Can't Stop Reading

Lucky for me I get a hefty discount at work, because I just can't seem to stop myself!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I'm not entirely sure why, but right now our YA section seems to be bulging with gay teen novels. I briefly picked up David Levithan's Boy Meets Boy, but to tell you the truth, I think Levithan is just too serious a writer for me to deal with. It is all sunny and nice out, and I just want to read something light and happy.

So instead I picked up Brian Sloan's Tale of Two Summers. The premise is that best friends Chuck and Hal are 15, and spending their first summer apart. Chuck is straight, but really into musical theatre. He's spending the summer at the University of Maryland for a summer theatre workshop. Hal, who is gay, is spending the summer at home in Wheaton (read: small town) taking drivers' ed. Chuck has set up a blog so that the two can keep in touch, and their correspondence can be saved for all time.

Chuck, who is very talented, tends to be optimistic about how things in general will turn out. He is a little weirded out about Hal's gayness, and can be a little insensitive in that regard (remember, he is a 15-year-old boy). Hal is sarcastic and tends toward depression and cynicism. Obviously, there are love interests. For Chuck, its Ghaliyah, a fellow musical theatre enthusiast, who herself seems to be more into their director. Hal has fallen for Henri, a French exchange student who practices Parkour (its like skateboarding without the skateboard) and smokes a lot of pot.

Because Chuck is pretty busy starring in his camp's theatre production, Hal does most of the writing. He's funny and vulnerable and sweet and sarcastic all rolled into one great character. That's really the only problem I had with this book. I adored Hal, and I kind of felt like I didn't really know Chuck enough to decide one way or the other.

What Sloan does do really well though, is deal with the friendship between two boys, one of whom has come out of the closet. Chuck's curiosity as to what actually goes on, and Hal's openness about his life and feelings are refreshing to read in a YA novel. I will caution, however, there are some pretty graphic sexual details, so not for the faint of heart.

Tale of Two Summers by Brian Sloan
ISBN 0689874391
256 pages


  • At 10:30 AM, Blogger Leila the Great said…

    Oh, but Boy Meets Boy IS light and happy! Like, almost unbelievably so. C'mon, give it a try.

  • At 12:32 PM, Blogger bookstore girl said…

    Meh, I read the first chapter, and it didn't grab me. I think maybe I am all love story-ed out. I am reading a fantasy right now with no love interests in sight: perfect!


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