Way to Go

( 2 )

Overview

Maybe Lisa had appeared out of nowhere for a reason. I was kind of like a frog in a fairytale who needed a kiss from a princess so he could turn into a prince. Only, instead of a frog, I was a might-be-gay kid who needed straightening out, and instead of a princess, she was a cigarette-smoking tattooed city girl with a bag full of mix tapes. I figured that was close enough.

Learn to dance. Learn to cook. Learn to live. If only it were that ...

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Way to Go

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Overview

Maybe Lisa had appeared out of nowhere for a reason. I was kind of like a frog in a fairytale who needed a kiss from a princess so he could turn into a prince. Only, instead of a frog, I was a might-be-gay kid who needed straightening out, and instead of a princess, she was a cigarette-smoking tattooed city girl with a bag full of mix tapes. I figured that was close enough.

Learn to dance. Learn to cook. Learn to live. If only it were that simple.

Danny thinks he must be the only seventeen-year-old guy in Cape Breton-in all of Nova Scotia, maybe-who doesn't have his life figured out. His buddy, Kierce, has a rule for every occasion. His best friend, Jay, seems unworried by bad grades. Danny's dad nags him about his post-high-school plans, his friends bug him about his non-existent sex life, and a run-in with the cops means he has to get a summer job. But worst of all, he's keeping a secret that could ruin everything.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As summer vacation begins on the sland of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, 17-year-old Danny feels lost, with no career aspirations and the burden of hiding that he’s gay. He’s also having trouble relating to his two best friends—brash, confident Kierce and laid-back Jay. When Danny starts working at a new restaurant as a dishwasher, he discovers a passion for cooking, becomes sous chef at the restaurant, and bonds with Lisa, a hip and sophisticated waitress from New York City with troubles of her own. Set in 1994 (when the author was himself a teenager), Ryan’s debut novel focuses on Danny’s frustrations and self-doubt (“Being gay was the last thing on earth that I wanted, but my body refused to cooperate with my brain”). Though Danny’s angst and dithering may frustrate gay teens who are comparatively more self-confident in their sexuality, those who, like Danny, feel like “an island of gayness in an ocean of straightness,” should identify with his search for a path of his own. Ages 12–up. (Apr.)
NJ Youth Services
"This coming out/coming of age story is a clean, quick and easy read."
Amy's Marathon of Books blog
"With a cast of authentic characters, Tom Ryan explores the topic of coming out in a small town...Way to Go speaks not only directly to teens coming to terms with being gay, but also to anyone who feels like an outsider."
YALSA YA Galley Teen Review
"This book is a truly life-changing one. It will make you question your views and the way you inflict them on others."
Follett Library Resources
A very well done book about a front-burner topic, it makes a fine addition to the 'I think I'm gay' genre. Danny is very believable, and unlike so many 'issue' novels, the supporting characters are fully realized and multi-dimensional...A lot of kids will benefit from reading it...It's a story that absolutely needs to be told, and the author's approach succeeds beautifully. Excellent.
— John Wetterholt
ekristinanderson.com
"There's a lot to love about this story, and with every character so complex and every subplot full of intrigue, Way to Go has something to offer so many readers, gay or straight, boy or girl. This isn't a coming out story. It's a coming of age story. And I promise, it will make you laugh, too."
Doodle's Book Blog
"From page one I was swept into Danny's world. Tom Ryan wrote a book that I will read over and over again...This book was phenomenal and I recommend it to everyone."
keenreaders.org
"An enjoyable, sensitive and poignant portrait of a summer in the life of a (maybe) gay teen. Danny's search to understand his sexuality will be helpful to others in similar situations and will be enlightening to others who are simply curious about the experiences of young people coming to terms with being gay...An important addition to books available for young readers."
examiner.com
"The characters are all very well developed. The plot was solid and the setting of the book was presented in such as way that I actually felt like I was there...[A] light, fun read and...a good introduction to this genre."
CanLit for Little Canadians blog
"Ryan easily finds the voices of the teens, male and female, gay and straight, as well as the adults with whom they interact, as if he has been all those people and speaks from experience."
Quill & Quire
"The [novel's] realism adds to its considerable emotional impact."
www.keenreaders.org
"An enjoyable, sensitive and poignant portrait of a summer in the life of a (maybe) gay teen. Danny's search to understand his sexuality will be helpful to others in similar situations and will be enlightening to others who are simply curious about the experiences of young people coming to terms with being gay...An important addition to books available for young readers."
www.examiner.com
"Ryan gives a balanced look into the experience of a teen struggling with his sexuality and other related questions and concerns against the small town setting of Deep Cove...Way To Go offers a positive representation of LGTBQ stories that go beyond simple coming out narratives."
Library Media Connection
"The theme of the book is relevant: exploring your sexuality and dealing with peer pressure to be someone you aren't. Recommended."
www.ekristinanderson.com
"There's a lot to love about this story, and with every character so complex and every subplot full of intrigue, Way to Go has something to offer so many readers, gay or straight, boy or girl. This isn't a coming out story. It’s a coming of age story. And I promise, it will make you laugh, too."
Crowding the Book Truck blog
"Danny's coming of age summer is about more than just his sexuality; he's also discovering who he wants to be as a person and what he wants to do as a career...This book's Canadian-ness sets it apart from a lot of other coming of age novels, and that's important, because while Canada shares a lot of culture with America, there are some differences."
Southwest Ohio and Neighboring Libraries (SWON)
