Alex Sanchez spent almost fifteen years working with youth. He is the author of the teen novels Boyfriends with Girlfriends, Bait, The God Box, Getting It, Rainbow Boys, Rainbow High, and Rainbow Road, as well as the Lambda Award-winning middle-grade novel So Hard to Say. Lambda Literary Foundation honored Alex with an Outstanding Mid-Career Novelists' Prize. He lives in Thailand and Hollywood, Florida. Visit him at AlexSanchez.com.
Gr 9 Up-Nelson, "out" to the world, is secretly in love with his best friend Kyle. Kyle doesn't look gay or advertise it, but since he hangs out with Nelson, he's subject to the same harassment at school. Kyle is secretly in love with Jason, a popular jock who has a popular girlfriend but who can't stop dreaming of sex with boys. When Jason, trying to sort out his confusion, shows up at a Rainbow Youth meeting, he is greeted by both "Nelly" and Kyle, who are as shocked to see him as he is to be seen. This uncomfortable confrontation starts the ball rolling down a path of deception, denial, revelation, and acceptance not only for the three young men, but also for their friends, family, and all concerned. This gutsy, in-your-face debut novel speaks the language of real life for gay teens, that of the ecstasy, heartache, and humor of first love (and sex), that of daily harassment and fear, that of having what it takes to stand up and be proud of who you are. There will no doubt be challenges to Rainbow Boys, much like the challenges of Judy Blume's Forever (Turtleback, 1975) when it was published in the 1970s. But please, have the courage to make it available to those who need it-it can open eyes and change lives.-Betty S. Evans, Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Nancy Garden author of Annie on My Mind and Good Moon Rising There are still woefully few books for young adults that explore in depth the coming-out process of young gay men. Alex Sanchez touches on nearly all the issues involved, taking his readers on a journey through the world of three gay teenagers as they struggle with virginity, sex, body image, denial, support groups, homophobia, activism, gay bashing, parental and peer reactions, Internet predators, HIV -- and love. Patricia Nell Warren author of The Front Runner Rainbow Boys may do for high-schoolers what Heather Has Two Mommies did for grade-schoolers -- inspire acceptance of gayness in both straight students and about-to-come-out students. James Howe author of The Watcher An important, groundbreaking book, Rainbow Boys takes an honest look at gay teen life today. The characters are enormously appealing and the situations as contemporary as the evening news. This is a book that could change thinking -- and could very well change lives.
Sanchez's debut novel chronicles the senior year of three gay teens struggling with issues ranging from coming out to first love to an HIV scare. The story lines communicate a hint of an educational agenda (Sanchez sprinkles in the names of support groups like Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays into the novel, and lists contact information for organizations at the end), but the characters' complicated feelings are well drawn, and readers will find themselves interested in each of the protagonists' lives. Sanchez creates modern situations that speak to contemporary teens: Nelson and Kyle stand up to their principal for the right to form a gay-straight alliance at their school, and Nelson has unprotected sex with a stranger he meets online. The relationship between Kyle and closeted jock Jason also develops realistically, and the awkward triangle among the three males builds subtly and convincingly. Readers will learn and understand both boys' perspectives, from Jason's fear that he will be found out to Kyle's growing agitation at his mixed messages. Some of the writing is stilted ("You would've thought the prodigal son had come home," Sanchez writes when Kyle finally connects with his father), and some of the language and sexual situations may be too mature for some readers, but overall there's enough conflict, humor and tenderness to make this story believableDand touching. Ages 12-up. (Oct). Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.