Getting It: Book Review

In Getting It, Alex Sanchez delivers a poignant story about Carlos Amoroso, a 15-year-old boy who feels that life is passing him by. Unlike his friends, he's still a virgin. Even worse, he hasn't even kissed a girl. And the girl he wants to kiss most, the girl of his dreams doesn't even know he exists.

But when Carlos happens to sees Queer Eye on television, he gets an idea: if he asks Sal, the boy at school everyone says is gay, to give him a makeover, maybe the girl will finally notice him. Just as long as no one sees him talking to Sal and gets the wrong idea. Sal agrees to do it, as long as Carlos pays him and helps him start a GSA at their high school.

Sanchez really captures the awkwardness of adolescence in this light, quick read. Carlos and his friends speak with a shorthand and familiarity that pulls you right into their world and paints them all with a caring and humanity underneath all their hormonal sex talk. The story lets Carlos explore his negative and uncomfortable thoughts on homosexuality, as he slowly becomes friends with Sal. His room is cleaned and painted, his face starts clearing up, his wardrobe includes a belt buckle that reads SEXY, and his hair gets a new cut with highlights. But, more than anything, he makes a new friend, one to which he can tell anything, even though he's still not always comfortable with having an openly gay friend.

It should be noted that the book isn't the preachy, heavy-handed, GLSEN-approved prose it could have turned into. It is a real story about finding yourself, accepting others, and making a difference. The book shows Carlos as he explores his feelings, his family, his friendships, and starts to give power and voice to his own beliefs. Getting It is a great time spent reading, and showing the difference one person can make in your life, or that you can make in theirs.