Customer Reviews: Getting It
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on October 9, 2006
Carlos has a big problem: he feels like the only guy in his high school class who hasn't yet managed to hook up with a girl. While his closest friends seem to be born experts at making arrangements over the Internet and the whole "friends with benefits" scene, Carlos can barely manage even to strike up a text-message convo with the opposite sex. Furthermore, when it comes to Roxy, the girl that he most has his eye on, he is at a complete loss -- he gets as clumsy and tongue-tied as a seventh-grader.

After observing his classmates a bit, Carlos realizes that the one guy in his class who seems to feel at ease around girls and show some personal style is Sal. Despite not knowing Sal very well, Carlos hatches a plan to ask for his help. There's only one catch .. these rumors going around the school that Sal is gay. If Carlos starts to spend time around Sal, what will his friends think?

With "Getting It", author Alex Sanchez graduates from the middle-school setting of his previous book, "So Hard To Say", to the edgier, higher-stakes world of high school. With the change of setting comes not only characters who cope more directly with issues such as divorce, sexuality, and love, but the more "adult" situations where these issues play themselves out. It is remarkable how, within the obvious constraints of the young-adult genre, Sanchez manages to navigate this potentially dangerous territory with ease, including some sexually charged scenes without crossing the line into gratuitous detail.

At the center of the story is the "makeover" arrangement between Sal and Carlos. At first very guarded with Carlos, Sal accepts an hourly wage in exchange for his help with Roxy. At the same time he lets Carlos know that there's something more that he wants in return. Hearing this makes Carlos immediately wary himself, but it turns out that what Sal wants is a promise that Carlos will help him with a venture of his own -- the launch of a gay-straight alliance at the high school.

Carlos reluctantly agrees to Sal's conditions and the first part of the book explores how they slowly build a friendship over the course of the next few weeks. Sal helps Carlos with his conversation skills, his manners, his clothing style, even his bedroom decoration. Then, after they have attained a sense of mutual trust, on one particularly auspicious day Sal brings along his boyfriend to meet Carlos. For Carlos the result is even more insight into Sal's world, in addition to an even newer look thanks to an updated haircut and highlights.

As a result of Sal's expert advice Carlos gradually emerges as a new man. He starts to stand out to his classmates and his confidence level grows. His mom notices, his friends notice ... and, most importantly to him, Roxy starts to notice.

There are tough lessons to be learned, of course, and for Carlos this means that the book's title, "Getting It", takes on multiple meanings. Over time it occurs to Carlos that Sal has, in fact, become one of his most down-to-earth and trustworthy friends. As a result he begins not only to question his own assumptions about gay people but to see his other friends and family differently as well. His heightened sense of awareness has repercussions with various friends, including one who cannot seem to come to terms with Carlos's friendship with Sal and another who in fact might be gay himself.

The second part of the book finds Carlos's newly gained self-confidence fueling him toward a series of much dreamed-about encounters with Roxy, but in the time-honored tradition of "be careful what you wish for," the outcome is not quite what Carlos has been expecting. (In a welcome reversal of roles it is Carlos, the boy, who feels used by Roxy, the girl.) Furthermore, a crucial choice that he makes along the way ends up hurting Sal in a way that Carlos has known all along would be unforgivable, yet even as he drives head-on into his decision, he feels incapable of stopping. Sadly, once he gets his head together Carlos realizes that his obsession over "getting it" from Roxy might mean he has lost one of the best friends he's ever had. After disappointing Sal so badly, what could he possibly do to make it up to him?

One of the sub-plots of the book concerns Carlos's relationship with his father, who has remarried following a tense divorce from Carlos's mom and now has a second child with his new wife. Carlos resents how his weekend outings with his dad always seem to revolve more around his dad's new family than him, and for months he's been begrudgingly going along without saying anything. Sanchez effectively depicts how Carlos learns to apply Sal's principles of respect and honesty to his relationship with his father.

This is a terrific book. Sanchez once again captures the world of American youth with accuracy and energy, and his willingness to take on important issues of growing up is most welcome. The interaction and dialog between Carlos, his friends, and his parents is spot-on and totally believable. And, while there is indeed some content of a sexual nature, it is rendered more by alluding to the particulars than direct description, so most parents need not worry on that account.

