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WE ARE GAY YOUTH ON THE NET!

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RAINBOW BOYS: GAY YOUTH BOOK OF THE YEAR Review by Eric Eshl

rainbowboys.jpg (5997 bytes)It would be insufficient praise to call Rainbow Boys the gay youth book of the year simply because Alex Sanchez's debut novel is even more than that -- it's one of the year's ten best, regardless of genre and intended audience.

The Rainbow Boys of the story's title are three very different high school seniors. There's Kyle, a smart and quiet swimmer who'd almost fit in if it weren't for his best friend, Nelson -- or "Nelly," as he's taunted on a daily basis. Nelson, the official school fag, sports numerous piercings, wild haircuts and wants to start a Gay-Straight Student Alliance. And then there's Jason Carillo, the superjock, the dreamboat, the most popular guy in school, who, in this tale, just happens to be gay.

From the first chapter of Rainbow Boys, Sanchez hits the ground running. Not since Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City have I read a book featuring gay characters that wouldn't let me put it down. Technically, Rainbow Boys is a teen novel -- about teens, for teens, written in a style that teens will have no trouble reading. But anyone, regardless of age, will find something to like about this book. Rainbow Boys is charming, compelling and too socially relevant to ignore.

Most importantly, gay and questioning youth will find Rainbow Boys to be nothing short of a revelation. Kyle, Nelson and Jason are as real as you're going to find in gay fiction today. The dialogue and situations that kick off and propel the story and its characters toward their destinies are familiar and fresh, realistic and fascinating, shocking and satisfying.






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