David Inside Out

David Inside Out

4.2 17
by Lee Bantle

David Dahlgren, a high-school senior, finds solace in running with the track team; he's a fast runner, and he enjoys the camaraderie. But team events become a source of tension when he develops a crush on one of his teammates, Sean. Scared to admit his feelings, David does everything he can to suppress them: he dates a girl, keeps his distance from his best

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David Dahlgren, a high-school senior, finds solace in running with the track team; he's a fast runner, and he enjoys the camaraderie. But team events become a source of tension when he develops a crush on one of his teammates, Sean. Scared to admit his feelings, David does everything he can to suppress them: he dates a girl, keeps his distance from his best friend who has become openly gay, and snaps a rubber band on his wrist every time he has "inappropriate" urges. Before long, Sean expresses the thoughts David has been trying to hide, and everything changes for the better. Or so it seems.

In this thoughtful yet searing coming-of-age novel, Lee Bantle offers a raw, honest, and incredibly compelling account of a teenager who learns to accept himself for who he is.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this somewhat uneven novel, David comes out as gay, first to himself, and then to friends and eventually to his mother. Along the way, he experiences plenty of angst, from a friend asking him to join the Gay/Straight Alliance he formed, to trying to figure out how to handle a close female friend who wants to be more than his buddy. David even strikes up an intense physical relationship with his track teammate (but while David hopes for romance, Sean tells him, "Guys fool around, you know. Nobody talks about it, that's all"). Readers will be moved by David's struggles, but he never really comes across as an authentic character, and many of the book's devices (like the reassuring counselor he connects with through a gay hotline) seem contrived. There are some exciting moments (David agonizes over a note he gets from a mysterious male admirer, wondering if it's a set-up, for example), but ultimately David's journey seems like well-tread territory. Ages 14-up.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
VOYA - Amy S. Pattee
When snapping the rubber band he keeps wrapped around his wrist fails to keep seventeen-year-old David's mind off guys, the cross-country runner wonders if this means he is gay. When David considers his available models—his openly gay friend, Eddie, and Sean, the good-looking captain of the cross-country team who taps David for casual sex but shrugs off commitment, saying "Guys fool around, you know. All the time." He wonders, "How can you be yourself if you don't know who that is?" Bantle's first young adult novel reads easily and is believable as a depiction of adolescent sexual questioning. David's first-person narrative balances the protagonist's social concerns with the romantic and downright lusty fantasies he entertains about Sean. When the two finally get together, the description is lightly erotic and tempered by David's and Sean's very different reactions. Although David's emotions and worries are well-explored in the novel, the secondary characterization is not as fully realized. In addition, pivotal relationships, such as David's friendship with Eddie as well as his attempt at romance with a female classmate named Kick, are left incompletely explored, particularly following a scene in which David and Kick attempt intimacy as a way of "testing" David's homosexuality. The conclusion of the novel, although not exactly pat, is reassuring and hopeful and realistically resolves some but not all of the minor conflicts introduced throughout. Reviewer: Amy S. Pattee
Kirkus Reviews
Track-team runner David Dahlgren writes fan letters to Barbara Taylor Bradford, listens to the Supremes and fantasizes about his teammates in the locker room, but he's not ready to accept the inevitable: that he's probably gay. All it takes are a couple of fumbled, uncomfortable trysts with his best girl friend Kick and several successful ones with his hot, closeted teammate Sean to figure out what feels right and what feels wrong. Time moves quickly in Bantle's first novel for teens-perhaps a little too quickly-leaving little time for the emotions that overwhelm David to sink into readers' minds. The short chapters function more as vignettes in David's coming-out process than as parts of a complete novel. However, the writing is meaty and full of well-conceived characterizations, believable plot devices and plenty of wisdom for teens trying to understand themselves. The relationships are obviously strong and fully formed-just not on paper. The sex scenes are just blurry enough to feel edited. The results? A well-intended first novel that feels like it went to the chopping block. (Fiction. YA)
From the Publisher

“The writing is meaty and full of well-conceived characterizations, believable plot devices and plenty of wisdom for teens trying to understand themselves.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Bantle describes the teen's emotional roller coaster in such an open and honest manner that readers will feel everything from his anguish to his elation. While this book will have wide appeal due to its universal themes of first love and the search for one's identity, it will be especially intriguing to readers who are struggling with their own sexuality. They will be able to understand and relate to David and his quest for self-discovery” —School Library Journal

