Customer Reviews for

What They Always Tell Us

Average Rating 4.5
( 35 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 18 of 19 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2010

    Superb!

    This is the first book I have ever read that was about a gay boy my age. I had NEVER liked to read, but this book caught my attention. Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down!!!! This book is amazing, and honestly changed my life and left me reflecting on it for days after. Not only that, but after reading, i emailed the author, Martin Wilson, we have since exchanged a bunch of emails and he even sent me a signed copy of his book! He is a great guy and he has told a wonderful story! Please, if you only ever read one book, let it be this one.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Touching and well-written.

    Can't even review; just read it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Not cliche

    http://scholarberry.blogspot.com/

    "'...She said, 'Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you.'
    'Yeah, that's what they always tell us.'"

    What They Always Tell Us is Martin Wilson's debut novel. It is written in a simple way, although as a reader I feel like it was just filled with emotions unspoken with words.

    The book started with Alex's perspective. Alex is a junior who recently became a misfit. A social outcast, but the kind that wasn't picked on. You name it. But that happened even before he drank the Pine-Sol in a party. After that, everyone just started calling him a freak.

    His older brother, James, deep down, probably do too, to Alex.

    James--like everyone else--asked Alex why he did it. Not that Alex ever answers, of course. So James, like everyone else, starts to ignore Alex too.

    James just wants to get out of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Start over everything he messed up.

    Alex, on the other hand, just wants...something. He doesn't know yet.

    Then there's Nathen, who's always nice to Alex (even after the Pine-Sol "accident"--as James and their parents calls it). One night, Alex started jogging again like he used to and he met Nathen on the way.

    Nathen encouraged Alex to join the cross country team. Alex wants to know why he's nice to Alex. Why he's always been nice to Alex.

    There's also Henry, a 10 year old kid who lives next to Alex and James. A puzzle piece out of the place in Tuscaloosa. Henry, the kid who reads the DICTIONARY.

    What They Always Tell Us tells a different yet still heart breaking story about first love, boy to boy and how a teenager cope with ex-friends, exes, brothers, family and most of all; life.

    What I love about this book: Okay, so first of all, I'd never thought I'd read a boy-boy/girl-girl love kind of thing. Don't get me wrong, I have NO PROBLEM with it. But I liked this book. A lot. Because it's meaningful, and it's a good piece of literature. It's always nice to get glimpses of someone else's life who is totally the opposite. I like how Martin Wilson switches perspective from Alex and James, and I like how the characters developed throughout the book. :D

    What I dislike about this book: The beginning was a bit slow for me, the first 2 chapters. But I understand that Martin Wilson was trying to set the story up, so it's all good! :)

    P.S: I highly recommend this book if you really like books. If you can't handle the boy-boy part, then just don't read it really.

    http://scholarberry.blogspot.com/

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 30, 2011

    Highly Recommended - A Must Read For All!

    I think that this book was one of the most fascinating books I have yet to read. As a frequent reader of gay themed book this novel took a different approach that I enjoyed immensely. The writing style was detailed and clear and the alternating between the two main character's James and Alex had intertwined flawlessly - leaving you wanting to know more about each character. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, no matter the age or sexual orientation. "What They Always Tell Us" gave me the feeling of sadness and the feeling of wanting more when I turned that last page and last sentence - feelings that for me are rarely warranted. I will definitely continue to follow Martin Wilson and I will wait impatiently for his next novel.

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  • Posted November 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Randstostipher "tallnlankyrn" Nguyen for TeensReadToo.com

    We all have read stories about two siblings who at first get along and then quickly drift apart... with their outcome up to the author. WHAT THEY ALWAYS TELL US has that similar outline; however, Martin Wilson puts his own spin on it and creates a novel more real and even more original than anything else on the shelf currently.

    We are introduced to two brothers. First there is James, the older brother who excels in all areas, from academics to athletics. Then there is Alex, who is now considered to be the outsider. Because of an attempted suicide at a party, not only did his friends abandon him but also his brother.

    With this incident, James drifts apart from Alex, unsure of what his brother has become. As their life continues, two unlikely people bring them closer together.

    First is Henry, the boy next door, who is only ten but has family issues of his own as both parents are hardly there for him. For some odd reason, Alex is drawn to him, wanting to be a guardian toward Henry.

    Then there is Nathen, James' friend who notices Alex's interest and potential in running. At first just helping him out, Nathen's bond with Alex turns into something that not even James could have guessed at.

    WHAT THEY ALWAYS TELL US is full of heartwarming and breakout scenes that leaves the reader saying one thing: WOW! Certain scenes, such as when Alex confesses his actions and the reconciliation between the brothers, deserve an Oscar for such amazing writing. Martin Wilson develops all four characters in a way that is satisfying, and the chemistry between each of them is so heartfelt.

    Words just can't describe how powerful of a read WHAT THEY ALWAYS TELL US is. The only advice I can give you is to pick up the novel and read it (just make sure you have a box of tissues right next to you and an entire free day, because you are not going to want to put this novel down once you start!).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2009

    It's amazing!

    I absolutely loved this novel! I used every second of my free time reading this book, i finished it in four days! I felt addicted to it and even when i wasnt reading it, i found myself thinking about it. I'm a high school freshman so i can say first hand how realistic and relatable this book is. Kids need characters who they can relate too and feel a connection with, and this book definitley has them. I recomend this book to everyone but especially those who are in the process of finding themselves. Just remember "Dont forget to be the way you are!", a quote from one of my favorite Placebo songs, called Plasticine.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2009

    It's A Re-Reader!

    This book was one of the best I have ever had the chance to read. I enjoyed every minute of it. I have already recommended it to 3 friends, and am planning on reading it again. It is such a "real life" story, you dont know what is going to happen next!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2008

    Wonderful, Relateable, Well-Written First Novel

    Martin Wilson crafts a wonderful tale of teenage friendship, troubles & love (both familial & otherwise) among 4 boys that are growing up in suburban Alabama. ¿What They Always Tell Us¿ masterfully portrays today¿s teenage voice in a way to which almost anyone can relate. Much like an Altman film, Wilson creates characters that have their own disparate stories & then come together in a not unremarkable way. The writing style is also reminiscent of Louis de Bernières. Though the subject matter may rarely veer into the risque, it is never sensational nor is it used for anything other than logical plot advancement. (It is useful to keep in mind that Holden Caulfield¿s language was a bit racy, too.) Wilson¿s writing is ebullient without being pedantic, a rare trait in first-time authors. I would without reservation recommend this book for any person that enjoys a well-written, smart & relateable novel that cleverly and successfully explores teenage life.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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