A heartwarming summer chronicle, ideal for teens struggling with their sexuality.

CANEVILLE SUMMER

It’s summer vacation in the small town of Caneville, La., and 17-year-old Sam LaHay has a secret in Decker’s debut young adult debut.

The story opens at the beginning of summer—Sam’s last as a high school student. For the teenager, summer means a steady job at his mother’s nursery, junk-food binges with his best friend El (short for “Eleanor”) and the chance of a romantic encounter with Evan, one of his co-workers at the nursery. Evan doesn’t know that Sam is gay. No one does—or so he thinks. Sam’s plans for an ideal summer take a turn when El gets a job at a craft store at the mall, giving her a completely different schedule than Sam’s. El manages to convince Sam to spend some time with Mikey, one of their classmates whom Sam finds slightly odd. The two spend a good part of an afternoon together until Mikey tries to kiss him. After that, Sam discovers that El and Evan are dating. After Mikey runs away following a fight with his father, Sam finds him and the two realize they have a lot to learn from each other about being gay in a small town. Though the book is largely focused on Sam wrestling with the idea of coming out, Decker spends an equal amount of time illustrating a teenager’s lazy summer life in a small town: the neighbors, the malls, the boredom. Young adult readers will appreciate Decker’s frank discussion of sexuality, and those facing a similar experience will find Sam’s story relatable and edifying. The conclusion is packaged a little too neatly, but overall the book is a sweet coming-of-age story made even more appealing by Sam’s quirky narration.

A heartwarming summer chronicle, ideal for teens struggling with their sexuality.

Pub Date: May 28, 2010

ISBN: 978-1441597380

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: July 7, 2010

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LONESOME DOVE

A NOVEL (SIMON & SCHUSTER CLASSICS)

This large, stately, and intensely powerful new novel by the author of Terms of Endearment and The Last Picture Show is constructed around a cattle drive—an epic journey from dry, hard-drinking south Texas, where a band of retired Texas Rangers has been living idly, to the last outpost and the last days of the old, unsettled West in rough Montana. The time is the 1880s. The characters are larger than life and shimmer: Captain Woodrow Call, who leads the drive, is the American type of an unrelentingly righteous man whose values are puritanical and pioneering and whose orders, which his men inevitably follow, lead, toward the end, to their deaths; talkative Gus McCrae, Call's best friend, learned, lenient, almost magically skilled in a crisis, who is one of those who dies; Newt, the unacknowledged 17-year-old son of Captain Call's one period of self-indulgence and the inheritor of what will become a new and kinder West; and whores, drivers, misplaced sheriffs and scattered settlers, all of whom are drawn sharply, engagingly, movingly. As the rag-tag band drives the cattle 3,000 miles northward, only Call fails to learn that his quest to conquer more new territories in the West is futile—it's a quest that perishes as men are killed by natural menaces that soon will be tamed and by half-starved renegades who soon will die at the hands of those less heroic than themselves. McMurtry shows that it is a quest misplaced in history, in a landscape that is bare of buffalo but still mythic; and it is only one of McMurtry's major accomplishments that he does it without forfeiting a grain of the characters' sympathetic power or of the book's considerable suspense. This is a masterly novel. It will appeal to all lovers of fiction of the first order.

Pub Date: June 1, 1985

ISBN: 068487122X

Page Count: 872

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1985

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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