“Bantle's writing is crisp and spare, with no sentimentality or long-winded introspection; his second novel is a refreshing contribution to the "coming out" genre and a powerful example of an honest teen voice.” —The Horn Book Magazine

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Product Details

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
5.74(w) x 8.52(h) x 0.78(d)
HL490L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Driving along Minnehaha Parkway on my way to see Kick, I felt like Archie going over to Veronica's. Not because she lived in a massive stone house and I mowed lawns for cash. Or because I was prone to Archie-type screwups. I felt that way because our relationship was two-dimensional.

And that was the test. Could I make it to the third dimension with her?

Rudolphs was packed like always on Saturdays. The buzz ricocheted off pink plaster walls as I squeezed through the rowdy crowd swigging beer in the entry. Eddie was sitting alone in back. "Kick's not here yet?" I asked, sliding my lanky frame into the fake-leather booth.

"In the bathroom—probably stocking up on cheap dispenser condoms," he said, straight-faced.

"Yeah, right."

"Don't be so sure she's not. That girl is in heat." I gave him a look. "Your ears must have been burning," he said.

"You talking about me?"

"Mmhmm. Your sex life."

"What!" I crunched down on an ice cube. "Who brought that up?"

"Kick wants to know why you're so slow."

"She said that?"

"Yeah." Eddie turned the salt shaker on its side and spun it. "Why are you so slow? No, really, I want to know."

"Shhh! She's coming," I said.

"There you are, David," Kick said, sliding in next to me. "What took you so long to get here?"

"I got lost."

"That's pathetic." She patted my hand like I was five. "How many times have you been downtown Minneapolis?"

"Downtown!" Eddie replied. "You call this downtown? I can't wait for us to be in New York, Kick."

"New York?" I asked.

Eddie nodded. "We're applying to NYU."

"You are? Both of you?" I looked at Kick.

She nodded and handed me a menu. "I want to go to .film school."

Oh, sure, I thought, but didn't say it. "I'm staying here," I said.

"Why? Cut loose a little bit," Eddie said.

The waiter came over. Which was good. Eddie gets on this rant that I'm uptight and who needs it? I ordered the house special: slow-cooked country ribs with corn on the cob, onion rings, and buttermilk rolls.

"Just a large salad for me," Kick said. "Dressing on the side."

I studied her lips as she recounted her adventure to the Mall of America the night before. They were plump, freshly remoistened with gloss. She smiled at me. I sat up straight, brushing the hair out of my eyes. Did she want me to make a move? How?

"My mother is really losing it with me," Kick told us. "I got home a half hour late. Twelve-thirty instead of midnight. Okay, maybe it was quarter to one." She sighed. "Now I have to be home every night by ten. Including weekends."

"For how long?" I asked.

"Until further notice."

"Poor baby," Eddie said.

"She's trying to ruin my life. It's envy."

Two platters of ribs arrived, sitting in lakes of barbecue sauce and topped with mounds of golden brown rings. Eddie had both paws covered in sauce in seconds, but I tried to hold back. The waiter set Kick's salad down, and she began poking at it, looking at our plates longingly. I speared her a perfect ring. After cutting off the breading, she ate it slowly, savoring each nibble. I don't know why she didn't eat more. So what if she was chubby.

As Eddie and I gorged, I let my knee brush against hers. She reached down and held it there. My heart sped up. Were we moving into a new dimension? Because you don't hold people's legs under the table if you're just friends.

"You look cute tonight," she said to me.

"I do?"

"Please," Eddie interrupted, reaching for another half ear of corn. "I'm eating."

Kick laughed and took her hand off my leg. Was I supposed to touch her knee now? I wiped my .fingers on a wet-nap in preparation. Should I just drop my hand on her? Were you supposed to squeeze? As I reached for her leg, Kick's leather bag started squawking like a chicken. "What's that?" I asked, pulling my hand back.

She took out her cell phone and answered it. "My mother," she mouthed. It was after 10:00.

"The depressing thing," Kick said, standing up, "is that she thinks I'm out having sex." She threw up her arms. "I don't even have a boyfriend." Kick looked at Eddie and then me. "But maybe that will change." She dropped a ten on the table, stole an onion ring from my plate, and disappeared into the crowd.

