Posts Tagged ‘LGBTQ’

Book Club Pick: July 2017

the-sidekicks

Book Details:

Title: The Sidekicks

Author: Will Kostakis

Series: Stand alone novel

Country: Australia

Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia

First Published: 2016

Pages: 256

Publisher’s Description:

The Swimmer. The Rebel. The Nerd.

All Ryan, Harley and Miles had in common was Isaac. They lived different lives, had different interests and kept different secrets. But they shared the same best friend. They were his sidekicks. And now that Isaac’s gone, what does that make them?

Review:

Sixteen-year-old Isaac Roberts has died unexpectedly. His three Sydney Catholic boys school friends Ryan, Harley and Miles are left behind to process their grief and figure out who they are, and where they fit without Isaac. Together the three boys are not friends, they only shared a best friend.

The novel is written in three sections with Ryan (the Swimmer), Harley (The Rebel), and Miles (The Nerd) each giving their perspective on life with and without Isaac. Kostakis gives each boy a label and then breaks down that label showing that there is much more to them than a label.

Each sections reads like a separate novella but together the three pieces make up a novel about grief and Australian male teenage identity.

sidekicksweb

Seventeen-year-old Ryan Patrick Thomas, the swimmer, is up first. He is an Olympic hopeful and his mother is a teacher at the school. He has a secret boyfriend Todd, who he meet at Model UN. Ryan is conflicted with his sexuality and is struggling to come out.

The next part of the novel is narrated by Scott Harley, a boarder at the school. Harley does not have the best relationship with his parents and is struggling with feelings of abandonment after his mother returns to the States. This may explain his connection to Isaac’s mother, who he helps come to terms with losing her son.

The final part of the novel is told from the perspective of Miles Cooper, who from Ryan’s narrative we learnt shared a dark secret with Isaac. As Miles has written, directed and produced a short film starring Isaac, his narrative is written in film script format.

I saw Will Kostakis, in May at All Day YA at the Sydney Writers’ Festival. Click here to read my recap on the event.

Links:

Will Kostakis Official Website

Will Kostakis on Facebook

Will Kostakis on Twitter

Will Kostakis on Instagram

 

Source: I borrowed this book from my public library.

Book Club Pick: September 2015

Boy Meets Boy

Book Details:

Title: Boy Meets Boy

Author: David Levithan

Series: Stand alone novel

Country: United States of America

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf

First Published: 2003

Pages: 192

Publisher’s Description:

He looks up at me. And then, after a beat, he breaks out smiling. “Hey”, he says, “I’ve been looking all over for you.” I don’t know what to say. I am so happy and so scared.

Paul has been gay his whole life and he’s confident about almost everything. He doesn’t have to hide his feelings like best friend Tony. Or even cope with loving the wrong guy like his other best friend Joni.

But heartbreak can happen to anyone. Falling in love changes everything…

 

Review:

The protagonist and narrator for the novel is high school sophomore Paul, who is openly gay and accepted by his family and friends. Paul has known he was gay since he was in kindergarten and ‘became the first openly gay class president in the history of Ms Farquar’s third grade class.’

Tony is Paul’s best friend who lives in the next town over. He is gay but unlike Paul, Tony’s parents are religious and are not accepting of his sexuality. It is great to see a strong friendship between two gay teenage males that is not romantic or sexual.

Joni is Paul’s other friend, when she starts dating Chuck, a classmate Paul does not approve of, it puts strain on their friendship.

The supporting characters are interesting and vivid. There is Infinite Darlene, a drag queen who is the homecoming queen and star quarterback, and Zeke the “Gaystafarian”, who performs gigs at the local bookstore.

It’s boy meets boy, when Paul is instantly attracted to Noah, the new boy at school, after an earlier chance meeting in a bookstore. Similar to boy meets girl stories inevitably boy loses boy when Paul kisses his ex-boyfriend Kyle, who is questioning his sexuality.

Paul has to set out to win Noah back. The school bookie put his odds at 12-1 of Noah taking him back but Paul is determined to gain his trust back. Despite Paul’s mistake he is a likable character.

The novel presents an almost perfect utopian world where all sexualities are celebrated and accepted.  For example, there are the Joy Scouts instead of the Boy Scouts (after the “Boy Scouts decided gays had no place in their ranks, our Scouts decided the organization had no place in our town”) and the high school has a thriving gay-straight alliance. Levithan is deliberately showing readers a world one would hope will exist in the future where there is no judgment, prejudice or discrimination against LGBTQ people.

Boy Meets Boy is dedicated ‘for Tony (even if he only exists in a song)’. ‘Tony’ is the title of Patty Griffin’s song about a young gay classmate who committed suicide. Levithan has said ‘every time I hear that song, it breaks my heart; you could say I wrote a whole novel to change one song’s ending.’

The writing is very witty, wry and quirky. Although the pace is a little slow moving at times. Ultimately it is a quirky story about love and the obstacles to love.

Links:

David Levithan Official Website

David Levithan on Facebook

David Levithan on Twitter

 

Source: I borrowed this book from my public library.