books

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.

Rainbow Boys: Book Review

By Jeff Walsh

It was strange to read Alex Sanchez's debut novel "Rainbow Boys" for the first time, knowing it had recently been banned from a summer reading list for its sexual content. Part of me had that at the back of my mind, wondering when it was going to get all hot and heavy… and then I hit the last page, wondering what I missed. It was a copy from the library, so maybe someone tore all the sex scenes out?

I should know by now that even implied sex between two teenaged boys is still too much for a lot of people to handle, but this is just a great book showing people in the early stages of accepting their sexuality taking their first awkward steps forward.

The three main characters are in their senior year of high school. Jason Carillo is the jock who decided to attend a gay youth group after talking to someone on a teen hotline. At the meeting, he sees two classmates (everyone's big fear when attending a local meeting for the first time), Kyle Meeks and Nelson Glassman. Jason isn't as surprised to see Nelson there, since he is called "Nelly" at school, and is flamboyant. But Kyle? That's a whole different story.

Alex Sanchez Interview

By Jeff Walsh

With the trilogy of books that began with "Rainbow Boys," Alex Sanchez created indelible characters that have helped thousands of gay young adults see fiction that reflected their lives. In his latest book "Getting It," Sanchez has fun with the idea of a straight teenager who wants to get the girl and, after seeing Queer Eye on TV, enlists the help of the gay kid in his high school to help him win her heart.

Sanchez spends most of his time writing in Thailand these days, so we did an interview over Skype recently.

Well, let's start with Thailand. That's interesting to me, because I spent six weeks there and actually wrote my novel longhand down on a beach on Koh Samui.

Oh, cool. When was that?

A little more than ...two years ago? Three? I'm just finishing it up now.

Excellent.

First Chapter: Orphan's Quest

By Pat Nelson Childs

Chapter One

Hunter's Moon

The cock crowed. The sun had just begun to creep above the Emerald Mountains. The autumn days still bore the sweetness of summer, but in the nighttime, cold air now swept over the peaks and high hills, leaving a crispness on the morning breeze. It wafted through the window of a dormitory room, and touched the faces of the two figures sleeping there. One of them yawned and sat up, shivering a bit as the bedcovers slid down and bared his torso. He stretched, flung back the grey woolen blanket and swung himself out of bed. Naked, and immediately chilled, he quickly headed for the basin to wash. The water, too, was ice cold, and he hurried through his ablutions so that he could dress.

This was Ely, a novice of the Brotherhood of the Noble Contemplative. He was a strapping lad of 17, with short brown hair, hazel eyes, and a wide, handsome face flawed only by a nose slightly crooked from a childhood break. Ely pulled on his muslin shorts and donned his robe, the cobalt blue color worn by all novices. Then he turned his attention to the still-sleeping figure in the other bed.

"Hey sleepy head," he said, giving the bed leg a kick. "Hey, Rokey! You're going to be late . . . again."

New Feature: First chapters of gay novels

Although this is launching as part of Brent Hartinger Week, we intend to eventually get a bunch of old and allnew gay books, especially those targeting the young adult market, posted online.

This will give people more than a review or context-less recommendations to find books that interest them.

My guess is that it will lead you to Amazon, your localbookstore, or the library, so you can continue reading....

Enjoy the first chapters from all three books in Brent's Geography Club series below, and we'll try and get more posted as soon as we can.

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First Chapter: Split Screen

By Brent Hartinger

I was standing far from daylight, deep in an echoing corridor of stone. The air was dry and dusty, and all around me, lifeless bodies lurched and groaned.

Then my best friend Gunnar motioned to me and my other best friend Min from over by a bulletin board next to a row of lockers. "Russ! Min!" he said. "You have to come see this!"

I was standing in the concrete hallways of Robert L. Goodkind High School, surrounded by sleep-deprived high school students. Hey, it was 8 A.M. - what'd you expect?

First Chapter: The Order of the Poison Oak

By Brent Hartinger

I was surrounded by fires, angry blazes raging all around me. The flames hissed and crackled, their blistering heat searing my exposed skin. I desperately wanted to run, but there was no escape. I was trapped by the heat. Any step I might take, any direction I might turn, the flames would flare up and engulf me.

Then the school bell rang, and the students around me began bustling off to class.

I was standing in the hallway of Robert L. Goodkind High School in the moments before my first period. I was surrounded by flames, yeah, but not the kind you might think. No, the fires that threatened me were the flames of hatred and suspicion that flickered in the eyes of my classmates. Why did I feel like the hallway of my high school was some perilous corridor of fire, and that the looks in the eyes of the other students were the flames of that blazing inferno? There is a very short answer to that question: earlier in the year, some friends and I had started the Goodkind High Gay-Straight-Bisexual Alliance. And now the whole school knew I was gay.

First Chapter: Geography Club

By Brent Hartinger

I was deep behind enemy lines, in the very heart of the opposing camp. My adversaries were all around me. For the time being, my disguise was holding, but still I felt exposed, naked, as if my secret was obvious to anyone who took the time to look. I knew that any wrong action, however slight, could expose my deception and reveal my true identity. The thought made my skin prickle. The enemy would not take kindly to my infiltration of their ranks, especially not here, in their inner sanctum.

Then Kevin Land leaned over the wooden bench behind my locker and said, "Yo, Middlebrook, let me use your shampoo!"