Excerpted from DAVID INSIDE OUT by Lee Bantle
Copyright © 2009 by Lee Bantle
Published in 2009 Henry Holt and Company, LLC

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher

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Meet the Author

LEE BANTLE is the author of the middle-grade novel Diving for the Moon. He is an attorney and lives in New York City.

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David Inside Out 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
LoonyMoonyy More than 1 year ago
i read this book literaly in one hour i just couldn't put it down. a great read i would recomend it to any one
Benette_W More than 1 year ago
The second I finished reading this book, I jumped on-line so I could express my excitement over this incredibly important piece of young adult literature. Lee Bantle has masterfully captured the ubiquitous angst of adolescence, only this time much of the heartbreak centers on self discovery related to a teenager's sexuality. Although the story will be especially relevant to kids who are experiencing emotions similar to David's, the question it poses is universal-- How do we come to accept ourselves so we can live an authentic life? -- that's why I recommend the book for all teens experiencing the struggles of growing up. And don't get the idea that this book is a downer or too heavy duty. Bantle manages to write a heartfelt piece that offers up as much laughter as it does tears. A sincere, lovely book in all respects. (And I love how he writes about food.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My uncle wrote this book. He gave me the manuscript of it before it came out. I definitly reccomend it! Even though it is a young adult book it is more for the older part of young adults. 13 is the youngest someone should be to read this book and that's still a little young. Buy the book and read it. If you have a face book you can become a fan of Lee Bantle, the author. This is a great story because it acheives so many things from enjoyable, to heartwarming, to self discovery. It includes many aspects of life. Happy Reading :)
Emma-Baily More than 1 year ago
When I first picked up this book I did so because it reminded me of a friend. I thought it'd be a fun read. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book wasn't just something good to read on a Sunday afternoon, it was truly inspiring and honestly so helpful to someone questions themselves. The first time I read it through, I really enjoyed it, but I think to truly appreciate it, I had to read it again. It's a great story, which I could identify with on so many levels. Even if you're not gay, or bi, it's still a great love story with a healthy amount of triumph and drama included. A definite must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Godiva_the_Poodle More than 1 year ago
Well, I'm probably going to sound immensely whiny, but... the way the story plays out is beyond irritating! Sure characters make mistakes, all good novels have that element, but I felt like reaching inside the text, and slapping David upside the head. I mean, he trusted Sean, a total jerk, WAY too much, and basically let himself become his tool for getting off. That's fair. And then he treats his gay best friend like he is an alien, or something, for pretty much the whole novel. Look, the book is good, but the fact I read it two days again and I can't even remember the friend's name tells me that it isn't a piece of art. I wouldn't actively discourage reading it, but- actually, I might. Or at least purchasing it. At under 200 pages, it's pretty thin, and probably not worth the time or money. Whatever. It's not terrible. I liked it. I forgot about it. The ending was good, though, I can remember that much. If you've bought it already, read it, but I would say that unless you are dead-set to purchase it, reconsider.
La_Femme_Readers More than 1 year ago
My Rating: 4.5 David Inside Out was a novel about self-discovery which offered an evoking plot and endearing characters. I've never had the chance to read a GLBT book until now. I must say, Lee is an extraordinary author who has the ability to grab readers from start to finish. The quality behind the story was sincere and powerfully impressive. David's personality was amazing; he had a good head on his shoulders and a caring heart. However, the struggle within himself was confused and lost. His mind told him to like girls while his body yearned for his track mate, Sean. In addition, David started pushing away his recent, openly gay best friend in fear of coming to terms with his true feelings. Sean was perceived as a "straight" guy that quickly started befriending David. At first, I didn't quite understand what he was trying to prove with David. Was he straight or gay? All I found out was Sean was selfish, vile and ignorant. Just thinking about him makes me shudder with anger. I felt sorry for David's vulnerable state of mind. However, I didn't think he was playing it smart by acting like a sucker. Another character I found interesting was David's closest girl friend, Kick. I respect her determination to make him her boyfriend even though he obviously showed opposite signs. All through David Inside Out, Lee presented real issues that not only gay teens could relate to but, also individuals who have experienced discrimination in their lives. The gladsome ending wrapped up well and I finally got to see David's true nature. I liked Lee's writing style and look forward to picking up more works by him. I also need to warn my young readers that this book contains sexual content, so proceed with caution.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
