Steven is a typical teenager: he’s trying to get his drivers license, he feels disconnected from his parents, and he is trying hard to fit in at his high school. But in many ways he is not a typical teenager. He enjoys square-dancing with his mom, he finds himself thinking about his new teacher Mr. Bowman more often than he would like, and he keeps a men’s underwear catalog under his bed! He struggles to prove to himself, and the world that he is not gay by doing anything he can think of: buying Playboy, dating as many girls as possible, even eating lunch with the hockey team! Somehow these schemes go awry: he ends up purchasing a copy of a parenting magazine instead of Playboy, his dates, although numerous, never quite seem right, and the jocks at the hockey team table mostly ignore him. Next he tries wearing a rubber band on his wrist, as a punishment for thinking about Mr. Bowman, but that turns into a trend at his high school, and doesn’t seem to stop him from thinking about his teacher. As he begins to accept that he is gay, he agonizes over “coming out,” especially to his parents. In fact, to avoid telling them, he takes his friend Rachel’s dog Kelly to the prom! When he comes out to his best friend Rachel, he’s horrified to find out that she had guessed it all along. She becomes so supportive that she proposes forming a club. While Steven isn’t ready to broadcast his coming out by joining a club, he does seek out a support group in another town. Steven's next step will be telling his parents, but how will they react? And will he ever find love?
While the vocabulary, dialogue, and style of the writing are not especially distinctive, the topic of the book is timely and unique. The book merits discussion based on the clever way it deals with the topics of homosexuality and acceptance.
I enjoyed this book. There was a great deal of humor presented through the narrator, both in his use of metaphors and the situation in which he found himself. I think the inclusion of so much humor is a nice touch on the part of the author considering the depth and heaviness of this topic has the potential to bring to a book. I think young adults will definitely appreciate the humor in the story, and the way such a serious topic is made accessible to them without taking away any of the intellectual context of the topic. I would absolutely recommend this book.
On a side note, I think that the paperback cover, with the superhero, is way more fun than the hardcover.