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Cover for TALE OF TWO SUMMERS by Brian Sloan

Cover for TALE OF TWO SUMMERS by Brian Sloan

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

 

School Library Journal

SLJ Review 2006 September

Gr 9 Up For the first time in their history as best friends, Hal and Chuck will be spending the summer apart: Chuck to attend a summer theater camp and Hal to stay in their hometown of Wheaton, MD, and learn to drive. To ensure contact throughout their separation, Chuck sets up a private blog where the boys can post daily messages about their adventures (or lack thereof), the text of which constitutes this witty novel. Sloan succeeds at the dual voicing of the characters; from the first entries, the teens’ distinct voices are clear. Much of their virtual conversation revolves around their summer romantic prospects and their pursuit of emotionally as well as physically meaningful relationships. This somewhat typical premise is complicated by the fact that Hal is gay and has newly outed himself to Chuck. As they compare their experiences, the boys are also working together to define what Hal’s sexual identity means in the context of their friendship. Many of their entries involve discussions of the physiological dimensions of intimacy, such as when Chuck asks, “Not to be crude or anything, but exactly how does a gay guy lose his virginityis that actually possible?” Hal’s answer is frank, explicit, and endearing. Compared to Melvin Burgess’s Doing It (Holt, 2004), this novel is less deliberately bawdy and more realistic, earthy, and even sweet. Like David Levithan and Julie Ann Peters, Sloan is breaking ground among the greats of gay-themed young adult fiction.Amy S. Pattee, Simmons College, Boston

[Page 219]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Booklist

Booklist Reviews 2006 August #2

Chuck is straight, and Hal is gay. They have been best friends since the age of 5. Now, at 15, they must spend their first summer apart; Chuck has the lead in a musical show. They talk online through a blog, often several times a day, and they share every intimate detail of their lives, including romance and sex (“OMG . . . we friggin’ made out!!”). Hal hooks up with and has sex with Henri, a French foreign exchange student, but Henri’s pot habit gets out of control. Chuck is caught between two young women, but what involves him the most are rehearsals for the show and the build-up to opening night. As with any blog, the talk is often repetitive and trivial, and readers will race through the rambling interchanges, maybe even skip some. But the two contemporary voices are right-on: informal without being cute; supportive, irritable, funny, and angry; intense about love, sex, drugs, family–and especially about friendship. ((Reviewed September 1, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews

The Horn Book

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2006 Fall

Hal and Chuck create a blog to chronicle their (mainly sexual) summer escapades. Hal falls for French Henri, while Chuck balances crushes on two girls at theater camp. The refreshingly easy friendship between the two boys is overwhelmed by their sexual preoccupations, as well as underminded by a lack of plot that makes the salacious story seem interminable. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Voice of Youth Advocates Reviews

VOYA Reviews 2006 June

This novel is written as a blog between two fifteen-year-old boys who have been best friends for ten years. Because it will be their first summer apart, Chuck, who is spending six weeks at a nearby university in a summer arts theater camp, decided that a blog would be the best way to keep in touch. Hal is gay and recently “came out” to Chuck but not to anyone else and is prepared for a dull summer, looking forward to only a driver’s ed course and the prospect of getting his license. But then Henri Broussard, the son of a French diplomat, enters his life and Hal’s boring summer is suddenly transformed. Both boys are hoping to lose their virginity-Chuck with one of the divas in the musical and Hal with Henri. The voice of each character is distinct and authentic as they share their deepest secrets and the thrilling anticipation of their pending relationships. Sex happens, and Sloan’s characters do not couch it in euphemisms. Chuck and Hal chronicle this daily life in their blog, and what emerges is a genuine depiction of how two teenage boys view themselves and those around them. The characters are believable, and the blog enables them to bare their souls to one another. This book is for readers mature enough to handle some very direct, realistic, and often-humorous entries about heterosexuality, homosexuality, masturbation, and alcohol and marijuana use. This title would be ideal for discussion within Gay/Straight Alliance groups.-Lois Parker-Hennion 5Q 4P S A/YA Copyright 2006 Voya Reviews.

One thought on “Tale of Two Summers

  1. Pingback: Tale of Two Summers | Queer Young Adult Literature

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