These reviews have been copied from the New York Public Library’s Website – http://www.nypl.org
PW Reviews 2006 December #1
Sanchez (Rainbow Boys ) begins with an intriguing premise: inspired by the TV show Queer Eye , 15-year-old Carlos Amoroso asks Sal, the gay guy at school, to make him over so he can stop being a “girlfriend-less virgin.” Sal agrees, in exchange for Carlos’s help with forming a Gay-Straight Alliance. As Sal helps Carlos fix up his room and shop for clothes—and even eat better—he also teaches Carlos to be more honest and to stand up for what is right. The story goes on a bit too long, but the author presents an authentic if somewhat raw world here: the characters describe their hookups, many of which begin with the Web; his friends tell Carlos about the “hookup rules” that explain why his crush, Roxy, ignores him the day after they make out. The author also gives readers valuable information and ideas: his mother’s boyfriend tells Carlos of the importance of condoms; when forming the GSA, Carlos tells his uncooperative principal that “because of, um, a Supreme Court decision… you have to allow the club”; and Sal speculates about why gay guys have style (“None of the guys will come near you—and you try to figure out why. So you notice things—how people dress, wear their hair, decorate their room”). In the end, it is sensitive-but-flawed Carlos and his struggle to do right that keeps this story grounded. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)
[Page 59]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
SLJ Reviews 2006 November
Gr 7 Up Carlos Amoroso, 15, loves video games, junk food, and hanging out with his buddies. The only thing he can’t do is get a date with sexy, popular Roxy Rodriguez. After watching Queer Eye for the Straight Guy , he approaches a gay classmate, Sal, for a makeover. Sal agrees but insists that Carlos help him start a Gay-Straight Alliance at their predominantly Hispanic Texas high school. Carlos is conflicted what if his friends think he’s gay, too? In the process, the teen learns how to clean, dress, clear zits, and talk to girls. He also learns how to be honest with himself, and how to tell people, including his macho father and homophobic buddies, how he really feels. Although Sanchez’s prose is creaky and expository at first it seems slightly dumbed down compared to his Rainbow books (S & S) the truth of the story and familiar, realistic characters quickly engage readers. The dialogue is pointed and natural, and the characterizations and plot emerge deftly from conversation, especially teenage trash talking. Sanchez’s usual good-natured humor flavors Sal and Carlos’s tumultuous friendship. The easy pace and farcical Cyrano de Bergerac meets Queer Eye construct of the novel is deceptive: the mood is wholly emotional as hate is exposed everywhere and even the minor characters discover new truths. This sweet, simple examination of homophobia and friendship is a welcome addition to the genre, especially for reluctant readers. Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library
[Page 150]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The Horn Book
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2007 Spring
Carlos isn’t having any luck with girls, so he gets the school’s token gay guy, Sal, to give him a makeover in exchange for Carlos’s help launching a Gay–Straight Alliance. Although Sal seems too forgiving and Carlos too clueless to be real, their ultimate friendship is rewarding. The message-driven plot imparts all the right lessons about individuality and acceptance. Glos. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Voice of Youth Advocates Reviews
VOYA Reviews 2006 October
Carlos, fifteen, has never had sex. No girl has ever agreed to a one-night hookup with him. He has never even been kissed, and his dream girl, Roxy, does not even know he exists. Certain that it is his gangly, rumpled appearance that puts girls off, Carlos asks his gay classmate Sal to effect a Queer Eye for the Straight Guy-style total image makeover. Sal agrees but drives a hard bargain: in exchange for the makeover, Carlos must co-found a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) at their high school with Sal. Carlos tries to keep the makeover, his budding friendship with Sal, and most of all, his involvement in the GSA a secret from his best friends-handsome jerk Playboy, supportive Pulga, and athletic Toro-but the difference in Carlos’s appearance, behavior, and attitude are remarkable As in his Rainbow trilogy-Rainbow Boys (Simon & Schuster, 2001/VOYA December 2001); Rainbow High (2004/VOYA December 2003); Rainbow Road (2005/VOYA October 2005)-Sanchez goes beyond common issues of anxiety surrounding sexuality and peer perceptions to get at deeper issues like male body image, how boys negotiate friendships and vulnerabilities in romantic relationships, sexuality in Latino culture, and the increasing number of GSAs in schools across the country. Sanchez’s workmanlike but jaunty, conversational prose is well suited to his subject matter. This title’s sexual frankness may make it a controversial choice, particularly for school libraries in more conservative communities, but its themes, appeal, and readability make it a nearly essential purchase.-Sophie Brookover 3Q 4P M J S Copyright 2006 Voya Reviews.