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Rainbow Road
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Rainbow Road

4.6 50
by Alex Sanchez

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Jason Carrillo came out to his basketball team senior year and lost his university scholarship. Now, with graduation behind him and summer ending, he's asked to speak at the opening of a gay and lesbian high school across the country. But after spending years in the closet and losing his scholarship dream, what message can he offer?
Kyle Meeks is getting ready


Jason Carrillo came out to his basketball team senior year and lost his university scholarship. Now, with graduation behind him and summer ending, he's asked to speak at the opening of a gay and lesbian high school across the country. But after spending years in the closet and losing his scholarship dream, what message can he offer?
Kyle Meeks is getting ready to go to Princeton in the fall and trying to see as much as possible of his boyfriend Jason before they have to separate. When Jason tells him about his speaking invitation, Kyle jumps at the chance to drive across country with him. Yet he can't help worrying: Will their romance survive two weeks crammed together in a car?
Nelson Glassman is happy his best friend Kyle has found love with Jason. Now he's looking for his own true love — and hopes he might find his soul mate during the road trip. But will being the "third wheel" in a trio ruin his friendships with Kyle and Jason?
During an eye-opening postgraduation summer road trip, each of the three very different boys also embarks on a personal journey across a landscape of love, sexuality, homophobia, and above all, friendship.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An involving story of growing up, not just growing up gay, and it deserves a wide readership."

"An important book for gay teens and their allies."

Time Out New York

"A forthright portrayal of growing up gay."
USA Today

"Sanchez writes with passion and understanding as well as some welcome humor."

"Realistic and remarkably honest."
Lambda Book Report

Publishers Weekly
Fresh from Rainbow High (PW wrote, "The author expertly mixes coming-out issues with the universal complications of first love in this novel that culminates in the boys' senior prom"), the trio anticipates a cross-country car trip in Rainbow Road by Alex Sanchez. Will Nelson feel like a third wheel with best friend Kyle and Kyle's partner, Jason? Or can he find his own partner on the journey? Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Jason lost a basketball scholarship to college when he came out as gay in his senior year, but now he's been asked to be a speaker at the opening of a new gay/lesbian/transgender high school in LA, all the way across the country. Road trip! He and his boyfriend Kyle, along with Kyle's best friend Nelson, set out from Virginia and encounter a wide spectrum of the gay experience as they travel the US, from a gay sanctuary to a transgender boy who dresses as Britney Spears, gay bashers who chase them in a truck, and a committed gay couple celebrating their 20th year together. The three teenagers, just graduated from high school, discover a lot about themselves and each other in the course of the trip: smart, sensitive Kyle learns that his idol Jason is only human; Jason continues to feel attracted to girls as well as boys; and outrageous Nelson, who dyes his hair pink, finds love at long last. This sequel to Rainbow Boys and Rainbow High focuses on the emotional ups and downs of the boys' experiences as they explore their feelings for each other and feelings about being gay, as well as presenting a look at various aspects of gay life. There is some drinking, smoking reefers, and sex, though nothing X-rated. YAs who have been following the series will be delighted to read this conclusion to the adventures of this trio. While the writing is not especially polished, the characters are appealing, their feelings are realistically portrayed, and the tone is supportive and hopeful. This might be a controversial book in some libraries, but it will also be an important book for readers looking for a sympathetic and empathetic portrayal of gay teens. (Rainbow Trilogy). KLIATT Codes:SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2005, Simon & Schuster, 256p., Ages 15 to adult.
—Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-The final installment of this trilogy is a true winner. Even though coming out publicly resulted in Virginia high school basketball star Jason Carrillo's losing his college athletic scholarship, it turned him into an important role model for gay and lesbian teens. And so, when a new GLBT high school in Los Angeles is searching for a keynote speaker for its opening ceremony, it is not surprising that Jason is given an all-expenses-paid invitation. His boyfriend, Kyle, definitely wants to be there, too. And Kyle's best friend-pink-haired, boy-hungry Nelson-has a car and thinks that this would be the perfect opportunity for a post-senior-year road trip. Virginia to L.A. by car: 3000 miles and plenty of time to gain an understanding of what being gay in America is all about. These boys are distinct personalities and genuine teens, searching for clarity and identity and acceptance, trying to make sense of themselves and a world that can be equally bright and dark. Sanchez writes with humor and compassion. Some mature romance scenes, occasional frank language, and an inclusion of transgender/transsexual/bisexual story lines translate into a tender book that will likely be appreciated and embraced by young adult readers.-Jeff Katz, Queens Borough Public Library, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
More soapy goodness from the rainbow boys from Rainbow High (2003). This time Kyle, Jason and Nelson go on a road trip together. Jason, whose coming out and subsequent loss of college scholarship drew national attention in the last episode, is asked to speak at the opening ceremonies of Harry Hay High School in Los Angeles. This necessitates a trip across the country. Jason is sort of bisexual, but he loves his less uptight and totally gay boyfriend Kyle. The two think the trip will be a perfect time for them to get in some alone time before Kyle heads off to college, but they need Nelson's (Kyle's pink-haired best friend) car. It turns out to be a three-man trip with many pitfalls. They encounter Radical Faeries, Britney Spears look-alike transgendered boys, Hetero-flexible girls, long-term committed homosexual couples . . . and a little homophobia as they travel from landmark to landmark across the country. There are more after-school-special moments here than in the previous volumes, but fans of the trilogy will adore this final installment. A little sex might make this a not-for-everyone experience, but it's a perfect feel-good read for gay teens. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Rainbow Road

