The God Box

( 71 )

Overview

Paul, a religious teen living in a small conservative town, finds his world turned upside down when he meets Manuel—a young man who says he’s both Christian and gay, two things that Paul didn’t think could coexist in one person. Doesn’t the Bible forbid homosexuality? As Paul struggles with Manuel’s interpretation of the Bible, thoughts that Paul has long tried to bury begin to surface, and he finds himself re-examining his whole life. This is an unforgettable book on an extremely timely topic that strives to ...

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The God Box

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Overview

Paul, a religious teen living in a small conservative town, finds his world turned upside down when he meets Manuel—a young man who says he’s both Christian and gay, two things that Paul didn’t think could coexist in one person. Doesn’t the Bible forbid homosexuality? As Paul struggles with Manuel’s interpretation of the Bible, thoughts that Paul has long tried to bury begin to surface, and he finds himself re-examining his whole life. This is an unforgettable book on an extremely timely topic that strives to open minds on both ends of the spectrum.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"With candor, conviction, and compassion, Alex Sanchez dramatizes the plight of teens who struggle to balance their homosexuality and their deeply felt religious beliefs. An important, heartfelt book that deserves a wide readership." — Michael Cart, editor of Love & Sex: Ten Stories of Truth

"Alex Sanchez evokes the crucifying experience of adolescents wrestling with their sexual identity and their identity as Christians. This book is a gift not just to teenagers, but to those who love and work with them." — The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate, the Episcopal Church

VOYA - Francisca Goldsmith
Gay-positive Sanchez, author of Rainbow High (Simon & Schuster, 2004/VOYA December 2003), offers a story here that will resonate with Christian youth who are aware of their own or a close friend's gay orientation. Paul (nT Pablo), a senior at a small-town, Texas high school, has been dating his best friend, Angie, for years. When a new-and openly gay-student appears on the scene, Paul struggles with his attraction to Manuel, his inability to feel the same sort of attraction for Angie, and above all, the fundamentalist Christian equation of homosexuality with evil that he has internalized. Sanchez addresses theological interpretations head on but through credible use of teen dialogue and ponderings. Manuel is no less Christian in his convictions than is Paul and encourages his new friend to think beyond the anti-gay Biblical interpretation that Paul's pastor preaches. Angie is as saintly as her name suggests, but there are bullies in the story as well. Manuel's beating at the hands of some football players is stereotypical only because such scenes have been staple in so many young adult novels, but it rings true in terms of the context of this particular story and its setting. In the end, the protagonist not only owns his sexual orientation but can admit to his Mexican heritage and given name, Pablo, as well. Identity-sexual, ethnic, and religious-are each compelling to teens, and this novel treats all three openly and honestly.
Children's Literature
This novel about the anguish of a gay high school senior from a conservative Christian background is carefully plotted to cover related Biblical interpretations, high school bigotry, and self discovery in a realistic way. Paul has a girlfriend he has been friends with since grade school. But when a new student, Manuel, admits that he is gay and tries to be Paul’s friend, Paul feels threatened. Since adolescence Paul has felt “different” but does not want to admit it to himself. Especially since his faith condemns homosexuality. As Paul presents the Biblical arguments against homosexuality, Manuel counters with broader interpretations of the same passages. As Paul begins to admit the truth to himself and wants to share that truth, there is still the threat of exclusion by his peer group, his girlfriend, and his father, plus real physical threats from some high school students. Paul’s grandmother who visits from Mexico on important holidays, is a source of strength. This book will be of great help to those from a conservative religious background who grapple with being gay. The story is exciting and right on target. Reviewer: Carlee Hallman
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up
Conservative, closeted, and a Christian, Paul has a girlfriend and sticks to the straight and narrow in his small Texas town. He's changed his name from Pablo to appear more American, and he keeps his mouth shut when it comes to hot topics, like who is gay and who isn't-until Manuel, who happens to be openly gay and Christian, wanders in on his turf. The new guy slips easily into the high school senior's mostly accepting circle of friends and his Bible-study group. Before he knows it, Paul finds himself spending more and more time around Manuel, who simultaneously bends his heartstrings and his belief system. The results are a boxing-ring-like philosophical and spiritual debate on the intersection of homosexuality and religion. Sanchez's cleverly diverse characterizations, conversational stylings, and sense of humor lighten this potentially daunting theme. Plus, the brewing romance between the pair-not to mention the dissolution of Paul's romance with his loyally lovable girlfriend-keeps the pages turning during even the most excruciatingly detailed Bible-passage battles between the two warring parties. These rightfully thought-provoking debates-most of which happen either in after-school Bible study or between Paul and Manuel-make Sanchez's latest an intense, necessary addition to the burgeoning LGBTQ teen lit canon.
—Hillias J. MartinCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Hispanic high-school senior Paul has struggled to overcome his attraction to boys, placing his prayers on slips of paper in an ornately carved "God box" in hopes the feelings will be taken away. He also dates best friend Angie and prays he will soon be sexually attracted to her. A new student arrives at their small-town Texas school, and Manuel comes out on his first day. He shocks the Bible Club by not only professing to be Christian but in more than holding his own in scripture-heavy debates. Manuel and Paul's friends start a GSA and deal with homophobia. After a six-month struggle and a tragedy, Paul realizes he can't love God or anyone if he doesn't love himself. Sanchez takes on the myth that homosexuals are ungodly in this sometimes melodramatic tale. Occasionally reading more like a manual on dispelling homophobic misinterpretations of Bible verse than a novel, this is still an important work about self-acceptance and the meaning of God's love. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416909002
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 5/5/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 263,092
  • Age range: 12 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Alex Sanchez
is the author of the Lambda Award-winning So Hard to Say. His other books include Rainbow Boys and Getting It. Visit Alex at www.AlexSanchez.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 71 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(55)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 71 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    AMAZING

    i am neither gay nor christian but this book was great for insight and perspective. WARNING:IF YOU, LIKE ME, ARE LIBERAL AND GAY-TOLERANT, THE CONSERVATIVES IN THIS BOOK WILL MAKE YOU VERY ANGRY!

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Must-Read for people struggling with sexuality and spirituality

    Out of all of the books i've read about sexuality, this is the best one i have read yet. If you've ever had doubts about sexuality and spirituality, or even just one of the two, this book is a major help. It's a great love story and you will fall in love with Paul and Manuel.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 30, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jeremey for TeensReadToo.com

    Paul is a boy who is highly religious, goes to a Christian school, lives in a very small town, and loves God and his girlfriend of several years. Living in such a small town and going to a small school, everyone knows the new kids. <BR/><BR/>The knew person, Manuel, is weird. Everyone talks about him, especially when he joins Paul and his friends at their lunch table. Manuel proceeds to tell them that he is both gay and Christian, two things that don't mix well. <BR/><BR/>The girls love Manuel, but the boys want to stay far away from him -- except for Paul. Manuel is trying to be Pauls friend and all the guys start talking about the both of them. <BR/><BR/>As Paul and Manuel hang out, a friendship is formed and Paul challenges Manuel about God, the Bible, and being gay. Every answer Manuel gives makes Paul think differently about his religion and what it says. Is being gay okay, and can you still go to Heaven? <BR/><BR/>While examining his feelings, Paul wonders about his own sexuality and if his friendship for Manuel is just that -- a friendship. When a series of events happens, Paul finds his true feelings, his true identity, and, most importantly, love. <BR/><BR/>Alex Sanchez's latest novel is amazing. It gives a new interpretation of "the Bible says that being gay is a sin," an excuse that many use. Very thought-provoking, this book will keep a smile on your face until the end.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2007

    Courtesy of Teens Read Too

    Paul is a boy who is highly religious, goes to a Christian school, lives in a very small town, and loves God and his girlfriend of several years. Living in such a small town and going to a small school, everyone knows the new kids. The knew person, Manuel, is weird. Everyone talks about him, especially when he joins Paul and his friends at their lunch table. Manuel proceeds to tell them that he is both gay and Christian, two things that don't mix well. The girls love Manuel, but the boys want to stay far away from him -- except for Paul. Manuel is trying to be Pauls friend and all the guys start talking about the both of them. As Paul and Manuel hang out, a friendship is formed and Paul challenges Manuel about God, the Bible, and being gay. Every answer Manuel gives makes Paul think differently about his religion and what it says. Is being gay okay, and can you still go to Heaven? While examining his feelings, Paul wonders about his own sexuality and if his friendship for Manuel is just that -- a friendship. When a series of events happens, Paul finds his true feelings, his true identity, and, most importantly, love. Alex Sanchez's latest novel is amazing. It gives a new interpretation of 'the Bible says that being gay is a sin,' an excuse that many use. Very thought-provoking, this book will keep a smile on your face until the end. **Reviewed by: Jeremey

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 1, 2012

    Do not hesitate in purchasing this book. You will not regret it.

