Monday, August 17, 2009

Absolutely, Positively Not... (YA)

Larochelle, David. 2005. Absolutely, Positively Not... Scholastic. 219 pages.

Everybody has at least one ugly secret, and mine is as ugly as they come. I square dance. With my mother. I'm not talking once-a-year square dancing. I'm talking serious square dancing, every week, where the women wear fluffy checkered skirts that stick out a yard on either side and the men wear matching cowboy shirts and everyone wears a big plastic name tag shaped like a music note. And the ugliest part of this secret is...I actually like it.

What should you expect from this one? A romantic comedy light on the romance and heavy on the comedy. Our narrator, Steven, doesn't have much figured out in his life. That doesn't mean he realizes this. This is a coming-out story with more laughs than angst. What is it about? A young guy who wants his driver's license (easier said than done when it comes to trying to pass his driving test)...and who is puzzling out his identity and sorting out his desires. He's confused.

On one of his trips to the library, he seeks out information, looking for answers and/or validation. What he finds in the outdated book Sex, Your Son, and His Future, is the message that his deviant desires are wrong but with some help can be corrected. So Steven begins trying really, really hard to be someone he's not. (He tries dating one girl after another after another.) He even tries aversion therapy--and inadvertently starts a new fad at school: wearing colored rubber bands on your wrists. But nothing seems to work.

Can Steven reach a place where he's happy to be "absolutely, positively" gay?

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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