From School Library Journal
Grade 6-9–Sixteen-year-old Steven relishes square dancing, drools over his male health teacher's musculature, and keeps a stash of International Male
catalogs underneath his bed, but is determined that he is absolutely, positively not gay. In an eager crack to prove his heterosexuality, he futilely attempts to buy a Playboy
magazine, tries mingling with the meathead jocks at lunch, and embarks on a series of disastrous dates with girls from his class. From the outset, it's obvious that Larochelle's first novel is mostly lighthearted laughs as Steven tries to rid himself of deviant sexual behavior (as explained in an ancient teen sexuality book he borrowed from the library). When he finally does own up to his shortcomings as a heterosexual, he decides to out himself to his best friend, Rachel, who is relieved that he has finally told her and blabs the news to her entire family while urging him to form a gay-straight alliance in his high school the following day. Even though the good-natured humor does cloud the book's overall sense of reality at times, Larochelle's eye-opening and accurate portrayal of Steven's coming out will ring optimistically true for many teens and their friends who are struggling with sexuality issues. And it's the delivery of his outing, coated in a healthy dose of hilarity, that makes Absolutely, Positively Not
a fast-paced, funny, and frivolously frank read.–Hillias J. Martin, New York Public Library
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*Starred Review* Gr. 7-10. In a touching, sometime hilarious coming-out story, Steven DeNarski, 16, tries to deny he is gay. He covers his Superman posters with pictures of women in skimpy bikinis and lacy lingerie, and he follows the aversion therapy prescribed in a parents' handbook for getting over his "deviant" desires and awakening his sluggish interest in girls. He hangs out with the hockey players and tries to start dating (even kissing), to the delight of his fussy mom and macho dad. It doesn't work. When he reluctantly tells his friend Rachel that he is gay, he has to restrain her from celebrating it to the world and "empowering" him at school. The wry, first-person narrative is wonderful as it moves from personal angst to outright farce (Steven takes a pet golden retriever to the school dance). The characters are drawn with surprising depth, and Steven finds quiet support, as well as betrayal, in unexpected places. Many readers, gay and straight, will recognize Steven's need to talk to someone. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved