Is He Or Isn't He?

Is He Or Isn't He?

3.8 33
by John Hall

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In the glittering world of New York City's richest and most famous prep school, best friends Paige and Anthony become equally entranced by the enigmatic, ever–so–cute new guy Max, but in order to snag him, they must first use their charms and wit to discover the truth–is he or isn't he?


In the glittering world of New York City's richest and most famous prep school, best friends Paige and Anthony become equally entranced by the enigmatic, ever–so–cute new guy Max, but in order to snag him, they must first use their charms and wit to discover the truth–is he or isn't he?

Editorial Reviews

Best friends Paige and Anthony have vowed to find boyfriends before the end of the school year. They both had their hearts broken during the summer, Anthony by his boyfriend Ian and Paige by her soap-opera star mother. When Felix, Anthony's rival, brings Max, the gorgeous son of a famous TV chef, to his end-of-summer party, Paige and Anthony both fall for him and begin plotting to find out if Max is gay or straight. Either way they believe they cannot lose because they are sure one of them will end up with him. Rather than just asking him, Paige and Anthony create schemes to try to trap Max into revealing his sexual preference. This scheming is made easier as there is virtually no parental involvement and there is an endless supply of cash since these teens come from wealthy families. It will become clear to most readers that those characters who have a touch more to them will play relevant roles in how and where Paige and Anthony ultimately find happiness once the answer to their question is secured. This is a fast and guiltily fun read that is sure to appeal to readers clamoring for more to satisfy their chick-lit fix. KLIATT Codes: JS--Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2006, HarperCollins, 294p., $8.99.. Ages 12 to 18.
—Stephanie Squicciarini
New York teens and best friends Paige (straight) and Anthony (gay) are children of the famous and super rich. They and their elite friends, who live without rules or resident parents, vie to spend, party, dress, and make sexual conquests beyond what has been achieved before. When gorgeous Max, a newcomer from California, joins the group, Paige and Anthony make a pact to see who can get him first. If Max is gay, Anthony will claim him; if straight, then he is Paige's. Within this thin plot, the novel moves from one social event to the next. Various lightly sketched characters-Rachel and Bianca, competitive twins seeking media fame; Felix, gay rival; Colleen, stunning plus-sized model-appear and disappear as Paige and Anthony try simultaneously to discover Max's sexual preference and possess him. Throughout Max manages to elude their maneuvers until, in a surprise ending, both Paige and Anthony find happiness where they least expect it. Deliberately superficial rather than offensive, the book will appeal to teen readers seeking rapid-fire dialogue and descriptions of perfect bodies, attractive clothing, parties, and sexual encounters. The characters quickly dismiss the issue of parental neglect, which surfaces rarely, with another round of spending or partying. As Bianca says, when considering a reality show, "We're going to have to wear outfits that are mass-produced . . . Can you imagine? How ever will [we] survive?" Teen readers will find no enduring value in this entertainingly trivial novel. VOYA CODES: 1Q 4P J S (Hard to understand how it got published; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2006, HarperCollins,304p., Trade pb. Ages 12 to 18.
—Laura Woodruff
Children's Literature - Cindy L. Carolan
The privileged, upper class, private school teen world in New York City is one with which few readers will identify (although they may not so secretly wish to switch places). Lavish parties, absentee parents, and never ending credit card shopping sprees are part of every day life. Aside from this, they still experience the same broken hearts as the average person. Paige and Anthony have been best friends since seventh grade. Anthony has just been dumped by his first true love and Paige has yet to find one of her own. Now, in their senior year of high school, they are both looking for boyfriends, and, as it turns out, they each have their eyes on the same guy! Problem is, neither can determine if the gloriously hunky Max is gay or straight! The ensuing shenanigans to accomplish such a task are fairly predictable, but entertaining. While the glittery lifestyles are out of the scope of comprehension for many readers, real life dilemmas that are faced by most teens are commendably supported by the fact that the characters have chosen to forgo smoking, drinking, and drugging, as well as "going all the way." This would make a great beach book to be passed around from girlfriend to girlfriend. The author lives in New York City, edits books in his day job, and writes numerous young adult novels in the evenings. Recommended.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Best friends Paige and Anthony are seniors at a New York City high school, and they're both looking for boyfriends. Anthony is still trying to get over being dumped by Ian, and Paige can't seem to attract a nice guy. Into their lives walks Max, who is friendly to everyone and extremely attractive. Anthony and Paige are both interested in him but they can't tell if he's gay or straight-Anthony's "gaydar" seems to be off, giving rise to the book's title, so they come up with a series of contrived ways to find out if Max likes guys or girls. Other than the main characters' occasional internal struggles to stay true to themselves, most of this fluffy romance centers around how others are never quite what they seem. By the time Paige and Anthony learn Max's sexual orientation, they have discovered that their interest was just an infatuation and that it no longer matters. Paige discovers she enjoys the company of Anthony's brother, and Anthony discovers that his coffee-shop server is both gay and interested. Fun summer romance reading and that's about it.-Karen Hoth, Marathon Middle/High School, FL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Read an Excerpt

