The God Box

Book review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
The God Box Book Poster Image
Gay Christian teen struggles with sexuality, religion.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Could lead to some good discussions of the topics raised in the book. For some ideas for getting started, see our "Families Can Talk About" section.

Positive Messages

This book asks readers to consider if a person can be both Christian and gay.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Readers will sympathize with confused Paul, who wants to do the right thing, if only he can figure out what that is. This book obviously takes a side in the central argument, but even readers who disagree with Paul's conclusions will find plenty to ponder.

Violence

Manuel is severely beaten during a hate crime. He also receives lots of threats.

Sex

Paul makes out with his girlfriend, but their relationship is pretty chaste. He looks at both straight porn and gay porn to test his feelings. Paul and Manuel hold hands at the movies and later dance at a school dance.

Language

Some anti-gay slurs and words like "damn."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book asks readers to consider whether a person can be both Christian and gay. There are some anti-gay slurs, and openly gay Manuel receives a threat; later, he is beaten severely. Paul makes out with his girlfriend and looks at both straight porn and gay porn to test his feelings. Paul and Manuel hold hands at the movies and later dance at a school dance.

Wondering if The God Box is OK for your kids?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 3, 4, 8, 9, and 14-year-old Written bycheatara March 23, 2012

A great coming of age novel!

It's a great coming out book, it lets kids see the bible from a different interpretation and points out very clearly that you can be both christian and gay... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byAvengingSon98 August 26, 2015
Teen, 13 years old Written byj-the-fanboy January 4, 2014

A Good Book For Gay Christian Teens and Their Guardians

The God Box is a truly noteworthy title in LGBT teen fiction. It captures much of the indecision, confusion, and fear that comes with being gay and Christian. I... Continue reading

What's the story?

Paul is a Christian teen growing up in a small Texas town. He has a longtime girlfriend -- but he also has homosexual feelings, feelings he tries hard to change. This gets more difficult to do when openly gay Manuel transfers to his school. Not only is Paul attracted to Manuel, he also is challenged by the new boy's ideas about Christianity -- especially his belief that it's OK to be both gay and Christian.

Is it any good?

The characters' back-and-forth analysis of Bible passages occasionally grows a bit tedious, but readers will be impressed with the amount of research Sanchez has done for his book. Not only does the author provide some challenging interpretations of the Bible, he also gives his readers information about the controversial ex-gay movement and about the rights of students to start their own gay-straight alliances at school.

THE GOD BOX tends to be a bit more issue-oriented than character-oriented (once openly gay Manuel comes to school, it seems like sexuality is all anyone can talk about). Even so, readers will sympathize with confused Paul, who wants to do the right thing, if only he can figure out what that is. They will also appreciate his well-drawn family, which includes a wacky and very tolerant grandmother and a conservative father who has a surprising -- and moving -- moment of bravery. This book obviously takes a side in the central argument, but even readers who disagree with Paul's conclusions will find plenty to ponder.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about religion and sexuality. How do you feel about the topics addressed in the book? What do you think of that book's conclusions?

  • In recent years there have been a lot more books featuring gay characters. Is the same true for other forms of media, like TV, movies, or video games? What do you think of this trend? What sort of impact does it have on our culture?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love coming-of-age stuff

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate