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Kamikaze Boys
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Book of the Month > January BotM - Kamikaze Boys *Spoilers*

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Kaje Harper | 16562 comments This thread is for discussion of one of our two January 2013 Books of the Month - Kamikaze Boys Kamikaze Boys by Jay Bell by Jay Bell. Feel free to discuss the book or related topics and post reviews. This thread may contain spoilers, so if you haven't read the book yet, proceed at your own risk. I look forward to discussing this with the group.


Justin | 1 comments I loved this book. Read it awhile ago, but it is one of my favorites.


Sammy Goode | 5380 comments I absolutely loved this book--here is my review of it!

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


message 4: by K (new) - rated it 4 stars

K (k-polipetl) | 4090 comments Okay, so I can't write reviews to save my life (well I probably can but I never seem to be happy with them) so, instead some thoughts...

I really liked both Danny and Connor, and it was nice to see two characters who were as secure as it's probably possible to be at that age in their own sexuality. Their personal/family issues didn't get overwhelmed in the storyline simply by the fact that they were gay.

It was nice to see for once that there was no unnecessary and overblown angst between the two characters and that it was the outside factors that pulled at their relationship and ultimately brought them back together.

As ever high school bullying and the scared closeted bully feature - obviously I am well over the age of the characters and my own experiences are very different (given that although I was out at their age I went to school in the UK quite some time ago) but it horrifies me to think that the level of bullying portrayed in YA novels is a true reflection of the US high school system.

I found it difficult to accept that Danny's dad didn't investigate further the intentions of Dr Wolf and the hospital. It seemed rather out of character for a parent who had been portrayed as being supportive of his son's sexuality and his relationship with Connor (to the extent of letting him go away with him alone for two weeks) that he would be talked into admitting Danny into a mental hospital.

I am pleased that the characters got their happy ending, and that even at the end Connor is still something of a rebel at heart.

Overall I really enjoyed the book.


Octobercountry | 11 comments I'm kind of surprised to see that this book hasn't been discussed very much yet. Let's see... Here's what I said in my own review:
_________________________________

It’s been interesting watching Jay Bell’s writing career take off. I was first introduced to his work when Brent Hartinger reviewed his very first book "The Cat in the Cradle," and I’ve kept an eye on what he’s been doing ever since. Bell has been most prolific, and I’ve enjoyed everything that he’s written so far (whether it be fantasy or more realistic YA lit), to one degree or another.

"Something Like Summer" has been Jay’s most popular book up to this point, but I think I actually prefer "Kamikaze Boys" over that one. Interesting, that this book covers many of the same themes as John Goode’s "End of the Innocence" (which I had recently mentioned here), but it has a completely different feel... I found both Conner and David to be sympathetic and quite likable characters, but it’s true enough that they make a couple of very poor choices throughout the course of the novel! Oh, the reader can completely relate to their actions, but the characters do end up paying the price for their behavior. (Though rest assured---I thought the ending was splendid.)

There’s plenty of drama here to draw the reader into the story, and I think most of you would enjoy it. Recommended.


message 6: by Kaje (last edited Jan 23, 2013 07:15AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kaje Harper | 16562 comments Thanks for the push to get to this. I try to read every BotM and I love Jay Bell's writing, so I'll have to make time for this one. Imperfect heroes are something I appreciate, especially in YA where things are sometimes a bit black and white.


Octobercountry | 11 comments ..... especially in YA where things are sometimes a bit black and white.

Actually, as I was reading this book I was wondering if perhaps things SHOULD have been a bit more black and white! The main characters do take some actions which I certainly hope teen readers would not emulate. While the reader completely sympathizes with the main characters and can understand why they do what they do, I'm wondering if it should have been made clearer that this really was not the best path to take...

But then, on the other hand, both characters do have to "pay" for what they did, so... Well, I'll be curious to hear your take on the story!




Kaje Harper | 16562 comments That does sound intriguing. There's always the dichotomy in YA between wanting things to feel real, and wanting the book to be a good thing for teens to read... I'm looking forward to Jay's version.


Octobercountry | 11 comments Oh, and if anyone is curious, Jay talks a little about the inspiration for the book here: http://www.jaybellbooks.com/inspirati...


message 10: by Kaje (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kaje Harper | 16562 comments Thanks for the link.


message 11: by Kaje (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kaje Harper | 16562 comments I finally go to this - a good book, and a quick easy read that pulls you along.

