These reviews have been copied from the New York Public Library’s Website – http://www.nypl.org
PW Reviews 2001 November #4
Sanchez’s debut novel chronicles the senior year of three gay teens struggling with issues ranging from coming out to first love to an HIV scare. The story lines communicate a hint of an educational agenda (Sanchez sprinkles in the names of support groups like Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays into the novel, and lists contact information for organizations at the end), but the characters’ complicated feelings are well drawn, and readers will find themselves interested in each of the protagonists’ lives. Sanchez creates modern situations that speak to contemporary teens: Nelson and Kyle stand up to their principal for the right to form a gay-straight alliance at their school, and Nelson has unprotected sex with a stranger he meets online. The relationship between Kyle and closeted jock Jason also develops realistically, and the awkward triangle among the three males builds subtly and convincingly. Readers will learn and understand both boys’ perspectives, from Jason’s fear that he will be found out to Kyle’s growing agitation at his mixed messages. Some of the writing is stilted (“You would’ve thought the prodigal son had come home,” Sanchez writes when Kyle finally connects with his father), and some of the language and sexual situations may be too mature for some readers, but overall there’s enough conflict, humor and tenderness to make this story believable and touching. Ages 12-up. (Oct). Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
PW Reviews 2003 May #4
PW called this story about the senior year of three gay teens struggling with issues ranging from coming out to first love to an HIV scare “believable and touching.” Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
SLJ Reviews 2001 October
Gr 9 Up-Nelson, “out” to the world, is secretly in love with his best friend Kyle. Kyle doesn’t look gay or advertise it, but since he hangs out with Nelson, he’s subject to the same harassment at school. Kyle is secretly in love with Jason, a popular jock who has a popular girlfriend but who can’t stop dreaming of sex with boys. When Jason, trying to sort out his confusion, shows up at a Rainbow Youth meeting, he is greeted by both “Nelly” and Kyle, who are as shocked to see him as he is to be seen. This uncomfortable confrontation starts the ball rolling down a path of deception, denial, revelation, and acceptance not only for the three young men, but also for their friends, family, and all concerned. This gutsy, in-your-face debut novel speaks the language of real life for gay teens, that of the ecstasy, heartache, and humor of first love (and sex), that of daily harassment and fear, that of having what it takes to stand up and be proud of who you are. There will no doubt be challenges to Rainbow Boys, much like the challenges of Judy Blume’s Forever (Turtleback, 1975) when it was published in the 1970s. But please, have the courage to make it available to those who need it-it can open eyes and change lives.-Betty S. Evans, Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booklist Monthly Selections – #2 November 2001
Gr. 9-12. Three gay high school seniors, Jason, Kyle, and Nelson, deal with the difficulties of coming out and with all of the other problems that plague and perplex homosexual teens. First-novelist Sanchez writes with passion and understanding as well as some welcome humor, but it’s issues, not characters that drive this novel. Homophobia, body image, gay stereotyping, AIDS, support groups, gay/straight alliances–all are shoehorned into an overcrowded plot that sometimes comes dangerously close to the didactic. What saves the story from problem-novel limbo are its realistic, right-on dialogue; its sympathetic characters who rise above the stereotypical; and–most important–its focus on love as the heart of homosexuality. Ultimately, the author demonstrates, coming out is really coming in–entering a circle of support and self-acceptance that may lead to a more universal community of acceptance and tolerance. ((Reviewed November 15, 2001)) Copyright 2001 Booklist Reviews
The Horn Book
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2002 Spring
As if high school wasnÆt tough enough, homophobic jock Jason fears heÆs bisexual; Kyle loves Jason but hasnÆt come out to his parents; and out-and-proud Nelson, whoÆs smitten with Kyle and much harassed, copes by binge eating. Cardboard villains and clichTd writing weaken the novel, but itÆs a well-observed, witty, and sexually honest look at the process of coming out both publicly and to oneself. Copyright 2002 Horn Book Guide Reviews
Voice of Youth Advocates Reviews
VOYA Reviews 2001 December
The only thing Jason, Kyle, and Nelson have in common is that they attend the same high school. Well, perhaps that is not entirely true-Jason is a student athlete with a steady girl but whose fantasies sometimes involve boys; Kyle is gay, but only he knows it; and Nelson is gay and everyone knows it. As the three boys narrate in alternating chapters, readers slowly are exposed to each teen’s personal world, private feelings, and public lives. Nelson desperately wants to find someone to love him, and because of that desire, makes some foolish and perhaps deadly decisions. Kyle wants to build a relationship with Jason, although Jason is ostensibly heterosexual. Jason wants to hold on to his straight lifestyle-at all costs. Although the topic of gay high school students is not new, this book brings some new issues to the forefront, such as body image for boys and Internet predators. Unfortunately, the book tries to bring all of the issues to light, resulting in a novel that does not have a clear focus. Although readers come to know each of the boys quite well, they will find themselves bombarded by issue after issue, and it is difficult to move so swiftly from topic to topic. Many teens will face some of these issues at some time, but attempting to deal with them all here is just too overwhelming. On the plus side, this book does a remarkable job dealing with the feelings and emotions of a gay teenager experiencing his first crush, and for that reason, this book is an important purchase for libraries serving teens.-Lynn Evarts. 3Q 3P S Copyright 2001 Voya Reviews