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Rainbow Boys

(Rainbow Trilogy #1)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  13,687 ratings  ·  711 reviews
Navigating through an intolerant world and their own insecurities, three teenage boys find each other and the confidence to come out of the closet.

Three teenage boys, coming of age and out of the closet. Jason Carrillo is a jock with a steady girlfriend, but he can't stop dreaming about sex...with other guys. Kyle Meeks doesn't look gay, but he is. And he hopes he never ha
Paperback, 233 pages
Published May 1st 2003 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published October 1st 2001)
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Sendusia Yes, that is Matt Bomer on the cover. The author confirms it here:

Yes, that is Matt Bomer on the cover. The author confirms it here:


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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,687 ratings  ·  711 reviews

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Kai Spellmeier
Apr 02, 2015 added it
Shelves: queer, owned
The only reason I've read this book is that Matt Bomer's face is on the cover. ...more
Larry H
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Alex Sanchez's Rainbow Boys takes me back to those angst-filled high school days...

Jason is a star athlete and has a promising future ahead of him. He’s not above making or laughing at the occasional gay joke or slur with his friends. But why is he having intense dreams about guys? He has a girlfriend and they have sex, so he can’t be gay.

Nelson is openly gay and he’s lucky to have such a supportive mother. It’s tough being out in school, though, facing taunts and bullying and even
Lily King
Dec 24, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 11-07-11-08
This read like an exceedingly bland public service announcement. At some point in time Rainbow Boys would have been groundbreaking in its positive portrayal of gay teenagers, but by 2003 the characters and scenarios are -- at least within queer pop culture -- common at best. A progressive illustration doesn't quite cut it as an excuse for banality. ...more
Rainbow Boys, a story about three gay teens, was published in 2001. In 2001, not a single state legally recognized gay marriage, and Don't Ask Don't Tell was still accounted as perfectly acceptable. Queer as Folk, my favorite television series about a group of gay friends in Pittsburgh, was just in the middle of its first season.

Allow me to remind everyone that every opinion, review, or comment contains bias: whether that bias be influenced by personal experience, inherent beliefs, or time. If I
Lauren Stoolfire
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jason, Kyle, and Nelson are all coming into themselves and coming out of the closest. All three high school students are incredibly different from one another, but all three find themselves struggling with their own identities, relationships, love, and intolerance.

Honestly, I have no idea why I haven't read this already because it's an absolute must read. When this book came out I would have just been going into high school, and I think this novel would be brilliant and do the most good in the
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: _audio, __fiction, lgbtq, ya
Fast easy book. Lots of issues for teens: coming out, homophobic bullying at school, alcoholic parent, first love, HIV, GSA Club. All of these were resolved almost too nicely. Good to have a positive story, though. Dated book (2001) with telephones, not everyone has a computer, magazine porn, excessive overt bullying at school (writing on lockers for months, fights at school) that would have zero tolerance (I hope/I think) today.

Kyle was my favorite character, as he finally came out during his
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Finished this book in a day! Yes, a day. It was an easy heart-warming read. Alex Sanchez really did an amazing job to entertain and to lecture at the same. This is one of my life changing books cause it really made me realize the facts I am facing today.

Well enough of my problems. Though there might me a lot of parts where it just kept changing from one scene to another it really is a must read for every one!

May 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing

I first heard about Rainbow Boys ages ago. Well now that I think about it—it was probably about 15 years ago. Eek! That’s why I don’t do math. :D So when I mentioned to a couple of friends of mine that I was finally reading this, I wasn’t too surprised to hear the same statement pop out of their mouths—“Oh, I love that book, but it is so dated”. But how can I explain that the dated-ness is one of the biggest reasons why I love this book?

Young adult fiction now contains piles and piles of LGBTQ f
Mar 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
This is a great book, a wonderful resource for teens who are gay, questioning or are simply interested in the perspectives of gay teens and how they can be supportive of their gay peers.

I was recently warned that I may be in danger of hell-fire for promoting books such as these because students may "turn gay" after reading this material. This is ridiculous. A student does not "turn gay" simply by reading a book. There are many factors that contribute to an individual's sexual orientation. There
I loved being introduced to these 3 boys. So different yet they each have a connection. Watching their story unfold left me wanting more.


Second time reading and still as good as the first. I love how we get a look at all three boys and their differences, while seeing them all at the same time.

Its hard to pick a favorite as they all have good and bad points. But I think despite how whinny he can be, Nelson is the one I feel most attuned too. Not the flamboyant sassy Nelson, but the insecur
Can I just say that how awesome it is to have Matt Bomer on the cover before he was famous? It goes to show you how people are oblivious to the past because if I knew beforehand that he was on the cover of this book, I would have known and suspected that he is gay.


