Easygoing Vermonter Andrew discovers the complexities of spirituality and sexuality in this heartfelt debut.
Andrew has two best friends in his life—smart, understanding Marcia and vivacious, flirtatious Sara. The girl he really wants, though, is ever unobtainable Laura, who socializes only with members of her fundamentalist church. When a tragic accident, just days before the class of 1995 graduates, leaves one friend incapacitated and the other helping with round-the-clock care, Laura (perhaps playing on Andrew’s vulnerability?) invites him to join her evangelical group. Seizing any opportunity for a chance to be near Laura, he accepts. Andrew’s surprised, however, when he feels a stirring inside (or is he just hungry and dehydrated?), when he kind of likes their touchy-feely interactions (but do guys really touch like that?), and when a seemingly virginal girl makes sexual advances (but hasn’t he always wanted Laura?). His confusing and overwhelming emotions ring true as he begins to question a wide range of religious and sexual experiences. Further complicating Andrew’s transitional summer are an alcoholic father and star-athlete brother, both prone to violent behavior, especially toward him. Moments of wry humor compliment Andrew’s subtle changes as he realizes there are no easy answers, perhaps not even one right answer. Readers will cheer him on as he makes a path to find his answers.
A stellar voice to watch. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)