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Children's LiteratureSteven likes to square dance, has a girl for a best friend, and does not get warm and tingly over girlie magazines. Worried, he finds a book by Dr. Trent Beachum on how to make sure one's son stays "straight." After reading the book, Steven decides that he must become more of a macho guy; to achieve his goal, he begins to date—a girl a day—hang out with the jocks, and ignore his friend Rachel. After a number of mishaps, Steven finally admits to himself that he is gay. Shortly after, he comes out to Rachel and her parents, who confess that they have thought him gay for years. Emboldened by their response, Steven decides to tell his parents. His mother's reaction is to tell him that he is going through a phase; his father first makes him nervous by talking about the "queers" who served in the army with him, then surprises his son by commenting on the courage of those same two soldiers. Both interactions provide additional humor in a book that alternates between humorous and heart-warming. However, I was pretty amazed at how easily Steven came out of the closet and how accepting everyone was. I would like to hope that every young person would get this type of response but most of us know people who have had very different responses when they finally came out. That said, this is a pretty safe book for young people looking for a book that deals with gay issues. 2005, Arthur A. Levine Books, Ages 12 to 16.
—Jean Boreen, Ph.D.