I enjoyed this book a lot, and had a hard time putting it aside to sleep, since I'd reached a point where the MCs are separated. I liked and believed in both David and Connor, and the best friend and little brother were fun. This book has some nice secondary characters. Both of the boys who are main characters make some mistakes, both have issues to deal with, but in this book the warm emotions are more salient that the dark ones. I appreciated that the parents here were for the most part real people, not monsters and not super-supportive, but people with their own viewpoints and problems. I did think David's dad could have stepped up sooner in a much more effective way about the bullying when it counted, but making waves is very hard for some people even in defense of their kids, so it wasn't unrealistic.

This book is good older YA (there is on-page sex of a reasonable, more sweet/excited and less erotic tone.) Connor is a great character, the guy you wish every gay boy would meet in high-school (despite his mild issues with rules and authority.) The book reads quickly and smoothly. Recommended for 15+ (and that more for some behaviors that I wince to see modeled, even though I think they fit teen boys well. An absence of condoms being one of them.)


message 12: by Kaje (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kaje Harper | 16562 comments The lack of condoms was the one that bothered me the most, actually. The others could be considered character, and color. But Connor was level-headed enough to know about protection, and he wasn't a virgin. There was no indication he'd tested, so protecting David should have occurred to him, and I don't like the fact that it never even seemed to come up.


Trisha Harrington (trishaharrington) | 101 comments I loved Kamikaze Boys. It is actually one of my favourite ya novels. I have read it a few times myself and fell in love with the characters in the first couple of chapters I fell more and more in love throughout the book. I actually had no issues with the story. Even though the sex scenes were not graphic in the normal sense I still enjoyed the scenes. They reminded me of what sex should be when you reach that stage in a relationship. It was such a sweet book. I would love to see a sequel to it, but it's not needed because everything ending so well.


message 14: by Kaje (last edited Feb 04, 2013 10:50AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kaje Harper | 16562 comments I agree - if you are not a fade-to-black proponent, then the sex in this book seems well done - about the actions and the emotions but not erotic in any real sense. This book could not be discussed in a school classroom, I think, but it's a book about finding a relationship much more than about finding sex. I just wish at some point STDs had even crossed the MC's thoughts, because they sure crossed mine. (Connor's previous experiences being what they were.)


Trisha Harrington (trishaharrington) | 101 comments I agree with that. STDs could have been mentioned. I guess that was an issue. It just didn't bother me while I read it. And in my school books worse than that have been discussed. But it depends on the teacher. Some of ours would talk about a book like this, others wouldn't.


message 16: by Kaje (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kaje Harper | 16562 comments That's so cool that your teachers would. In my kids' classrooms the subject matter would have been fine, but on-page sex would take it off the list.


Trisha Harrington (trishaharrington) | 101 comments Kaje wrote: "That's so cool that your teachers would. In my kids' classrooms the subject matter would have been fine, but on-page sex would take it off the list."

Well some of our teachers are really open. Others not si much. But that's life.


message 18: by Kaje (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kaje Harper | 16562 comments I think it's the parents - "You are requiring my child to read smut!!" Like they don't anyway, but the school boards here tend to be very much under the influence of conservative and vocal parents.


Trisha Harrington (trishaharrington) | 101 comments Kaje wrote: "I think it's the parents - "You are requiring my child to read smut!!" Like they don't anyway, but the school boards here tend to be very much under the influence of conservative and vocal parents."

It's the same here, but I live in a Catholic country so it's not the parents as much as the church. But some of the teachers go rogue.


message 20: by Ulysses (last edited Apr 13, 2013 04:54PM) (new)

Ulysses Dietz | 35 comments It's Connor and David against the world - and I suppose it's too "advanced" for younger teenagers to read, but it sure captures the way teenagers think and how they see the world. I'd let my teenagers read this. Of course, they'd never talk to me about it afterwards...

The jock and the nerd - a classic set up - but it doesn't play out the way you expect, because whether they get together or not is beside the point. Although the build-up is very nicely done, it's how they fight to stay a couple in the face of a world that either doesn't care or disapproves that drives the story. The fact that they're gay isn't the main point either - with one crucial exception, it's more their youth and supposed inexperience that causes their troubles.

I love YA-ish books where the parents are important players, and Jay Bell delivers here. I love it even more that the parents are allowed to surprise us (and their children).

For a romance, it's surprisingly unsentimental. There's plenty of teen anger in this - and that's just about right.


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