New Hampshire 16-year-old Sean Jackson has just said goodbye to his girlfriend Lisa, who’ll be a counselor at a Christian children’s summer camp across the lake from their small hometown, when he learns his parents have decided he should spend the summer in Georgia with his father working as a landscaper. In order to stay at home, Sean gets a job at the Pink Cone, a local ice-cream shop owned by the Fabulous (lesbian) Renée. There he meets outspoken, Jewish New Yorker Becky and 18-year-old Jay, who is smokin’ hot. Becky offers Sean pointers on the coming-out process (her family lives near Chelsea) and life in general; when she warns him about Jay’s motives, however, Sean turns a (love-struck) deaf ear. Woodward’s debut is a soapy, feel-good read that is low on conflict as well as surprises. Teens coming out today have it easier than in the past, but few will have it as easy as Sean, with his guidance counselor mother, his shockingly forgiving girlfriend, a boyfriend in the wings (for help recovering from first-love heartbreak) and sensei-yenta Becky, who dispenses wisdom faster than a hyper-caffeinated homo-Yoda. Myriad chest-and ab-ogling scenes and a graphic-for-the-age-range sex scene add verisimilitude.
Helpful and hopeful, if slightly unrealistic.