Photo of RAINBOW HIGH by Alex Sanchez

Photo of RAINBOW HIGH by Alex Sanchez

These reviews have been copied from the New York Public Library’s Website – http://www.nypl.org


Publishers Weekly

PW Reviews 2003 November #4

Sanchez returns to the lives of Nelson, Kyle and Jason-the three likable gay characters he created in Rainbow Boys, infusing his sequel with romance and humor. As the author rotates through the connecting stories, even readers unfamiliar with the first book will quickly be engrossed: Nelson is dating HIV-positive Jeremy; Kyle’s been accepted to Princeton, but doesn’t want to go to college away from his boyfriend, Jason; and Jason risks his own college scholarship when he comes out to his basketball team and catches the media’s attention. As with the first novel, the author incorporates some education along with the plotting: in addition to facts about HIV, for instance, complementary story lines demonstrate how Jason and Kyle’s coaches each deal with the boys’ sexuality (in Jason’s case: “By handling the whole thing the way he had, Coach had shown the team they could handle it”). Readers may be more likely to get swept up in Nelson’s fights with his mom over his right to date Jeremy, Jason’s on-camera denial of having a boyfriend, and of course, the steamy love scenes; indeed this novel shares many of the characteristics of a typical teen romance novel (“In the three-way mirror [Jason’s] tall, handsome reflection extended time after time toward infinity…. Kyle thought himself the luckiest boy on earth”). The author expertly mixes coming-out issues with the universal complications of first love in this novel that culminates in the boys’ senior prom. Ages 12-up. (Nov.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

PW Reviews 2005 May #3

Of this sequel to Rainbow Boys, PW wrote, “The author expertly mixes coming-out issues with the universal complications of first love in this novel that culminates in the boys’ senior prom.” Ages 12-up. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

School Library Journal

SLJ Reviews 2003 November

Gr 10 Up-Nelson Glassman and Kyle Meeks, best friends for many years, are gay teens at Walt Whitman High School. Kyle becomes romantically involved with basketball jock Jason Carrillo, while Nelson embarks on a strained relationship with Jeremy, who has tested positive for HIV. Jason comes out to his teammates and endures public scrutiny on television, eventually losing his athletic scholarship. On the homefront, Kyle’s parents desperately want him to attend Princeton, although this would mean leaving Jason behind, and Nelson’s mother insists that he end his relationship with Jeremy. Throughout these vicissitudes, the young men provide support for one another as graduation approaches. Sanchez has written a respectable sequel to the noteworthy Rainbow Boys (S & S, 2001). He has a definite feel for the thoughts, feelings, and speech patterns of contemporary high school students, and his characters are believable, although perhaps not as fully developed as one would like. The narrative flows smoothly, with plenty of soap-opera dramatics to keep readers interested and a steamy scene or two to boot. Mature YAs will identify with the problems and decisions these individuals must face.-Robert Gray, East Central Regional Library, Cambridge, MN Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

The Horn Book

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2004 Spring

First introduced in [cf2]Rainbow Boys[cf1], Nelson, Jason, and Kyle are gay high school seniors. Nelson and Kyle are best friends, Jason and Kyle are boyfriends, and each one of them is facing decisions. With chapters shifting attention among the three protagonists in turn, there’s a soap operaûlike suspense that is both banal and magnetic. To his credit, Sanchez refuses easy solutions to the dilemmas. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2004 #1

Joining Brent Hartinger’s audacious Geography Club (rev. 3/03) are two more novels taking a look at gay high school life. In Boy Meets Boy, sophomore Paul’s school couldn’t get more gay-friendly: the star quarterback, a drag queen named Infinite Darlene, is also homecoming queen, and the mood of the town is equally welcoming, dropping the homophobic Boy Scouts for “Joy Scouts,” for example. While sometimes threatening to waft the story off to Never-land, it’s a premise that allows Levithan’s gay characters to explore the vicissitudes of love on the same terms as the straight kids. Paul, who came out in kindergarten, is swooning over new-kid Noah but still has some emotional baggage with former boyfriend Kyle, who has been hinting that he’d like to get back together. This is the stuff of teen romance novels, to be sure, but while Paul’s narration can wax lyrical at all the right moments, it’s also a bit lofty, as when Paul constructs one thousand origami flowers just for day one in a campaign to win Noah back after Noah’s heard that Paul kissed Kyle. (Kissing is as far as anyone goes in this book.) Paul’s a good kid and a smart one, but his hyper-articulateness and fondness for rarefied digression make him a hero difficult to warm up to. Kids who suspect that they’re probably not interesting enough for Boy Meets Boy will feel more at home at Rainbow High, a world apart from Paul’s school, and one that many kids will know, from both real life and teen television drama. First introduced in Rainbow Boys, Nelson, Jason, and (another) Kyle are gay high school seniors. Nelson and Kyle are best friends, Jason and Kyle are boyfriends, and each one of them is facing decisions. Having discovered, after unsafe sex with a stranger and much worry, that he’s still HIV-negative, should Nelson break off his budding relationship with the HIV-positive Jeremy? Can Jason come out to the rest of the basketball team and keep his scholarship to Tech? Will Kyle go to Princeton, as his father wishes, or Tech, to be with Jason? With chapters shifting attention among the three protagonists in turn, there’s a soap opera-like suspense that is both banal and magnetic. And to his credit, the author refuses easy solutions to the dilemmas. While not nearly as stylish or subtle as Boy Meets Boy, Rainbow High wears its heart on its sleeve and has a frankness (“You should’ve seen his JPEG. Total boner magnet”) that teens will appreciate. While the gay kids in Boy Meets Boy are the kind who read The Lost Language of Cranes in junior high and do book reports on Oscar Wilde, one suspects that even they would find Rainbow Boys a guilty pleasure–and reassuring, too. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

Voice of Youth Advocates Reviews

VOYA Reviews 2003 December

In this sequel to Rainbow Boys (Simon & Schuster, 2001/VOYA December 2001), Nelson, Kyle, and Jason are now high school seniors, self-identified as gay, at different stages of coming out, and engaged with their school’s Gay-Straight AllianceNelson-flashy, campy, and out-has had unprotected sex in the past, and goes for AIDS testing while dating HIV-positive Jeremy. His mother attends parent support groups and worries about his health. He applied to Tech when Kyle, his best friend, didSwimmer Kyle, who responded to the “gay” engraved upon his locker by spray painting “and proud” below it, is now dating Jason, the basketball star after whom Kyle had lusted throughout high school, even while Jason was dating Debra. Kyle came out this parents last year, and somewhat supportive of his sexuality, they eagerly await responses from Tech and Princeton-his father’s alma mater. Latino Jason’s mother is in denial about his sexuality, and his alcohol-abusing father left home disgusteafter Jason came out to him. Blissfully in love with Kyle, Jason must decide whether to come out to Coach, and possibly jeopardize his basketball scholarship to Tech. All three hope to attend Tech together. Cycling through the three points of view, Sanchez effectively uses current youth vernacular language and accurately portrays issues affecting gay youth and their parents, peers, and faculty. An important book for gay teens and their allies, a copbelongs in high school and public libraries.-Cynthia Winfield 3Q 2P J S Copyright 2004 Voya Reviews.

One thought on “Rainbow High

  1. Pingback: Rainbow High | Queer Young Adult Literature

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