By Alex Sanchez

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Copyright © 2005 Alex Sanchez
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0689865651

chapter 1

Kyle Meeks stirred from a sex dream, vaguely aware of a ringing phone.

"Kyle!" his mom's voice called from the hall. "It's Jason."

Blinking at the summer morning sunlight, Kyle grabbed the receiver on the nightstand and cleared his throat. "H-hello?"

"Hey, Sleeping Beauty!" replied the boy from his dream. "Wake up!"

Kyle had met Jason four years earlier, on the first day of high school. Kyle had jostled through the crowded halls, lost, till Jason helped him find his homeroom. But not till senior year, when Jason stepped into a gay youth meeting, did a chain of events unfold that led to their becoming friends and falling in love.

"You'll never guess what's happened," Jason now announced, rattling out something about going to high school in Los Angeles. "You know I've always wanted to see the Pacific Ocean."

None of it made any sense to Kyle's groggy brain, especially since they'd graduated high school two months earlier. Not to mention that they lived in the suburbs of D.C., three thousand miles from L.A.

"Huh?" Kyle yawned and rolled over, wishing Jason were in bed beside him. "What're you talking about?"

"We need to talk about our camping trip," Jason replied.

Kyle sat up against the headboard, accidentally bumping his head. He was suddenly wide-awake. "Our camping trip?"

He'd been looking forward to that trip for weeks, hoping for at least a little magic with Jason in a summer that had somehow gotten eaten up by a drudge job at Chicken Little Rotisserie, boring family obligations, and freshman orientation at Princeton.

Both Jason and he had been so crazy busy they'd barely had time for romance. ("Hey, I just got home from work. My mom and dad went out. Come over, quick!")

The camping trip would be their last chance for quality time together before separating for college. Was Jason now canceling?

"Hurry over here and I'll explain," Jason told him before hanging up.

Kyle immediately speed-dialed his best friend Nelson, whose turn it was to drive them to work. "Hey, can you pick me up at Jason's? I think he's bailing on the camping trip."

"But you had your heart set on that."

"Tell me about it," Kyle grumbled and jumped out of bed.

chapter 2

Jason Carrillo hung up the phone with Kyle, grabbed the basketball from atop his dresser, and raced to the driveway, hoping a few hoops would help him figure a way out of his dilemma.

"Here's the deal..." Jason wiped the sweat from his forehead as Kyle strode up the driveway. "I got a call from this new high school for gay and lesbians kids in L.A. They heard about my coming out last semester."

In the spring, when Jason had come out to his coach and basketball team, the news had raced through school, and because of his varsity athlete status, he'd been interviewed on local TV. That story reached the Web -- and the entire country.

"The school wants me to give a speech at their opening ceremony. They'll fly me to L.A., pay my hotel, and everything!"

"Jason, that's awesome!" Kyle high-fived him, leaping into the air.

"I know!" Jason agreed, relieved to hear Kyle's enthusiasm. "Can you imagine? Seeing the Pacific Ocean? Movie stars? I'm so psyched. Except...it's the same time as our camping trip."

"Oh." Kyle's smile fell.

Seeing Kyle so downcast, there was no way Jason could bail on their camping trip. "I'll tell them I can't do it."

"But you've got to go!" Kyle protested. "It's too important."

"So is our camping trip," Jason argued.

"We'll go the weekend before," Kyle suggested. "I'll switch my work schedule. I'm not going to miss our camping trip."

Jason smiled, thinking how Kyle always brimmed with support and enthusiasm. "You really think I should take them up on it?"