Is He Or Isn't He?

By John Hall

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 John Hall
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060787473

Chapter One

It had been the worst summer of her life.

But her best friend didn't need to know that.

Of course, it was never easy keeping things from Anthony. He was always able to detect when something was wrong or when she was keeping a secret from him.

Seventeen-year-old Paige Crane took a deep breath and rang the doorbell of Anthony's penthouse apartment. A few seconds later she could hear the sound of approaching footsteps. She pasted a smile on her face as the door began to open.

"So what do you think?" she exclaimed, throwing her arms up in the air and twirling in front of Anthony. "Do I look like I just spent the summer in Los Angeles?"

Anthony blinked in disbelief, rubbing his eyes. "Who are you and what have you done with the real Paige Crane? The Paige I know hates the sun." Anthony gave Paige a huge hug and then inspected her from head to toe. "I almost didn't recognize you! Where did you get that great tan?!"

"It's a fake bake!" Paige exclaimed, walking into Anthony's apartment. The icy air-conditioning that greeted her felt great after the steamy humidity of Manhattan's city streets. "I went to this Brazilian spa on Madison and 81st. You strip down to your underwear and step into a chamber that's about the size of a locker. Then they spritz your bodywith this liquid that makes your skin golden brown."

"The other girls are going to be so jealous." Anthony gazed at himself in a hallway mirror. "What do you think of my tan? It's not fading, is it?"

"Please! If I know you, you spent the entire summer lying on the beach." Paige followed Anthony into the kitchen and hopped up on a stool next to the breakfast bar as he began pulling carrots, celery and other veggies from the stainless steel fridge, placing them in front of her.

"So where's Ian?" she asked, reaching for a cutting board and knife. She began slicing a zucchini into thin strips. "I thought he'd be helping set up."


"Ian. Tall, dark and handsome Ian. Remember him? Your boyfriend?"

"You mean ex-boyfriend."


Anthony held up a hand, silencing Paige. "You don't want to hear the details. Trust me. Let's just say he's ancient history and leave it at that. Now, tell me all about your summer in La-La Land."

Paige put down the knife she'd been using. "Oh no you don't, Mr. DeMarco. I want details and I want them now. We'll get to my summer later."

Anthony opened a package of onion soup mix and added it into a bowl of sour cream. "I'm single again."

"Obviously. What happened?"

Anthony sighed. "You're really going to torture me by making me relive the entire nightmare, aren't you?"

If there was one thing Paige knew Anthony loved, it was talking about himself. Especially when something dramatic had happened to him. Telling her about his break-up with Ian was not going to be torture.

"Yes, I am. Now spill!"

"Okay, I'll tell you but we're not talking about it at the party," Anthony said. "Deal?"


"He broke up with me in Provincetown after a week. He gave me the 'It's not you, it's me' speech."

"You didn't believe him?" Paige asked while slicing a green pepper and arranging it on a platter.

Anthony shook his head. "I didn't believe him. Ian got a look at all the guys in P-Town and suddenly decided he could do better than me. You should have seen it, Paige. Everywhere you looked there were hunks. On the beach. In the water. Riding the bike paths. We're talking GQ material. Ian's head was spinning around in so many different directions, he didn't know where to look first. He was like that possessed girl from The Exorcist."

