The close and loving relationship between a teenager and his single mother takes a heavy hit in this intense story from the author of l Hadn't Meant To Tell You This (1994). Melanin Sun, 13, is unpleasantly surprised when Encanta Cedar's latest dinner guest turns out to be a woman--and a white woman to boot; that's nothing compared to his dismay when Encanta, after much sighing and hesitation, reveals that they are lovers. Mel's first reactions are predictable; except to say hurtful things, he clams up, retreating behind headphones and notebooks, rehearsing the common misconceptions about gays (freely using the words ""fag"" and ""dyke""), and agonizing over what will happen when his friends find out. Fortunately, Melanin Sun has inherited his mother's courage and intelligence, so after thinking hard about how central she is to what he truly values and trusts, he passes from rage to resentment to bewilderment, and, finally, acceptance. In Woodson's graceful, sometimes tender prose, most of the characters shine with very human complexity, each a melange of dreams and concerns, moods, hopes and doubts. Melanin Sun's inner journey will leave readers moved and reassured.