"Jason, they're inviting you to California!" Kyle gazed across the driveway at Jason, his hazel eyes full of encouragement. "I just wish I could be there to see you."

"I wish you could too." Jason suddenly wanted to kiss Kyle right there in front of his house beneath the basketball hoop. And he sensed Kyle felt it too.

But as the two boys moved toward each other, a car horn blared. Jason turned, instantly recognizing the figure behind the steering wheel pulling into the drive. He only knew one person nutty enough to dye his hair flaming pink -- the same shade as stomach medicine.

chapter 3

"You like it?" Nelson Glassman beamed, loving the stares on his friends' faces at his new pink hairdo.

"It's different." Kyle gazed into the car at Nelson.

"Yeah." Jason nodded slowly, as if stunned. "Definitely."

Nelson glanced at himself in the rearview for the millionth time, reveling in their reactions.

"Well..." Kyle checked his watch. "We'd better get to work."

Nelson popped open the passenger lock, but Kyle made no move, instead gazing at Jason. Nelson watched. Were they about to kiss?

Jason's eyes darted toward Nelson and noticed him. Turning red, he stepped away from Kyle and began dribbling his basketball. "Thanks for coming over," he told Kyle. "Catch you later."

"So tell me what happened!" Nelson asked Kyle as they pulled out of the drive. "Did he bail on your camping trip?"

As Kyle explained about the school in California, a wave of anger rose inside Nelson. Was he hearing right? "Whoa! Miss Teen Closet-Case finally comes out during his last days of senior year and for that he wins a free trip to Hollywood?"

The injustice of it galled him. "How unfair is that? I've been out since kindergarten. Where the heck's my expense-paid trip?"

Kyle failed to respond, gazing out the windshield with a faraway look. "I'd give a million dollars to be there with him. It'll be a huge moment in his life."

Nelson stuck a finger into his throat, pretending to gag, though it hurt to see Kyle so forlorn. Then suddenly an idea crashed into Nelson's brain.

"Hey! Why not ask the school if..." He snapped his fingers as a plan sprang into his mind. "If instead of an air ticket they'll give Jason the cash so the three of us can drive cross-country? Can you imagine how awesome that would be?"

"Drive to California?" Kyle turned from the window. "You serious? With what car?"

"This baby!" Nelson patted the dashboard of the Ford Taurus. It had been his mom's car till summer's start, when she'd bought herself a new one. "Kyle, it would be a blast! You, me, and the world famous basketball fag."

Kyle frowned but stayed silent, as if pondering the idea. "First of all," he finally said. "Like your mom's going to let you take her car cross-country? I don't think so."

"Kyle, it's my car. She gave it to me."

"Secondly..." Kyle shook his head. "You know how long driving to California would take?"

"We have time." Nelson shrugged. "You don't start school for three weeks."

"Yeah, but I have to work. I need the money for when I'm away."

"Hmm." Nelson emitted a loud, meaningful sigh. "I guess being in California with Jason isn't really worth a million dollars after all."

Kyle narrowed his eyes at Nelson. "Look, you realize how much hotels would cost?"

"Forget hotels! Weren't you going to camp anyway? Camping's cheap. We'd just need money for gas and food. Besides, I've saved money from my job."

Kyle shifted in his seat as they turned into the mall's parking lot. "Nelson, it wouldn't work."

"Why not?" Nelson insisted. He wasn't about to let go of the idea that easily.

"Because..." Kyle's mouth hung open as if to say something, then he quickly shook his head. " It just wouldn't work."

"But why not?" Nelson persisted, pulling the car into a parking space.

"Nelson, think about it." Kyle's voice became agitated as he flung open the door. "The three of us? Together? Camping? By week's end you'd toss each other out of the car window."

"We would not." Nelson followed Kyle across the scorching asphalt. "I've grown to like the old hoop-head."

"Forget it." Kyle flashed a scowl over his shoulder as they approached the mall. "Crazy, bad idea."

But Nelson sprinted ahead and swung open the glass door for Kyle, determined to convince him.

Copyright © 2005 by Alex Sanchez


Excerpted from Rainbow Road by Alex Sanchez Copyright © 2005 by Alex Sanchez.
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

Alex Sanchez spent almost fifteen years working with youth. He is the author of the teen novels Boyfriends with Girlfriends, Bait, The God Box, Getting It, Rainbow Boys, Rainbow High, and Rainbow Road, as well as the Lambda Award–winning middle-grade novel So Hard to Say. Lambda Literary Foundation honored Alex with an Outstanding Mid-Career Novelists’ Prize. He lives in Thailand and Hollywood, Florida. Visit him at AlexSanchez.com.