DAVID INSIDE OUT was a book that I'd been looking forward to reading for awhile and I'm grateful I was given the chance to review it. It's a very fast read: I got so caught up in the story, I was able to finish it in only one day. David's best friend, Eddie, comes out as gay and shows that he doesn't care - it's just the way he is. David, on the other hand, pushes him away so people won't call him "gay by association" if you will, and pretends that he doesn't have the same feelings. He even acts as if he likes his other best friend, Kick, who has a crush on him...but eventually the truth will need to come out and he's simply prolonging the inevitable. No matter what though, I was happy to see that Kick and Eddie's reactions to David were realistic and genuine. That's how I would describe the whole book, actually. Sean and David's "relationship" seemed real, as Sean refused to admit his sexuality, while David begins to see that it might be the right thing to do. I loved these characters and I honestly felt for all of them, no matter how they were managing their lives. Whether you are gay or not, it's hard to "come out" and be true to yourself. Life tries to tell you how to be and this book definitely focuses on how these lives are changed while they come to terms with who they are and who they love. Definitely recommended. I have a feeling this will be one of those underdog books, so I really hope people will pick up a copy and spread the word.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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imeowbooks More than 1 year ago
i think the book was good, this book is very important to my bestfriend and i, my friend is gay and im the bestfriend, everyday we would go to barnes and nobles and he would read it while i would be reading something else. after everytime we would hide it cause it was the last copy. i didnt read the book but my friend would stop and and tell me everything that was going on. my idea is that david and sean were both very confused i really wasnt to into the characters but i enjoyed spending the time with my bestfriend and seeing him enjoy every minute of it.
DanVA More than 1 year ago
Between track, school, college applications, and relationships David learns more about himself and others in many life-changing experiences. For David, life isn't without challenges, with his father dying when he was five, high school classes, and now: coming to terms with his feelings towards men. While going through this self-discovery, he is fortunate to have great support of his mother, who always seems to be there to lift him up just enough. His journey regarding his homosexuality started when his friend Eddie, an openly gay more effeminate character, who shares his love of romance novels, came out of the closet. At the moment, David wasn't too keen on the idea of being gay and didn't want to be involved with anything having to do with being gay including being around his best friend. However, he was still attracted to an eye-catching track teammate, Sean. To avoid homosexual thinking, David wore a rubber band around his wrist and snapped it to try to stop those thoughts. The attractive runner, Sean, and David's relationship continued to evolve and became racy and romantic. Through their relationship they learn more about themselves in regards to their homosexuality, but also more about how they should treat people and their general identities. Sean turns out to be not the most perfect guy in the world, but also seems to be going through similar issues that David is facing. Throughout the story, David faces homophobia through negative comments from Parker, who consistently makes homophobic remarks and even defaces a Gay-Straight Alliance sign. At first David is hesitant to take a stand against such homophobia by not being a part of the Gay- Straight Alliance his friend Eddie is trying to start. However, he becomes more confident about who he is and less afraid of being gay, and being seen with other people that are gay. In the end, David becomes more comfortable with his sexuality. His relationships with Sean, Eddie, and Kick all change as he discovers more about himself. The novel's ending has many twists, which certainly makes the book much more interesting and less predictable. David's struggle with identity and coming out is quite authentic, relatable, and tangible. The experiences draw the reader into the storyline whether positive, questioning, or negative. I liked the utilization of the hotline as a resource for LGBTQQ teens. DAVID INSIDE OUT is quite funny, due to David's thoughts and comments made by other characters, such as Eddie. Bantle skillfully develops David's relationships with other characters, particularly his mother and Sean. One question on identity I found insightful was: "How can you be yourself if you don't know who that is? (9)". People constantly say "be yourself" and I thought this was a great way of addressing that idea and the struggle regarding identity formation facing teens. One area I would have liked to see more development would be Eddie's background and his coming out struggles. This may be an interesting idea for a possible sequel. The book, overall, was a positive, enjoyable, easy read and a nice addition to LGBTQ coming of age young adult literature, and leaves the reader with the message that it is okay to be gay and is a part of who one is as an individual and your friends may continue to be your friends regardless of sexuality.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago