In a short but nonetheless expressive coming-out story, a teen football player with a girlfriend discovers he has feelings for another boy.
When Brett first notices his attraction to Zach, a boy who sits next to him in art class, he wants to push it away. Brett and his friends are the kind of guys who ogle girls’ bodies and pick on boys they perceive as gay. As his feelings intensify, however, Brett is torn between acting on his attraction and acting out of his denial. Although the book is relatively short, it handles a variety of issues gracefully. Readers see Brett repeatedly ask his girlfriend Jillia to have sex, in part to distract himself from thoughts of Zach, and Jillia’s explanation that she ultimately says yes because Brett pressures her is both nuanced and poignant. Brett’s lashing out at Nate, the target of his teammates’ homophobic bullying, even after asking him for advice, is believable, though Nate’s willingness to help one of his bullies is slightly harder to swallow. The storyline with Zach resolves somewhat abruptly, but readers still come away with plenty to think about.
A welcome addition to the still-small field of teen books about bisexual characters. (Fiction. 12-16)