A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Parents and teachers can use this book to talk about a wide range of topics, including Internet safety and also media featuring gay characters.
This is a book with a straight protagonist, but does feature gay characters, the fight for a Gay-Straight Alliance club at school, and a discussion of gay discrimination (while some characters use anti-gay slurs, Sal explains to Carlos how those words are hurtful).
Positive Role Models
Sensitive Carlos has his heart in the right place even though he doesn't always do the right thing (or fall for the right girl). Sal teaches him how to defend what he thinks is right.
Violence & Scariness
Carlos and one of his best friends fight on a school bus.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters "hook up" -- which means they get physical without a relationship. Characters have sex when parents aren't around and talk about getting "some oral."
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Some swear words (like "s--t"); often these words are of a sexual nature. There are some hate words for gay people, but also a discussion about how those words are hurtful.
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Products & Purchases
Some brands like McDonalds, Coke, Levis -- and the premise is inspired by Queer Eye For the Straight Guy.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this book features gay characters, whom the (straight) protagonist befriends and supports by helping form a Gay-Straight Alliance at his school. Characters "hook up," and both the hook-ups and the discussion of them among friends get pretty graphic. There's some swearing, as well as a physical fight between two friends on a school bus.
Is It Any Good?
The fun premise may be a bit of a stretch, but author Alex Sanchez effectively captures some realities of high school life. Young teens play around with sex without love, and even nice guys don't say anything when they see someone being picked on. This is Sanchez's first book without a gay protagonist, which may make it appeal to a wider audience, especially straight boys. The casual hook-ups -- which often begin with the Internet -- will shock parents more than any of the gay subject matter, and will certainly give families something to talk about (see our Internet Safety Guide).
This book is thicker than it needs to be, and readers may not care much about some secondary story lines -- like Carlos' mom's relationship. But readers will keep reading for more on sensitive Carlos, whose heart is in the right place even though he doesn't always do the right thing (or fall for the right girl).
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.