This book was so refreshing, had it's downs but truely lifted my heart and gives me faith in the world.
Definitely worth the time to read
This book starts a bit slow. For those looking for a fast start, this book may not be for you.
And it is very light on sex, so if you are looking for adult gay fiction, this book may not be for you.
That said, this book does well with an old theme, coming of age for a gay teen. The character development is good. And the characters have flaws and develop as the
book progresses. The setting is Alabama, and the primary characters are two brothers, one straight and one gay. But at the start of the book the gay brother is deeply in the closet.
Unlike a lot of gay fiction, the story is about the straight brother as much as the gay one.
The dynamic of their relationship is a major theme to the story.
The book did not get the highest rating because it does have some flaws. One does not "discover" that one is gay or has feelings for other guys in high school. Kids have sexual thoughts before that time. And the straight brother's apathy towards his younger brother at times was hard to reconcile with his underlying emotions. I found it hard to believe the two boys would not have had a heart to heart talk before they drifted so far apart.
But those are flaws that can be overlooked because the story is well told once you get past the slow start.
Martin Wilson's debut novel works on so many levels: It's a heartwarming coming-of-age story that deals honestly with social issues; a sports novel that's also about love & family; a gay love story that tells a universal tale about longing & belonging; a YA novel that isn't afraid to allow its young characters to behave (and speak!) authentically; and a lovely regional story that paints, in a way that's both affectionate & true, a picture of life in a southern town. This book is a good thing for YA fiction writers & readers everywhere; Wilson shows us that it's possible to deal with issues like sexuality or suicide AND tell a great tale AND write well. The characters' speech patterns are very genuine, which may put some delicate readers off, but it's nothing teenagers don't hear every day of their lives. I have no qualms about my 14-year-old son reading this book. I look forward to more from this talented new writer.
Pretty nice book easy to read keeping you glued at the pages.
The story it's more about brotherhood and growing up than on gay themes. However, the discovery of own sexuality and a glimpse at what being gay means for teenagers in high school is well filled in into the story. Coming out is actually left out since the gay character do not end up doing it, but this is balanced by a nice viewpoint of "coming of age" process. Discovering to be gay and accepting yourself is pointed out (even if not in deep) as a basic step during your coming of age journey and the impact that such thing may have on your life is also taken in consideration.
Concluding a book I have enjoyed reading and that I definitely suggest.
I really enjoyed this book. I felt like both the emotions and the angst experienced by the characters were genuine and moving. Two brothers, James and Alex, attempting to navigate the complexities of a high school existence. James is popular, outgoing, idolized by his peers and yet still circumspect as to what it all means. Which relationships are real and which are facades that are constructed with aspirations of appearing self confident and comfortable in one's own skin. Struggles that typify any adolescent. Alex is introverted and cautious, sabotaged by insecurities and self doubt. He's convinced that the entire student body recognizes his worthlessness and delights in ridiculing him. Then, he befriends Nathen, a guy who is well liked, good looking, smart and athletic. With Nathen's encouragement, Alex joins the track team and slowing begins to create a feeling of acceptance and inclusion. Additionally, the two begin to acknowledge what is certainly a mutual attraction for eachother and cautiously embark on a very tentative intimate relationship. The story examines how the brothers struggle to understand one another and how Alex lays the foundation for accepting himself as gay. I loved the book. It was well written and the plot cohesive. My only disappointment was that there was very little dialog between the characters. The author reveals what the characters are thinking but very little is actually said. You understand the euphoria and apprehension but fewer than one hundred words are actually exchanged. As Nathen and Alex's relationship began to develop, I would have liked to have been included in more of the conversations between them.
JAMES AND ALEX have barely anything in common anymore—least of all their experiences in high school, where James is a popular senior and Alex is suddenly an outcast. But at home, there is Henry, the precocious 10-year-old across the street, who eagerly befriends them both. And when Alex takes up running, there is James’s friend Nathen, who unites the brothers in moving and unexpected ways.