Is there anything but the priesthood in Jonah’s future?
Fifteen-year-old Jonah loves being an altar boy; he’s stuck with it much longer than his contemporaries in the small, northern New England resort town of Lake Henry. He plans to be a priest, but his love of Jesus Christ (whom he familiarly refers to as JC) may be more physical than spiritual. He becomes more certain of his sexuality when he falls hard for his older sister’s rich, model boyfriend…and the attraction is mutual. When some conclusion-jumping leads parishioners (and later the Internet) to believe Jonah is holy enough to see the future and to heal, coming out seems the only way out. Martin’s debut is narrated by a clumsy mashup of two stock characters: the sarcastic, closeted teen and the pious altar boy planning to hide his homosexuality in the priesthood. Jonah does, however, become less of a mess when true lust comes his way, and his supporting cast and milieu are realistic enough. The narrative sparks several times but never ignites; it’s too choked with unnecessary scenes and background and lengthy descriptions. Even those few who can identify with Jonah will likely not make it to the potentially touching denouement.
This morass of subplots and clichés can easily be ignored. (Fiction. 14-18)