 2017
Reading Challenge 2017: book written by someone you admire. I cannot read a Robin Reardon novel without having learned something. I learned about the teachings of Gandhi. I learned that sometimes friends can be better than lovers. I learned that nonviolence should be the first choice as opposed to violence. Jason Peele was not only a runner on the track team, but he was running from things he should have approached from a nonviolent viewpoint. Even though the knife made him feel secure, it was not the weapon he used to stand up to his bullies. Trust is very important, especially when trusting people with a personal secret. His secret was discovering who he is and wants to be. And he needed help from his friend Robert who showed him what others thought of him.
Profile Image for Franklin.
429 reviews8 followers
September 22, 2017

I have two main pet peeves while reading: non-stop references to pop culture, and book/movie spoilers. Like WHY did you spoil that movie/book for me. UGHH.

Anyways, I can now understand FINALLY why people hate instalove and love triangle. It usually doesn't bother me but this book kinda has both. You can already see the ending on freaking page 8 and the relationship was just too underdeveloped for them to start saying i love yous lol.
Profile Image for Zaquery Booth.
73 reviews
March 21, 2020
This was a good book. Jason is a good guy and he really does help people. He also sees the good in people, even if it might take a little digging. Raj is a cool guy. I mean that in the cold way. Very close to the chest and on the subtle end of things, generally. I like that Jason and Raj eventually made up. Not the biggest fan of the switchblade, but I know that’s just my personal opinion and I know that if I needed to I could protect myself and those I loved.
Profile Image for Darcy Lewis.
6 reviews
July 21, 2017
Towards the end of reading the book I noticed that it said "About teens for teens". Now I am no stranger to teen literature, however in the instance of this book, throughout the whole thing I kept thinking that I would have enjoyed reading it in high school. As an adult it was just fair.
Profile Image for Shawn Willemse.
13 reviews1 follower
September 18, 2017
it was a good book. easy to read and to follow. wasn't very happy about the ending as I thought it would be a forever relationship. but after talking about the book with my partner I actually saw that there was many other lessons/important facts.
Profile Image for Elisa Rolle.
Author 53 books232 followers
May 7, 2009
A Secret Edge is a classical Coming of Age novel with teen characters. But it's slightly different from the usual young adult novels since for the first time the characters are pretty open in their sexual experience, and the author doesn't used the rule of don't tell what happened behind the closed doors. So as always when this happens, I have the feeling that this is more a romance for adult with young characters rather then a young adult novel for teens.

Jason is 16 years old and the classical good boy next door. Good at school and good in sports, he is also cute and lucky with girls. He is also the type of boy who gathers around him other boys who want to be his friends to shine in his aurea. But Jason is really a good guy and he is friendly with everyone. Lately however he is troubled since he makes strange dreams by night: a wet dream for a teenager is not a strange thing, but if in the dream there is another boy instead of a girl... So Jason is beginning to questioning his sexual preferences and maybe that friend he had when he was younger, the boy who shared their first sexual discoveries, was not only a friend.

When Jason starts to open his eyes to his new urges, he also opens the eyes to all the other guys around him, and finds out that he is not alone. And when he lays his eyes on Raj, he is smitten. Ray is an years older, with indian origins, and he is "hot": Jason can't stop to think at the exotic beauty of his new friend, and when Raj comes out to him as openly gay, Jason has to face an hard decision: being out himself and so have Raj, or stay in the closet... the choice is not hard when he realizes that he has a supportive family and that also at school he can find a support. True, there are other guys who are not so friendly as before, but the pros are more than the cons.

A Secret Edge is a very good novel since it faces a difficult matter without being too pedantic. When you are speaking of boy of 16 or 17 years old, you can't pretend that they act like adult. True, Raj is a old young, but he has seen a lot in his younger age. But Jason instead had a pretty comfort life, he is the beau of the school, he has big chances in front of him for the future. So he behaves like a simple guy, who likes to date and who likes to kiss and who is open to more. He can discern what it is right and what it is wrong, but he is not the perfect son who always follows the right path, he is, after all, a teenager.

Jason and Raj will not go out from this experience unarmed, but all in all I think they had a simpler life than a lot of other guys in the same situation. Jason and Raj are among the lucky ones, those who can think of a future, and a positive one.

Profile Image for Anthony.
Author 10 books52 followers
October 1, 2015
I’ve been meaning to read something by Robin Reardon for several years now, and it made sense to start with what I think was her first book. It’s probably enough of a compliment to say A Secret Edge made me want to read more of Reardon’s work.

So what impressed me? The story set-up is straightforward enough: 16 year old small town high school athlete starts to realize he’s gay, struggles to tell his family while pretending to everyone at school he’s straight, meets another gay athlete who is not deeply closeted, sparks fly, life lessons are learned. But Reardon tweaks the formula just subtly enough to give the book more depth.

