Tips on Having a Gay (Ex) Boyfriend

Book review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
Tips on Having a Gay (Ex) Boyfriend Book Poster Image
Mature themes abound in tale about a teen's gay ex.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

This unique story will make teens think about tolerance and love -- and the challenges that exist for gay people and those who support them. Readers who like this book may read the sequel, Love (and Other Uses for Duct Tape).

Positive Messages

Will make teens think about tolerance and love -- and the challenges that exist for gay people and those who support them.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Carrie is thoughtful and honest about her confused feelings. She is never cruel to her ex-boyfriend, even though he has changed everything for her.

Violence

Two boys fight. Belle is attacked in the school hallway by a bully.

Sex

Belle and her boyfriend have had sex. Other characters kiss and fool around.

Language

Lots of derogatory words for gay people, and other words such as "bitch" and "f--k."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book centers on a teen girl whose boyfriend tells her he's gay. She recalls having sex with him and eventually kisses a new guy; her ex-boyfriend goes on to have a relationship with another boy. There is swearing, including derogatory terms for gay people. And there is a disturbing scene where Belle is attacked by a male bully at her school. Belle is an honest character and her unique story will make teens think about tolerance and love -- and the challenges that exist for gay people and those who support them.

User Reviews

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  • Kids say

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Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008

mmmmmmhmmm...

It's a really great book. I guess though you really should know your kid. Or if your kid knows themselves enough they'll get it theirselves like I did... Continue reading

What's the story?

After Belle finds out that her high school sweetheart is gay, she has to move on with her life, trying to deal with his new boyfriend, the small town gossip, her own new love interest -- and an intimidating bully who now seems fixated on her.

Is it any good?

The writer definitely has talent. She describes the cold Maine setting beautifully, using the icy, barren backdrop to emphasize the loneliness Belle feels after losing her boyfriend. She also shares wonderful details -- such as Belle and Dylan's trips to a small cemetery, where they imagine the lives of those buried there -- which give her characters some depth.

 

The problem is that she tries to pack too much into this novel: a gay boyfriend, their intolerant small town, his new relationship, her new relationship, a bully who begins targeting Belle -- and, oh yeah, there's also Belle's epilepsy. Hopefully, this author will continue to write, sharpening her storytelling skills to match her talent for detail.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the media portrays gay characters. Do you think the way Belle and her ex-boyfriend are treated seems realistic? Do you think books like this one do anything to change how we treat one another?

  • This book has a sequel called Love (and Other Uses for Duct Tape). Do you plan to read that one? Why are sequels fun to read -- what do you think makes authors interested in writing them? Also, why are publishers interested in printing a series?

Book details

For kids who love coming-of-age stories

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