"Tom Ryan's deft hand at teen angst makes one wonder if a percentage of the story is autobiographical...The main characters have depth and realistic flaws that make the book a good read for high school students."
Resource Links
"This engaging book about a reluctantly gay adolescent is more about finding one's way in life than it is about gender...The subplots in this book work well with the main storyline and the absence of any contrived or strident posturing is very reassuring. This book deserves all the respect a reader can give it."
Southwest Ohio Young Adult Materials Review Group
"Danny is a believable character, and students struggling with the same issue will identify with him..It is a well-written book on the topics of homosexuality and friendship."
Crowding The Book Truck blog
Danny's coming of age summer is about more than just his sexuality; he's also discovering who he wants to be as a person and what he wants to do as a career...This book's Canadian-ness sets it apart from a lot of other coming of age novels, and that's important, because while Canada shares a lot of culture with America, there are some differences.
Tri State YA Book Review Committee
"Ryan aptly shows the confusion a young adult feels when determining his/her sexuality...Dan's story is one that will entertain and educate...Ryan definitely has something to offer to young adults who might be pondering how best to navigate the murky waters of sexual self-discovery."
CM Magazine
"The characters are wonderfully written and are brought to life more by their words and actions than simply by descriptions...While Way to Go deals with serious topics, such as sexual orientation, identity, self-acceptance, friendship and family, Tom Ryan keeps the story moving and does not let it get too heavy or depressing for the reader...An excellent coming-of-age story that will appeal to a variety of readers."
Canadian Children's Book News
"Ryan has an engaging writing style and nicely captures the angst of being a teenager—and the excitement...Ryan's portrait of rural Nova Scotia doesn't avoid the issues of the limitations of small-town life in the Maritimes but he makes it equally clear that it's a world that not everyone wants to escape from. Way to go, Tom Ryan!"
Follett Library Resources - John Wetterholt
"A very well done book about a front-burner topic, it makes a fine addition to the 'I think I'm gay' genre. Danny is very believable, and unlike so many 'issue' novels, the supporting characters are fully realized and multi-dimensional...A lot of kids will benefit from reading it...It's a story that absolutely needs to be told, and the author's approach succeeds beautifully. Excellent."
Children's Literature - Jody Little
Seventeen year-old Danny lives in a small town in Nova Scotia and has no idea what his plans for the future might be. He faces constant pressure from his buddies to hook up with a girl and pressure from his father to apply for colleges; however, Danny isn't sure college is what he wants, and girls are nice, but Danny harbors the secret that he is gay. After a run-in with the local cops, Danny must get a job. His mom steers him toward a new restaurant in town where he meets Lisa, a girl with a love for music and fun, who is staying in town for the summer. Suddenly Danny's life seems a little brighter. His friendship with Lisa grows and so does his interest in cooking as he begins to spend more time in the restaurant kitchen. Cooking and being with Lisa give Danny a purpose and a new confidence, and he discovers that being a chef is what he wants to do in the future. As the summer progresses Danny finds the strength to tell his father of his plans, and he even shares his deepest secret to a few of his friends. This quiet, coming-of-age novel occasionally strays off plot, but the author handles the issue of homosexuality with honesty and sincerity. The main character's reveal feels realistic and will leave readers rooting for his future. Reviewer: Jody Little
VOYA - Ava Ehde
It is not easy being accepted, especially when you do not necessarily understand yourself. Danny's two best friends, Kierce and Jay, have their own way of making life, school, and the future look easy. Kierce has a rule for everything in life while Jay is more the "no worries" guy without rules. Even Danny's little sister, Alma, finds movie quotes to direct almost every situation. Most of Danny's time these days is governed by his internal conflicts about career, the future, secrets, and his own sexuality. Being seventeen is not simple or easy, but less so in a small town like Deep Cove, where your mom ruins your summer vacation by getting you a job at the restaurant that replaces the local, greasy Burger Shack. The new waitress in town, Lisa, charms and intrigues Danny with her homemade mix tapes, big-city experience, great energy, and easy-going style. She even gets him to loosen up enough to dance. She and Jay are the supportive and accepting friends we all need. This insightful first book is a quick, interesting, and pleasurable read. The life lessons are important and the style and tone are excellent. Unfortunately, the cassette on the cover and the title do not provide much insight into the book, nor do they draw readers in, which is a shame since the story is well-told and the topic of being gay is handled with grace. Reviewer: Ava Ehde
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—It's 1994 in the small Canadian seaside town of Deep Cove, and three 17-year-old boys are ready to spend the summer picking up girls, although Dan is questioning whether that's what he really wants. When he turns down prospects for easy sex, his friend Kierce gets suspicious and taunts him with the rumors that he's gay. Danny desperately wants not to be and doesn't know what he wants to do with his life. In a new job at a restaurant, he meets Lisa, a sophisticated girl from New York City who he hopes will inspire sexual passion, but he finds a passion for cooking instead. This coming-of-age, coming-out story, a first novel, barely scratches the surface of what could be deep soul-searching. The teen's revelation to friends and family and their quick acceptance seem too easy, and references to mid-'90s pop and movie stars are likely to baffle contemporary readers.—Shawna Sherman, Hayward Public Library, CA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781459800779
  • Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/1/2012
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,409,255
  • Age range: 12 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Tom Ryan

