Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 11, 2008
From Goodreads: It’s true: After 17-year-old Ben’s father announces he’s gay and the family splits apart, Ben does everything he can to tick him off: skip school, smoke pot, skateboard nonstop, get arrested. But he never thinks he’ll end up yanked out of his city life and plunked down into a small Montana town with his dad and Edward, The Boyfriend. As if it’s not painful enough living in a hick town with spiked hair, a skateboard habit, and two dads, he soon realizes something’s not quite right with Billy, the boy next door. He’s hiding a secret about his family, and Ben is determined to uncover it and set things right. In an authentic, unaffected, and mordantly funny voice, Michael Harmon tells the wrenching story of an uprooted and uncomfortable teenaged guy trying to fix the lives around him–while figuring out his own.
My Review: I bought this at a library used book sale because the title caught my eye. I really didn’t pay attention to what the story was about so when I picked it up to read months later I was going in blind. The story was at first pretty anti-climatic – teenager acting out against his dad in typical manors. His dad announcing he was gay was the thing that set this whole story in motion. I wasn’t sure how this was going to be handled, especially after they moved to the small town the dad’s boyfriend grew up in. Honestly, the attitudes of those in the small town were pretty much spot on (from my own small town experience). Many people are intolerant, judgmental, and just plain mean about people who leave, and people who are different. And yet, there are always good people in the bunch too, and this story included them as well.
Ben spends these pages figuring out who he is, but also who his dad is. I think as teens many of us view our parents always in relation to them to being parents. We forget that they are people too – with their own demons and struggles. This book more than anything for me, is a story of a young man making this discovery and trying to come to terms with it.
A good premise, a nice range of plausible characters, and real emotions make this book a good read.