I was in the high school boys' lockerroom at the end of third period P.E. class. I'd just come from the showers, and part of the reason I felt naked was because I was naked. I'd slung my wet towel over the metal door of my locker and was standing there all goosebumpy, eager to get dressed and get the hell out of there. Why exactly did I feel like the boys' lockerroom after third period P.E. was enemy territory -- that the other guys in my P.E. class were rival soldiers in some war-like struggle for domination? Well, there's not really a short answer to that question.

taste the rainbow's picture

a book? me?

Today I bought a book. I never buy books, let alone read them. Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters is the first book that I have ever bought and read on my own accord. And you know what, it was the best eleven bucks I've spent in a long time. After reading so many comments on Oasis about this book, I just had to give it a try!

Anonymous's picture

Review Orphan's Quest on Amazon

Hi guys!

Okay, now that my book is listed on Amazon.com, I need people to review it. If you've already read Orphan's Quest, and have an account with Amazon.com, please, please PLEASE go rate and review it for me. The link to the Amazon listing is here:

Riku's picture

She's here!

We picked my Sister up from the airport today! I missed her so much. It's going to be hard to see her go...

She gets over here and she's immediatley back to her old habbits. X3 It's kind of funny actually.

So, we get her until January 3rd.

Anyways, my aunt keeps borrowing my GBLT books. It's kind of annoying/embarassing. I mean, it's great that she supports me and all, but...

bratalamay's picture

David Levithan

i went to the bookstore the other day and was searching through the books, getting ready to settle on a few that sounded kinda sorta interesting, but not really, when i found a book called The Realm of Possibility. i read the excerpt and found that it had a mix of gay and straight characters, so obviously i HAD to get it. the my dad read the back and noticed that the author David Levithan wrote another book called Boy Meets Boy. he found it on the shelf and handed it to me. i bought them both and was amazed when i started reading Boy Meets Boy (i have a thing about reading books by the same author in the order they were written :-P ).

Anonymous's picture

Orphan's Quest Now Available as an E-book

Great News!

My fantasy novel, Orphan's Quest, is now available as a pdf download! Why is that good news? Well, for one thing, you can read it on your computer without anyone knowing you're reading it. I mean, I want you to spread the word about the book, but let's face it, most of you are not totally, if at all, out yet, and although there's nothing on the book itself that indicates that the heroes in it are gay, better safe than sorry sometimes. Another great thing about it being available as a download is...IT'S CHEAP! The download costs only $6.35, less than half the price of the softcover, so even those of you with limited means can afford it, and those of you who want to make sure that the book doesn't suck before you start collecting them (it does not) can find out for less money.

Michelle Tea's 'Valencia' provides a guided tour through the urban dyke scene

By Jeff Walsh

If Michelle Tea ever has any regrets in life, it certainly won't be that she didn't live life to its fullest. Tea recently won the Lambda Literary Award for best lesbian fiction for her novel, Valencia, which documents one year in her life in San Francisco's Mission District. Valencia is a roller coaster ride through the urban dyke scene with Tea giving a guided tour of relationships, rubber gloves, sex work, and dead-end jobs. Any of our readers who want to wonder what it would be like to move to San Francisco and jump into the scene, Valencia is a good entry point. It will excite and scare you, as anything good in life should.

Soehnlein Delivers Gripping Debut Novel With "Normal Boys"

By Jeff Walsh

In "The World of Normal Boys," K.M. Soehnlein takes readers on a journey through the late 1970s in suburban New Jersey, a place where the seeds of 13-year-old Robin MacKenzie are beginning to grow in the shadows of New York City, an amazing place so close but yet so far from his life. Soehnlein's debut novel is a richly textured story that can go from heart-warming to heart wrenching in a page, due to his measured, rich storytelling.

Mommie Dearest

Christopher Rice makes a name for himself with amazing first novel

By Jeff Walsh

With A Density of Souls, Christopher Rice has sculpted an ambitious first novel that's deftly crafted with rich characters, an intriguing plot, and beautiful, articulate language. Unfortunately, most of the attention given to Rice in the media is due not to his creation, but to his creator: best-selling author Anne Rice.

Warren delivers character-rich gay youth novel

By Jeff Walsh, Oasis Editor

With the release of her new book "Billy's Boy" this month, Patricia Nell Warren writes the third novel in the series that began with "The Front Runner" in 1973. "The Front Runner," about a long distance runner who is outed on his way to the Olympics, has sold over 10 million copies to date, and may be turned into a film in the near future.

Dueling Gingrichs: Newt's lesbian sister's accidental activism

By Jeff Walsh

Her book is called "The Accidental Activist," and Candace Gingrich is making the most of this accident. Her book tracks her Speaker of the House brother Newt like a lesbian version of the documentary Roger & Me, in which a laid off auto worker tried to meet the head of General Motors. But for Candace, she actually meets her brother. He doesn't say anything of merit, though. Just flip remarks about her busy speaking schedule and an offer for a face to face meeting he wouldn't honor.

Author gives gay youth their due in new book

By Jeff Walsh

As the late Kurt Cobain used to sing on-stage in Smells Like Teen Spirit: "Our little tribe has always been and always will until the end."

Author Linnea Due, 47, agrees with Cobain, but says considering the strides and volume of books and information written for the gay community, youth have been snubbed in those advances.

Prayers for Bobby

A new book examines a gay son's suicide, and his mother's new life.

By Jeff Walsh

Bobby Griffith's four-year struggle with being gay and trying to live a Christian life ended on Aug. 27, 1983.

On that day, the twenty-year-old California man backflipped off a freeway overpass in Portland, OR., timing his leap so his body would be struck and killed by an oncoming tractor-trailer.

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