Getting It

 
(i)

 

Unique premise makes gay-themed book stand out.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Parents and teachers can use this book to talk about a wide range of topics, including Internet safety and also media featuring gay characters. 

Positive messages

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

Carlos and one of his best friends fight on a school bus.

Sex

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."

Language

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. 

Consumerism

Some brands like McDonalds, Coke, Levis -- and the premise is inspired by Queer Eye For the Straight Guy

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

What's the story?

Inspired by Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Carlos asks openly gay student Sal to help with an image makeover, hoping to land the girl of his dreams. Sal agrees -- in exchange for Carlos' help forming a gay-straight alliance. Sal does improve Carlos' room, clothes, and hair -- but more than that, he teaches him how to stand up for himself and what he thinks is right.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The fun premise may be a bit of a stretch, but author Alex Sanchez captures some realities of high school life well -- where 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).

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about books that deal with gay characters. Sometimes books with these themes get pulled from school and library bookshelves -- what do you think about that? Do you think reading this story could be helpful for other teens struggling with their sexuality?

  • Lots of characters in this book experiment with Internet dating. This may provide a good opportunity for parents to talk about their own feelings and expectations about their teens' Internet relationships. For more advice, see Common Sense Media's Internet Safety for High School Kids Tips.

Book details

Author:Alex Sanchez
Genre:Coming of Age
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Publication date:October 1, 2006
Number of pages:224
Publisher's recommended age(s):12
Read aloud:14
Read alone:14

This review of Getting It was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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