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BooklistWhen Simon Barish, 17, comes out of the closet, it's certainly no surprise to his parents, but he is harassed at school in the conservative midwestern town where he lives, and one day there's a cross burning in the yard. It turns out that Simon's mom's biological dad is gay-she's never contacted him-and the family trip to San Francisco to meet him and his long-term partner in the gay capital of the world is a turning point for everyone. Woven into the story is the scientific controversy about whether homosexuality is hereditary. Simon's dad is a scientist, and he's researching whether finding a gay gene would lead to more abortions. More gripping than the intellectual arguments is the honesty of the personal drama. Simon is wonderfully drawn, from his feelings of lust and romance through his rising excitement at landing the lead in the school musical.
Best of all are the family scenes, from mutual irritation to furious quarrel to soppy embrace. With heartbreaking honesty, Goodman shows that they love each other, even if each of them can be "a royal pain." — Hazel Rochman