One tweak is that the new guy in school / love interest’s name is Raj, a recent immigrant from India. It really was a pleasure to see an open, honest interracial gay relationship portrayed in YA gay fiction; when this book came out in 2007 the gay YA market was just starting to grow and most books seemed to find it difficult to tackle more than one hot-button topic at a time – so if it was a coming out story (as this is), it couldn’t also be an AIDS story or a homelessness story or an interracial love story. Reardon throws that standard out the window.

Another tweak, also daring for the time the book was published but more common now, was for Jason to have parental figures (his actual parents having died before the events of the book) whose reactions to the news that Jason is gay are 100% realistic: his aunt has always suspected (as so many mothers do) and his uncle is concerned at how the world will treat Jason (as so many fathers are). This is a nice change from the typical 100% supportive / 100% hateful parental figures in so much gay YA.

I found the main characters (Jason, Raj, Jason’s aunt and uncle, his new best friend) to be very well-drawn. The primary antagonists (Jason’s former best friend turned bully and the teen who instigated that change) felt a bit less fully-developed, probably due to the constraints of the story – they do their job within the story framework, but the story isn’t really about them. The female characters who are not Jason’s aunt fare somewhat better, but again as supporting characters there’s only so much time that can be allotted to developing them.

Minor quibbles aside, the book is an excellent read that acknowledges the real world challenges of coming out in high school when you don’t live in a major liberal city.
Profile Image for Sol Troche.
81 reviews1 follower
September 24, 2019
3 estrellas.
Es un buen libro, sólido, pero aún así hay algunos problemas; por ejemplo hay muchas descripciones y pasajes vagos, personajes que no aportan nada a la trama y aun así están ahí además de subplots que no eran para nada necesarios y que si los quitamos la verdad no cambian nada. Siento que mucho de lo que pasaba te lo decían más que mostrarte, además de una ocurrencia que en verdad no había necesidad de que hubiera pasado y quedó de muy mal gusto.
La trama se vuelve muy complicada para tan pocas páginas, hay muchos cabos sueltos, resoluciones espontáneas, cosas que uno quiere saber más pero obviamente no hay más explicación porque antes de darte cuenta el libro terminó.
Incluso cuando me gustó mucho como iba la relación de Jason y Raj en los primeros capítulos, la otra mitad del libro se la pasan teniendo malentendidos que ninguno de los trata de resolver como gente madura. Entiendo que sean adolescentes pero, por favor, un poquito menos de melodrama.
Aun así me gustó: el personaje de Raj me pareció super complejo y entretenido, ojalá el autor pudiera explorar el trasfondo de él un poco más, aislado de su relación con Jason. Jason me pareció un buen protagonista, me gustó que haya defendido sus creencias más allá de lo que Raj o a cualquier otra persona dijera. Me gustó la dinámica entre la tía Aundrey y Jason, y aunque al principio no me importaba tanto, Robert se me hizo muy tierno.
Es un buen libro si uno quiere una lectura medio ligera y rápida, y por eso me gustó bastante, aunque, obviamente, hubieron algunas cosas que me chocaron.
Profile Image for Josh(ua).
7 reviews1 follower
March 31, 2009
this book was a very quick and enjoyable read. i picked it up during my half price books days after judging it on its cover and finding out that it's about a gay teen. the characters are likeable and a bit stereotypical (but in a good way). the main guy is the recently realized that he's gay, he gets with the slightly older but more experienced homo, he has an encounter with the super closet case, deals with the homophobic classmates, and has the too-cool-for-school aunt who totally accepts him and has no character flaws and the uncle who doesn't know how to deal with his nephew's being gay. but yeah, put all these cliches together and you get a fun easy read. i didn't like, however, how the protagonist fell in love with his love interest so soon, as in after only a couple dates/days. then again, i didn't act on or acknowledge my gayness til i was halfway through college, so i never got to go through the super young and naive gay puppy love or whatever you want to call it. anyway, if you're a fan of gay teen fiction (and who isn't!?), give this book a shot. if anything, it's such an easy read, if you don't like it, you won't feel like you wasted too much of your life. :-)
Profile Image for Andrew.
223 reviews30 followers
January 4, 2009
Overall, I very much enjoyed this book and couldn't wait to read on.
However, it's probably more aimed at older teenagers or those who are starting to come out (or their supportive friends), as to someone like me who's been out for a few years, parts of it seemed a bit old hat.

A few things that niggled:

It was obvious that the author was trying to get factual information across to the reader, and in some places that really jarred. In the middle of a page of conversation, out of nowhere, you'd get half a page that could have come straight from a text book. (eg the explanation of the original meaning of "faggots").

Also, the repeated occasions where Jason practises with his knife, attacking leaves. By the end, it was as if we had to be reminded that he still had the knife and was prepared to use it - Ok, we've got the message. Stop repeating that scene !

With those reservations, I would still recommend this book, to the right person.
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