Friday, November 9, 2012

Review Me Twice- Rainbow Boys by Alex Sánchez

Rainbow Boys is about three different boys in three very different stages of their sexuality: one out of the closet, one in the closet but aware of his sexuality and one so deep in the closet he's getting completely freaked out that he's having wet dreams of boys.  I mean, he can't be gay.  He has a girlfriend after all.

I like that Sanchez shows you all three because, really, no one has the same story when it comes to their sexuality.  Nelson was out and everyone knew that he was gay and his mother completely supported him about it.  But that didn't stop the abuse he received at school.  And Kyle also was included in that derision because he was friends with Nelson.

I like that Sanchez shows us all types.  You have the boys and faculty members that really show a hatred towards gays and wear their homophobia on their sleeves.  You have people like Debra, Jason's girlfriend in the beginning of the book, who shows some moderate tolerance towards gays, however freaks out when Jason tells her of his feelings about his sexuality.  Debra, however, comes around.  She renews her friendship with Jason and is genuinely supportive of him.  You see Kyle's mother be supportive, but with questions and his father get upset but decide, in the end, that his son is more important to him than his son's sexuality.  I like that everything is all over the board and not black or white.

I wasn't a huge fan of the love triangle going on.  Didn't hate it didn't love it.  It propelled the story forward but I don't think that it really enhanced the story any.  If this was a book about relationships (which it was), this romantic ones weren't the best in this book.

Overall, I enjoyed the book.  It's not the best LGBT book I've ever read, but Sanchez has a good writing style and certainly engages you in the story.  

My Bottom Line 3 out of 5.
I am fortunate to live in a time when I can consider a book like Rainbow Boys "typical." It's a pretty average story of some boys in high school trying to figure out what their sexuality is and what it means.

The three main characters sit equidistant on the spectrum of closetedness: One boy is openly, comfortably gay; one is closeted but knows he is definitely gay; and one is bisexual but has a hard time admitting to himself, much less anyone else.

These characters never would have been included in a book - particularly one intended for teens - a few decades ago, much less as the main characters. So while I thought this book was a little bland, I also recognize that it is a product of a lot of social progress, and I appreciate that.

While I thought the story and characters were a little simple (and often pretty whiny), I still liked the writing. I was genuinely concerned in one very climactic scene near the end. That's the sign of good writing to me.

I also liked that Sanchez listed some groups at the end of the book that might be useful to his readers. PFLAG (Parents and Friends/Family of Lesbians And Gays) gets a lot of mention in the book because Nelson's mom is an active member, but there are other groups that specialize in different areas, and Sanchez lists several, along with their contact information, websites, and a brief summary of who they are and what they do.

I wasn't so invested in this book that I'm dying to read Rainbow High and Rainbow Road but I will definitely get around to them someday.

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