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Rainbow Road 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 51 reviews.
jvprophetxv2 More than 1 year ago
I first saw Alex Sanchez's book Rainbow Boys while I was a young teen struggling with my sexuality. I didn't dare read it fearing ridicule from friends and families at the time. I was 13 and now I am 18, about to enter college and out to most of my friends and family. I bought the trilogy last week and read all three in one sitting throughout the course of three days. I enjoyed these books, even though they may not be the best of writing, the story and the characters more than enough make up for it. Sanchez's has a writing style that draws the reader to the characters and he is able to let the reader actually care for the characters. Out of all three of the books Rainbow Road had to be my favorite. Rainbow Boys and Rainbow High barely scratched the surface of the personas of Jason, Kyle, and Nelson. As I read Rainbow Road I began getting attached to the characters (especially Jason and Kyle). I felt so connected to them and felt as if I knew them. I enjoyed learning more about the three because it turns out they're a bit different from what they seemed in the previous two books. The entire book is filled with funny moments and heartbreaking ones as well. The most emotional seen for me was when the guys met the little Esau who has to deal with being gay and an abusive father at such a young age. After I finished the books I felt better about myself for some reason. The characters are very likeable and relatable and can draw emotions from the reader. I highly recommend this book to people in general and the entire series as well. One doesn't have to be gay to enjoy these books and reading them might help some gain a new perspective on the gay community and the plight gay people face everyday.
nkdubzi16 More than 1 year ago
I first found this series from a friend at school, Rainbow Boys. At first I didnt think much of it. However, It ended up being a excelent book. The story it tells is something that many people face in real life. We live in a largly homophobic world. This book does a very good job of exspressing that. Out of all the series I have read this is by far one of the top. I would even rank it above "The Twilight Series".
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was my fav. in the whole series it was touching it made me sad. but it was funny also the funny adventures and mishaps they had on their road trip made this a page turner.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A definite read for those who are still in the closet, those slowly coming out and those that are out. It reminds you that while you are different you still have the same feelings that everyone else has too. It also reminds you that while you are different you too can find love out there.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could not put the Rainbow series down! All three books have been heart-warming, inspirational, with realistic gay teens and situations. Thank you, Alex Sanchez!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Rainbow Road If you ever want to know how it feels to be a homosexual in a small town, feel the hatred towards you because you might not like girls and you might not like boys. Then read Rainbow Road by Alex Sanchez! This book will have you in the balls of your feet! In this story three homosexual boys go on t rip to California where on of the boys are going to speak at a all lesbian all gay school. This book shows the difficulty that the boys are going through. Being homosexual says the one boy is not a crime we just have different thoughts then other boys. You cant possible judge us! I think that a lot of boys and girls can relate to this story because there are a lot of homosexual boys and girls in high school that are afraid to come out because of the fear of what people might say. This is a 3 book series. In the first 2 the boys are just coming out. The boys are a nerd and a jock and a flat out weirdo. The reason that a lot of kids can reason with this book is the fact that they talk about everything like sex aid and Stds! The fact that this author Alex Sanchez can write about this and not be afraid of certain reviews is amazing because this book was probably the most interesting read. The one character is a jock I mean to go from a jock and having the most gorgeous girlfriend in the whole school to being gay with the most nerviest boyfriend in the whole school is a change. In my honest opinion I think that this book should be read by everybody because its just so good and understanding. My dad would always ask me why I was reading this book and I would tell him that its really interesting and that he should read it. There are 5 girls that I hang out with that have all read this and like it. They think that its really interesting. I think that this is one of the best reviews that I have ever wrote and have only wrote. Its really good I mean I just cant say how good this book is. My friends really want there to be more because we have read all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved the first 2 books and i am soooo totally phycked to read this one once i can get my hands on it! I just cant wait! I read the summary for this book and it sounds like the best of all! I wish he had more to the Rainbow trilogy! that would have been great! these book got me to read more! and they are so touching and sad and well that teenage life! especially for guys who are gay. My friends rag on me like why are you reading it and i just cant put the boook down ya know!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was so good. I'd only had the book for about a day before I finished reading it. It's sad to see the boys go.
YoonieY 30 days ago