Tom Ryan was born and raised in Inverness, on Cape Breton Island. He spent his childhood reading, wandering the countryside, making up stories and bossing around his younger brothers. After high school, he studied English at Mount Allison University and then moved to Halifax, where he studied film production. He currently lives in Ottawa, Ontario, with his partner and dog. In the future, he would like to write more books, travel the world, direct a feature film and eventually move back to beautiful Nova Scotia. For more information, visit www.tomwrotethat.com.

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Read an Excerpt

Maybe Lisa had appeared out of nowhere for a reason. I was kind of like a frog in a fairy tale who needed a kiss from a princess so he could turn into a prince. Only, instead of a frog, I was a might-be-gay kid who needed straightening out, and instead of a princess, she was a cigarette-smoking tattooed city girl with a bag full of mix tapes. I figured that was close enough.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I was intrigued after reading the summary, but it doesn't do the

    I was intrigued after reading the summary, but it doesn't do the book justice. From page one I was swept into Danny's world. Tom Ryan wrote a book that I will read over and over again.

    Danny has just finished his junior year of high school and he isn't sure who he really is or what he wants to do with his life. It takes getting busted by the cops and forced into a summer job he didn't really want to push him to figure it out. He ignores his two best friends, Kierce and Jay, for the first few weeks of summer because of a girl, Lisa. She is energetic, beautiful, and easy going. With his reluctance, she gets him to dance, let loose, and have a little fun, something Danny doesn't do well on his own. Kierce is pushy and thinks the world of himself. Jay is the friend everyone needs. He is relaxed, easy to get along with, and accepting.

    What I loved most about this book was Danny's little sister Alma. She is thirteen, loves classic movies, and she attempts to lighten the mood when things get tense. I found myself laughing throughout the book whenever she would make a reference to a movie. Another thing I liked was Kierce's rules. The book is littered with them. I would find myself rereading the rules because they were either true for most people I know or they were so ridiculous that I thought maybe I should add this to my list. For instance, "Rule Two: If you want to get rich, you've got to do well in school. Study as hard as you party." If you know where I go to college, then you know I attend the #1 party school in the US. This rule applies to everyone on campus.

    Overall, this book was phenomenal and I recommend this book to everyone. It was amazing and held some life lessons that not every one achieves. Acceptance being the number one lesson on that list.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted April 4, 2012

    Just alright

    This book is far from exceptional and definitely not a must-read. At best, this is a Saturday afternoon time killer that pales in comparison to great glbt youth works like The Vast Fields of Ordinay or J.H. Trumble's Don't Let Me go. It's not bad, it's just not that great.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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