Sanchez, Alex. Rainbow Boys. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 2003 (first published in 2001). ISBN 0689857705
Reader’s Annotation: Three boys must deal with their sexuality and the troubles they face from prejudice and confusion from their friends, family and classmates.
Plot Summary: Nelson is opening gay and lives with a mother who not only accepts him but actively promotes understanding for gays and lesbians in the community. His best friend Kyle is also gay but has yet to opening come out to his family and classmates. Jason is a jock with a girlfriend but is confused about his attraction to other guys and the possibility that he may be gay or bisexual. Follow these three boys stories as they try to make sense out of their confusion of feelings and make it through the school year.
I am not a huge fan of contemporary young adult books but I ended up really enjoying this one. The three guys and their varying situations provided a nice array of possible scenarios gay, lesbian and bisexual teenagers may face growing up. Jason’s confusion and reactions to overtures by Kyle are all too realistic and even though he behaves like a jerk at times you can understand why.
There is some content that parents may find offensive as the story is does openly talk about teenagers having sex or engaging in other sexual activities, talk about porn and pornographic material and there is some swearing. However, the use of sexual encounters is not gratuitous. Each character learns valuable lessons from their experiences without it coming across as preachy.
About the author
Alex Sanchez is the author of the Rainbow Boys trilogy, Getting It, The God Box and more. His middle grade book, So Hard to Say, won the Lambda Award and another book, Bait, won the 2009 Florida Book Award Gold Medal for YA fiction. Rainbow Boys was selected by the ALA in 2002 as one of its Best Books for Young Adults.
Alex has received a master’s in guidance and counseling from Old Dominion University and his most recent book, Boyfriends with Girlfriends, came out in 2011. If looking for resources about coming out, other teen books and more visit his website.
Book talking idea
Talk about how difficult going through high school can be normally and how much tougher it can be for teens with different sexual preferences.
Ages 14 and up.
Homosexuality, prevalent talk about sex, several sex scenes, talk about pornographic materials and some swearing.
I would have the library’s collection management policy on hand and explain that the library is not here to filter what patrons read. If questioned about this policy I would direct the patron to the ALA Bill of Rights. I would also be ready to point out that the library is there to provide reading materials for those of any beliefs or situations that patrons may need and it is not our job to say what should and should not be available.
Why did I include this book?
I came across something in my research that this was a great book to read and suggest for those looking for GLBT fiction.