These reviews have been copied from the New York Public Library’s Website – http://www.nypl.org
School Library Journal
SLJ Reviews 2008 January
Gr 9 Up— Conservative, closeted, and a Christian, Paul has a girlfriend and sticks to the straight and narrow in his small Texas town. He’s changed his name from Pablo to appear more American, and he keeps his mouth shut when it comes to hot topics, like who is gay and who isn’t—until Manuel, who happens to be openly gay and Christian, wanders in on his turf. The new guy slips easily into the high school senior’s mostly accepting circle of friends and his Bible-study group. Before he knows it, Paul finds himself spending more and more time around Manuel, who simultaneously bends his heartstrings and his belief system. The results are a boxing-ring-like philosophical and spiritual debate on the intersection of homosexuality and religion. Sanchez’s cleverly diverse characterizations, conversational stylings, and sense of humor lighten this potentially daunting theme. Plus, the brewing romance between the pair—not to mention the dissolution of Paul’s romance with his loyally lovable girlfriend—keeps the pages turning during even the most excruciatingly detailed Bible-passage battles between the two warring parties. These rightfully thought-provoking debates—most of which happen either in after-school Bible study or between Paul and Manuel—make Sanchez’s latest an intense, necessary addition to the burgeoning LGBTQ teen lit canon.—Hillias J. Martin, New York Public Library
[Page 124]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Booklist Reviews 2007 October #1
Paul, a high-school senior and a committed Christian, loves his girlfriend, but worries about the feelings he has for guys. Then Manuel, openly gay, comes to town. Manuel says he’s a Christian, too, but Paul doesn’t understand how those two things are compatible. As the two become friends, Paul is both attracted to Manuel and repulsed by his feelings, and he continuously prays to be straight. God seems to have another path for him, though. Everyone plays an assigned role here: Paul, the conflicted gay; Manuel, secure in his sexuality; Angie, the confused girlfriend; the prejudiced jocks; the hate-the-sin, love-the-sinner pastor. There’s even a throwback to early gay literature when someone almost dies because of his sexuality. Manuel seems the least real. Relentlessly upbeat, he knows the Bible better than most preachers, and is always ready to show the real intent behind chapter and verse. More authentic is Paul’s confusion and how he uses the Bible to find answers. His investigation of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, often quoted by homophobes, is particularly eye-opening. Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.
The Horn Book
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Spring
Pablo (a.k.a. Paul), a devoutly Christian Mexican American, must do some heavy self-reflection after Manuel, who’s openly gay, moves to Paul’s small-minded Texas town. Though most of the supporting characters are cardboard, readers questioning their own sexuality may see themselves in Paul. Others will likely lose patience with his repeated vacillation between tentative homoerotic fantasy and the ensuing mental self-flagellation. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Voice of Youth Advocates Reviews
VOYA Reviews 2007 October
Gay-positive Sanchez, author of Rainbow High (Simon & Schuster, 2004/VOYA December 2003), offers a story here that will resonate with Christian youth who are aware of their own or a close friend’s gay orientation. Paul (né Pablo), a senior at a small-town, Texas high school, has been dating his best friend, Angie, for years. When a new-and openly gay-student appears on the scene, Paul struggles with his attraction to Manuel, his inability to feel the same sort of attraction for Angie, and above all, the fundamentalist Christian equation of homosexuality with evil that he has internalized.Sanchez addresses theological interpretations head on but through credible use of teen dialogue and ponderings. Manuel is no less Christian in his convictions than is Paul and encourages his new friend to think beyond the anti-gay Biblical interpretation that Paul’s pastor preaches. Angie is as saintly as her name suggests, but there are bullies in the story as well. Manuel’s beating at the hands of some football players is stereotypical only because such scenes have been staple in so many young adult novels, but it rings true in terms of the context of this particular story and its setting. In the end, the protagonist not only owns his sexual orientation but can admit to his Mexican heritage and given name, Pablo, as well. Identity-sexual, ethnic, and religious-are each compelling to teens, and this novel treats all three openly and honestly.-Francisca Goldsmith 4Q 3P S Copyright 2007 Voya Reviews.