The God Box

Common Sense Media says

Gay Christian teen struggles with sexuality, religion.

Age(i)

2
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8
9
10
11
12
13
14
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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

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
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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 about a Christian teen questioning his sexuality. 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.

Families can talk 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

Author:Alex Sanchez
Genre:Coming of Age
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Publication date:October 9, 2007
Number of pages:224
Read aloud:14
Read alone:14

This review of The God Box was written by

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

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall 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.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 3, 4, 8, 9, and 14 year old Written bycheatara March 23, 2012
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

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. This is a book I've put away until my kids (ages 2, 4, 8 and 9) are slightly older.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byj-the-fanboy January 4, 2014
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

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. It is a good read for gay teens who are religious, and their religious leaders and parents. I strongly suggest this book for anyone who is in or has friends/relatives in the LGBT community. I would rate this as an "ON" for kids 13 and up because chances are, the kids have already done what Pablo did in the book- they've probably kisses, and watched porn, and held hands at the movies. A common age that kids question their sexuality at is 13, so this is why I would recommend this book so.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 15 years old Written byzyahpapaya December 31, 2010
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

AWESOME book, read it and other Alex Sanchez books!!!

This book was amazing! It teaches so much about stuggles gay teens, and people in general, face. Alex Sanchez's writing is GREAT. if you enjoyed reading this or you are interested in the topic: homosexuality, and finding out who you are, read "Rainbow Boys" by Alex Sanchez, and the rests of the Rainbow series!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

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