    Do not hesitate in purchasing this book. You will not regret it. Especially young adults doing their best to navigate their sexuality and spirituality at the same time.

    This book helps reinforce that mutual exclusivity does not exist among these two important structures in one's life.

    The characters in &quot;The God Box&quot; are all incredibly endearing. As a young gay reader, it is impossible to not fall in love with the character of Manuel. Strong, confident and assured in himself and his faith. The reader also has Paul, whom just has to be cheered on by the reader throughout the duration of the story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2011

    Amazing

    I know how Paul feels, I have for a while, I couldnt put this book down it was so good, and at the same time it helped me believe God loved me too and that I could be closer to accepting myself also

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    this book opens your eyes

    Ive read other books by Alex Sanchez and in the God Box this book opened up my eyes the most, if your a christian this book makes you more aware of what the bible can be interpreted as. Ive asked my friend to read this book too and she loved it and I love it too!! The characters were amazing and it was written so well! this is the type of book that the schools should be asking students to read, it opens your eyes and really makes you think of whats happening around you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Compelling Coming Out Story

    This book was an outstanding book. It help me come to terms with the reality tha not many people see and helps understand life a bit more. I recomend this book to any gay Christian.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2007

    A reviewer

    When I first picked up this book, I thought it was going to be the typical 'high-school teen' drama. I soon found out that this book went WAY beyond any of my expectations. Within the first three chapters it easily became my new favorite book. It not only changed my outlook about the christian community, but it also changed my view about the Bible. I would HIGHLY recommend this book to all readers!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2013

    Didnt really like

    Liked the rainbow series better....

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2012

    Wow

    Loved it

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 2, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    There is something so captivating and natural in Sanchez's writi

    There is something so captivating and natural in Sanchez's writing style; when I pick up one of his books, I just can't put them down. The only reason I don't give this one five stars is because there are some cliche story elements, but those are almost necessary to broach the spirituality v. sexuality subject.

    I've struggled with my faith (and sexuality) all my life, and as I try to explore my Catholic roots more deeply, I've ended up feeling more and more frustrated and unwelcome in church-- something I never thought would happen. As I've always understood it, the Church is supposed to be a loving, welcoming community. Though I've never been faced with some of the extreme events in this book, Paul's questions and mixed emotions are all very relatable for me, and Manuel's answers are all very freeing.

    For further Bible study and reflection, consider &quot;The Gay Gospels,&quot; a well-researched book that looks at context and further explains the often-used &quot;terror texts&quot; that are used against the LGBTQ community. You'll recognize some of Manuel's alternate interpretations and get even more to consider.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2012

    Loved it.

    This is one of the stories that made Alex Sanchez one of my most favorite authors. I love everything about this book. :D

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    AMAZING BOOK!!!! VD Ama AMAZING BOOK!!!! :D

    Read this book in three days, it was so good! I definatly recommend it for anyone who is religious and struggling with their sexuality.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2012

    A must read

    This is one of the best books very sweet

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  • Posted August 26, 2011

    VERY VERY GOOD

    I loved this book, I would recommend you at least read it, I was half way when I decided to just finish the book, Paul struggles with coming to terms he is gay, but what amazes me is his transformation when he meets Manuel, he starts to have it all in control but as he progresses in his life he starts to loose himself and his spirituality with God and towards the end he becomes somewhat depressed. Good Good book!

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  • Posted August 12, 2011

    Very Good

    This book was one of the best gay fiction books I have read!! It reaches out to the gay community from a christain stand point. I couldn't put it down!!!!! Worth every penny!

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  • Posted May 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended

    If you dealing with the struggles of religion and sexuality then this a very good book to read.

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  • Posted March 28, 2011

    great book

    this book is leadin my journey of understanding of my faith and other beleifs

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 28, 2011

    Overall just a good book

    This book is perfect for any teen caught in between religion and sexuality.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 71 Customer Reviews

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