Being a teenager is already a hard task. With the pressure of parents, school, and friends, it is definitely a difficult place to find yourself and your individuality. However, as a teenager, it is one of the most important times in your life to be confident of who you are and to never forget what makes you different from others. The novel Rainbow Road written by Alex Sanchez captures the beauty of finding self worth and self love from the perspective of three similar but somehow incredibly different teenage boys: Jason, Kyle, and Nelson. Each character was incredibly well developed, given complete personalities, while having relatable and realistic troubles. Jason Carillo came out to his team in senior year and lost his university scholarship. He gets invited to speak at the opening of a high school but worries about the message he wants to deliver. Kyle Meeks is getting ready to go to Princeton in the fall, but still wants to continue seeing Jason, and is nervous about their relationship lasting two weeks crammed in a car. Nelson Glassman wants to find his “true love” and “soul mate”. Even as a girl reading this book, I was able to grow to love each of these characters and share in the boys’ success, failures, and lessons. This novel is a perfect read for anyone from teenagers to adults because you are never too old or too young to be taught or reminded the rewards that lie behind a confident and strong person. The dialogue between characters and their thoughts were very natural and believable, it was very hard to believe that this was fiction. I couldn’t put the book down and found myself turning each page because I wanted to hear more about their adventures. I finished this story in just two sittings and the entire time I was interested in the next plot. The readers will accompany the three boys on a road trip across the country toward the Pacific Coast. However, throughout the trip, they will encounter many obstacles that will test their relationships with each other and themselves. They will learn many aspects of themselves, meet some indescribable people, and meet some closed minded people. Sanchez wrote the novel very artistically: each character was given a definitive personality, had distinctive thoughts, and had a clear point of view in the story plot. It was very easy to follow along. While it was a easy book to read, it really made me think of the overlying theme: acceptance from others and yourself. As I saw the teenagers struggling with who they were, it made me realize how important it was to know who I was. Whereas Jason struggled because he was afraid of who he was, Nelson, who knew who he was, seemed a lot more outgoing and confident throughout the trip as they met new people. My favorite character was Nelson because he was never afraid to stand up for what he believed in and stand up for himself. While he did have weaknesses, I want to be like Nelson: be completely satisfied with the person I am without worrying about others. Another characteristic I found attractive about Nelson was that he was very spontaneous and seemed like a person I would really enjoy being around. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to be inspired by three special teenage boys. To anyone who seeks inspiration. To anyone who seeks enjoyment. To anyone who is in need of a good adventure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Luv their pride
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I tjink this book should be in every classroom from fifth and up... So should tje other two!
Elantraboi More than 1 year ago
IF this was book three of a series, I would have been much happier. As the final book of a trilogy, I was less enthused. However, it is tough to be hard of Alex Sanchez because there are not enough of these stories out there for gay youth. As many of the other reviews on this page, point out, there are many young gay men out there that have been touched by or identified with this series. I like the overall story. I particularly liked the how the relationship between Kyle and Jason evolved over their physical and emotional road trip. There were some wonderfully sweet moments that took me back time to my first relationship with another man. I was disappointed in the conclusion to Nelson's story. There are some beautiful notes in Nelson's story; the vignette with little Esau is an exceptional and touching example. However, just throwing him in a relationship at the last moment was a little boyfriend-ex-machina for me. This character deserved much better treatment. Again, if there had been additional books in the series, it could be overlooked, but as an ending, I was left disappointed. Criticisms aside, this is a fantastic series that I would highly recommend despite a less than satisfying ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Three gay high school grads travel cross country, learning life lessons, encountering interesting people, and maturing. This is the capstone to Sanchez's "Rainbow Boys" series and may very well be the best of the three. Once again, the characters are well-drawn. We get to see some of the best -- and worst -- of their personality traits. Sanchez insures each also grows and deepens as the story plays out. Some of the plot situations resolve too easily or nicely, but life can be like that. Once in a while I wanted to jump into the page and yell at one of the boys to verbalize his feelings, but at those moments I also realized that Sanchez has managed to keep true to his characters: they are adolescents, not mature adults, so they still have a lot to learn and to experience. While I would read any and every book that Mr. Sanchez might write in this series, I also felt at the end of the book that I would be okay if the series ended here. I highly recommend this book, and it is appropriate readimg for mid-teens and older.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Thats what comes to mind. The three guys are all lovable and relatable. Great story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And so the series ends but love prevails. I have personally never been so intrigued to read as I have been by these books. Amazing writer Alex Sanchez, I hope one day to meet you to get your autograph and to give you a hug. These three guys travel 3,000 miles facing multiple amounts of situations that try patience, express love, and illustrate the difficulties of sustaining a relationship and being open to new ones and new opportunities. Highly, highly recommend this series!
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