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Absolutely Positively Not Mass Market Paperback – April 15, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*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 Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks; Reprint edition (April 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439591104
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439591102
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,321,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Edward Aycock on June 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
A lot gay-oriented young adult lit today can be overly sexual (not a bad thing but also one that seems to promise more for a kid's reality than it can deliver), or depend too much on fantasy (gay kid finds out hot, sexy number one school jock is gay and they fall in love), can be didactic (teens giving speeches that I, on my best and most lucid day, could never deliver off the cuff) or just poorly written. Granted, Young Adults don't need books to be structured like a Henry James novel, but poor dialogue and character development can make me groan and I don't think anybody is done any favors when a publishing house rushes out a mess of a novel just to catch a trend.

Thankfully for us, "Absolutely, Positively Not ..." (APN) is a fun, light, well-written entry into the genre that's readable and completely charming. Sure, some of the book can have some situations that some see as sitcomish but you have to admit, they're cute. There are just as many funny, original moments in the book that previous reviewers ignored. I think my favorite moment in APN involves ice fishing and an wildly enthusiastic response when he thinks he's won a pickup truck only to really have won ... I won't give it away. That moment encapsulates the theme of the book and Steven's world, of misperceptions and reality.

The best thing about APN is that it's hopeful. APN doesn't perpetuate the myth that you come out and suddenly you're dating and everything's okay. It's a step by step process and Steven's just beginning to take the journey. Many of the best Young Adult novels are those that don't wrap everything up in a neat bow and allow for the reader to make their own decisions as to what happens next. I'm glad I happened to find this book and hope more people discover it from themselves.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this teen novel. Steven, the main character, resists the possibility that he is gay. There are many scenes of Steven trying to be straight (dating girls, sitting with the jocks, etc.), with comically disastrous consequences. He gradually admits to himself that he is gay, and then comes out to his parents and faces his peers at school and at the prom.

Though coming out is a serious, deep issue, the book is told humorously. It's a very fun and fast-paced read, which also manages to deliver a powerful message that homosexuality is not a choice.
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Format: Hardcover
Growing up gay is difficult. Period. And when you pick up nearly any teen novel that addresses this issue, you'll usually find a very realistic and often heartbreaking depiction of the traumas that go along with it: prejudice, discrimination, teasing and sometimes violence. Most works portray these trials with a careful blend of sensitivity and pathos but are occasionally encumbered with a sense of foreboding and caution.

It was so refreshing to pick up David LaRochelle's ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY NOT...and find a teen novel that looked at the clammy-skinned, throat-catching horrors of coming out but approached them with a sense of humor and fun. This is dangerous territory. Coming out and simply living life as a gay teen is not often a pleasant experience. Treating the topic with levity could be seen as belittling the problems these teens encounter on a day-to-day basis.

But LaRochelle's skillful approach to the tribulations faced by 16-year-old Steven DeNarski manages not only to deal with Steven's coming out in a respectful manner but also to capture the dread felt by anyone who has spent a second of time worrying what the world would think of them once they were out.

In the book, Steven begins by clearly asserting that he is absolutely, positively not gay. He is able to rationalize with great aplomb his attraction to men, his love of square dancing, and the fact that he's never shown an interest in girls. But when he begins to question his own excuses, Steven launches into a hilarious series of events in an effort to assert his heterosexuality.
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Format: Hardcover
I wish I had the words to describe how wonderful this book is! Hilarious, touching, entertaining, funny, enlightening...I just don't have the vocabulary to sing its praises!

I loved Steven, his parents were a total hoot (and I just adored the part where he came out to his dad). Rachel was terrific, and her parents ROCKED! Victor was cool. I really liked the part about taking Kelly to the dance!

My heart was pounding during the library scene when kids from another school were making gay jokes, and I felt bad when Mr. Bowman laughed at the wrong jokes.

The stories about Steven trying to get his driver's license and mom's book and her lack of housekeeping skills just really added to the fun! This book is not JUST about coming out. Anyone could read it just for the dang fun of it!

This is a great story of a boy becoming happy with who he is, and the delightful realization that others like him just how he is, too!
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