Many years ago when I was in middle school, I was beginning to discover who I am and who I liked. I fought a
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I expected Rainbow Boys to be an authentic look at the lives of the three main characters who were all dealing with being gay in their own ways while trying to navigate the high school minefield.
The characters were likeable and individual, the narrative alternates perspectives between the three main characters: Jason the unsatisfied jock who has a girlfriend but lusts after men, Kyle the easygoing swim team star who is hopelessly in love with Jason & Nelson the out and proud opinionated bes
Gareth Jones-Jenkins
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
fantastic read I felt I knew the boys by the end so om going to read ok 2 now
Jamie Fessenden
May 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gay, ya, drama
Very entertaining and realistic account of what it's like to come out and experience your first romance. I have a minor complaint about the weird way in which the boys always omitted descriptions of sex. They would be talking naturally, and occasionally swearing, but whenever they tried to talk to each other about sexual experiences, they would say code words, such as "Well, we didn't S or F." or just say, "Did you...you know?" That was very tiresome and clearly a cop out, though it's hard to sa ...more
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Have read an Alex Sanchez book before, and enjoyed his style with this piece as well.
Cute story of three senior year boys coming of age and coming to terms with being gay in a largely bigoted high school. Told in turn by the perspective of each boy (properly highlighted at the start of each chapter and throughout at the bottom of each page)... Nelson Glassman, out and proud at home and school; Kyle Meeks, closeted to family and school at first but active in a Rainbow Youth Group; and Jason Carri
Matthew Stefan
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Other books take note... this is how you develop character growth. I gotta say I hated Jason at the beginning... his internalized homophobia and outright denial of what he was dealing with and his cruel attitude towards other gay characters got old really fast... but upon finishing this book, he is now my favorite character of the three. He grows so much throughout this short novel. I can't wait to continue this trilogy! ...more
Jul 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was such a lovely and fast read. Four stars. 7.5 or 8 out of 10.

Found in the LGBTQ section of Foyles at a good price and I new I'd liked it. Three gay character all dealing differently with their coming out. It was interesting and felt very real. Maybe a bit old fashioned but still very good.
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
The story is told through three boys eyes with alternating chapters of each of their perspectives. Kyle, a nice boy, whose a swimmer. He hangs out with Nelson a gay boy who's obviously gay. Also, Kyle is in love with Jason, a basketball player. Through the course of the book Kyle comes out to his parents. So does Jason and him become boyfriends? There relationship is kind of not official at the end of the book. They definitely like each other though. Kyle and Nelson have to deal with violence fr ...more
- ̗̀  jess  ̖́-
Oct 31, 2016 rated it liked it
This was one of those books that was on my to-read list years and years ago when I first discovered YA queer lit, but I never actually read it until I had to take a class on it. Go figure.

That being said, I think I would have liked this a lot more when I was younger. 2011-2012 was when the narrative of "miserable queer teenagers" was ending and being replaced by stories where queer teens just happened to be queer, and in the past couple years I've grown to like the latter narrative more. But I
Jan 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
I wasn't expecting to enjoy this novel. I was pleasantly surprised.

The copy looks like something from the 1980s, and I'm not sure why. No one is wearing anything dated and the copyright date is 2001. I think it just reminds me of some of the girly books I saw that were from the '80s. Or maybe it's the front right guy's hair. Anyways, the cover in combination with the descrip made me think it was going to be cliche.

I picked it up anyway, because it was one of the few queer lit books at my local l
helena ✧
Jan 12, 2022 marked it as read-in-the-past
Shelves: multi-pov
For a long time, this was the only YA LGBT+ book that my public library owned. I have read and re-read this book so many times as a teenager.

It's told through the perspective of each other boys.

There's Jason, the athletic jock with a steady girlfriend. He loves her dearly, but lately he's been dreaming about being very intimate with other guys. His home life isn't very good so being gay isn't even an option for him.

Then we have Kyle, who has known that he's gay for a while now but he's not ready
Ralitsa  Koleva
Feb 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: qaf
To be honest I paid attention to this book, only because one of my favorite actors was on the cover. Than I got curious seeing a reviews in the web from so many and different people. For book worm like me, all this positive words and reviews made me to want read this one. And I don't feel sorry.

I don't know what's going on in the gay world... But that book made me feel like those people which have to fight so many hard moments in their days with other people which just can't accept them. I'm not
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
-This is a book I have wanted to read for a LONG time. It was always the only gay book at my local bookstore and my parents wouldn't let me buy it. So FINALLY reading this was really exciting.
-I know this book is dated but it doesn't even take place THAT long ago. The reality of high school being like this isn't that far back and I think it's really important we don't take for granted how good life now can be sometimes. We can't just write off anything that is dated because it doesn't reflect ho
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: rpabookclub
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 05, 2007 rated it liked it
The book is told through 3 boys eyes with alternating chapters of each of their perspectives. Kyle, a nice boy, whose a swimmer. He hangs out with Nelson a gay boy who's obviously gay. Also, Kyle is in love with Jason, a basketball player. Through the course of the book Kyle comes out to his parents. So does Jason and they become boyfriends? There relationship is kind of not official at the end of the book. They definitely like each other though. Kyle and Nelson have to deal with violence from a ...more
Jan 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book was really good, I couldn't put it down for one minute! It was inspirational, and it really made me realize how being yourself is the important thing and not trying to be someone else. ...more
Suraya (thesuraya)
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
cute but some annoying characters and mundane plot and writing style
Just living for Nelson—
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I advise you to not to have high expectations with this one, It's what you expect from a book titled like this. I loved the characters, felt bad for Nelly, and his embarrassing attempts that made me screech a little hoping he'd stop being manipulative & desperate.

For me, the character development is barely there, nothing new with Nelson or the basic second character that was very very forgettable for me.

Jason is the only one that developed perfectly, from an abused homophobe struggling with his
Jessica {Litnoob}
Jan 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I think I missed the optimal age to appreciate this book fully which is sad. It wasn’t a bad story and many parts really tug at the heart strings. But being 30 and not 15 a lot of the altercations took such an extreme turn so quickly that without the benefit of raging hormones I couldn’t relate in the slightest. Again unfortunate because the subject matter itself I can relate to entirely. If you are at that age, going through high school this book 500% was written for you and I highly recommend ...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

Other books in the series

Rainbow Trilogy (3 books)
  • Rainbow High (Rainbow Trilogy, #2)
  • Rainbow Road (Rainbow Trilogy, #3)

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