Hurwin tackles the ugliness of hate in a story, told in alternating voices and based on true events, about two boys with more in common than they know at first. Jason, 13, works the streets in San Francisco after his religious mother refuses to accept his coming out. Then he moves to L.A., where Doug, 17, is barely speaking to his parents and is immersed in the punk scene. The narrative counts down to a night in 1980 in which a gay-bashing attack occurred, and the alternating chapters eventually give way to alternating paragraphs as the tension mounts. The dialogue and portrayals of street life are authentic and grim; Adam Rapp fans won’t blink an eye. Hurwin frankly discusses sex, drugs, alcohol, prostitution, homosexuality, white supremacy, and other issues without being gratuitous or graphic. The years following the attack and a chance reconciliation (the story is based on the lives of Matthew Boger and Timothy Zaal) are less detailed than the early years, but their incorporation brings a more hopeful ending than that of famous victim Matthew Shephard. Grades 10-12. --Cindy Dobrez
About the Author
Davida Wills Hurwin is the author of A Time for Dancing
(an ALA Best Book for Young Adults) and The Farther You Run
. She teaches theater at Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences and lives in Southern California with her husband and daughter.