Robin Cicchetti's Reviews > What They Always Tell Us

What They Always Tell Us by Martin  Wilson
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's review
Apr 25, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: bullying, cliques, coming-of-age, death, education, fiction, friendship, relationship, romance, school-fiction, sexuality
Read in April, 2009

Set in current day Tuscaloosa, Alabama, this is a strong coming-of-age YA story. The novel opens with Alex, a high school junior, recovering at home from an attempted suicide. At a boisterous party he goes into a bathroom and drinks a liquid cleanser. Why? Now ostracized by his former friends because they think he was "weird" for pulling such a stunt, the reader sees how deep Alex's estrangement goes. Just at the point I was wondering where we were going with all this, as a reader I was given a glimpse at the truth, before Alex himself knows. The book really takes off as characters reveal new depth, start exploring preconceptions, and grappling with sexual orientation and deciding what really matters.
Homosexuality in a high school setting can be a challenging topic, and this debut novel does a wonderful job delivering a nuanced and realistic tale.
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