Anthony began stirring the sour cream furiously. "One day we were at the beach and there were some guys tossing around a Frisbee and they asked Ian if he wanted in on the game. Do you think he asked me if I minded if he went off to play with them? No! He ran off, leaving me alone on our blanket."

"What did you do?" Paige asked, knowing there was more to the story. And if she knew Anthony, there was going to be plenty of drama.

"I left and went back to the beach house. Ian followed after me because he knew I was mad. Of course, I had also taken their Frisbee after it had landed on our blanket and they couldn't continue the game without it."

"And then?"

"When we got back to the house, that's when Ian gave me his speech and asked if we could be friends."

"What did you tell him?" Paige asked, even though she was sure she knew the answer.

"I told him no!"

Paige had been right.

"Who wants to be friends with their ex? Especially one who's a cheater."

"You think he cheated on you?" Paige gasped.

"If he hadn't, he was going to. It was only a matter of time."

"Where did he end up spending the rest of the summer, then? Wasn't he staying at the beach house with you?"

"That's right, he was. After dropping his little bombshell, he took back the Frisbee and went off to join his new friends. You'll be proud to know that I didn't lose my temper. After Ian left I put a note on his bedroom door telling him I wanted him out of the house by the end of the day."

"That's it?" Paige asked skeptically. "That's all you did?"

Anthony stuck a finger in the bowl of onion dip he had finished making and took a taste. "Delish!" He held out the bowl to Paige. "Want a taste?"

Paige dipped in a carrot. "You didn't answer my question."

Anthony gave Paige a wicked grin. "Did I forget to mention that I accidentally left a bottle of cologne open in one of his drawers?"


Excerpted from Is He Or Isn't He? by John Hall Copyright © 2006 by John Hall. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

John Hall can still remember the first book he ever read. It was Harry The Dirty Dog. Since that day, he's always loved reading. When he was in fifth grade, he decided he was going to be a writer when he grew up and wrote his first novel, The Mystery of the Leopard's Eyes (unfortunately, it was never published and to this day, still sits in his desk drawer). But years later he did become a published author. John grew up in Brooklyn, with a younger brother and twenty-one cousins (yes, 21!), but now lives in New York City.

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Is He Or Isn't He? 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
lamb_96 More than 1 year ago
This book is hilarious because of the dumb things they do to find out. Like why couldn't they just ask him,he probably would've told them the truth. In this book other events happen that will kinda confuse you because of the hate, love, and other things teens go through. But the best part of this book is that the two main characters end up with people they didn't think about at all. This book is worth buying and reading. Once you finish the book you'll be like "Whoa i didn't see that coming at all." With that reaction you might probably read the book again to see how the ending came up to that. So like i said it's worth reading.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Paige and Anthony are two best friends who are both rather desperate to find boyfriends before they end up going with each other to their Senior Prom. When Max moves to New York and becomes a part of their social circle (made up of rich New York teenage children of famous people), they are both entranced.

One of them has got to end up with this super-cute and charming guy. Who, though? It all comes down to answering one question: is he or isn't he? If he's gay, Anthony and he will certainly end up together. The same holds true of he and Paige if Max is straight. Right? It would be too simple to just ask, though, so Paige and Anthony come up with a number of entertaining schemes to figure it out, from buying new clothes to asking him to star in a movie as a gay character. The truth has got to come out sometime!

IS HE OR ISN'T HE? is a fun read, although predictable; from the first couple of chapters it will be pretty obvious how it's all going to turn out. It's still fun, though, and Paige and Anthony's schemes had me laughing out loud at points. The characters themselves, however, are a little flat. But if you're looking for a few hours of entertainment, you'll definitely enjoy this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing even though i only read the sample :0)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tje boy they are talking about gives you a ride on an emotional rollercoaster. First your excited, sad, and then angry at the end! Great book obvious title was prettj good. If you like it try Straight road to kylie. And any book by alex sanchez
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was so good!!! It was funny, and really wanted me to read more. I am also glad that there are gay characters in it, it shows differences that are rarely touched upon. Must read
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that the book was good, but I did not like the fact that it focused on the wealthy kids. Almost all of the situations seemed unrelatabe. Some of the measures that they took to find out 'is he or isn't he' were completly crazy and no one in their right mind would do any of them. Overall it was an ok book.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was hilarious i loved it soooo much :]1