It is refreshing to find a story for young adults that acknowledges their sexual reality while taking on the issues of what it means to truly be a friend. As a reader you really get to wishing the best for Carlos, so the book's hopeful ending will prompt a smile along with a likely touch of regret over the fact that it has to end at all.
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on December 15, 2006
This is the third of Mr. Sanchez's books that I have read. Thery are all excellent, and give a positive face to being gay, how difficult, and how rewarding it can be. This book should be read by teens in general; Carlos discovers how rewarding his friendship with Sal is, and how another person, who initially seems to be "different" brings a whole new dimension to his life. I agree with the other reviewer who said that the ending leaves you wanting more, and wanting to know what the future holds in store. I highly recommend it for any young man struggling with his sexuality.
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on July 21, 2013
I think this book accurately reflects what is happening in urban high schools today. Gay students come out of the closet and become friends with straight people and they learn that sexuality is only a part of their lives and that what makes a true friend has nothing to do with sexuality. Sanchez is a good writer. The book is intended for a teenage audience but adults will find that it is a quick, enjoyable read.
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on January 7, 2007
High school isn't too bad for Carlos Amoroso, except for the fact that he may be the only guy that hasn't gone all the way--or even kissed a girl. That's only because Carlos is waiting for his crush, Roxy Rodriguez, the most popular girl in school. The only problem is that Roxy doesn't even notice Carlos in the tiniest bit. And it's really bad that Carlos's friends keep on talking about all the girls they've been with.

But Carlos has a plan, which ironically appeared in his brain when he came upon the hit television show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. What better way to have someone notice you than by getting a complete makeover? All he needs is someone to do the makeover for him, and he's found the perfect person, Sal--the guy who everyone thinks is gay. Before he knows it, Sal agrees to help him out, but it comes with a price: Carlos has to pay Sal, and he has to help establish a Gay-Straight Alliance at their school.

With the help of Sal, Carlos takes on a whole new identity. With new clothes and a new hairstyle, along with a room that doesn't look like a dump, Carlos actually looks good. But not only is Carlos changing, but so are his friends, the way he feels about his dad, and the way he feels about Roxy. Could this makeover be for the best, or was it worth it at all?

Alex Sanchez does it again with his newest novel GETTING IT. On the surface, this is a hilarious story that feels like another episode of Queer Eye, but underneath lies serious issues that are prevalent in every high school. Alex Sanchez takes readers on a journey that may possibly change the way the readers view certain issues. This is the perfect book that includes a perfect lesson.

Reviewed by: Randstostipher "tallnlankyrn" Nguyen
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on April 1, 2008
Having worked with an organization supporting sexual minority youth, I can see the merit in recommending this book to disenfranchised GLBTQ teens. These kids have a tough row to plow (the suicide rate for this demographic is appalling) and anything that makes their lives more manageable for them is worth their investigating. Sadly, most of the "good" things that happen in the book do not happen in real life in most areas of the country still mired in homophobia and intolerance in general. The book sends a great message of tolerance and it's a feel-good story with a happy ending, but I fear that, once having read it, many teens will find their own situations, by comparison, even more bleak and hopeless. Times have changed, but, unfortunately, many hearts have not. The number of high schools in which the events in this story might play out positively is very small, but, hopefully, growing. For many readers it may be a beacon in the darkness. For others it will seem no more than an impossibly hopeful fairy-tale.
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on January 15, 2013
Having finished this book for a second time, I think I have to say I loved it even more on a second read through. This story is about the complicated journey from childhood selfishness to the murky world of adulthood that is adolescence. It has heartache and defeat and hope, as all the best stories do. And laughter. Lots of laughter.
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on March 27, 2015
This book is great. I have enjoyed reading it immensely. Of course I would recommend it to anyone, teenager or otherwise.. It is an excellent read..
This is from Wikipedia about Alex Sanchez:
Alex Sánchez (born 1957) is a Mexican-American author of award-winning novels for teens and adults. His first novel, Rainbow Boys (2001), was selected by the American Library Association (ALA), as a Best Book for Young Adults. Subsequent books have won additional awards, including the Lambda Literary Award. Although Sanchez's novels are widely accepted in thousands of school and public libraries in America, they have faced a handful of challenges and efforts to ban them. In Webster, New York, removal of Rainbow Boys from the 2006 summer reading list was met by a counter-protest from students, parents, librarians, and community members resulting in the book being placed on the 2007 summer reading list.
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on January 12, 2007
I loved this book. When I got it, I read the entire book in one night. I just couldn't put it down.

The story is not specifically a "gay" story. The main chacter is straight. This is a departure form many books that I have read from gay authors. The whole point of the book is understanding and tolerance. The friendship that developes between Carlos & Sal, is one that serves as a catalyst for a drastic change in Carlos' life. Sal takes Carlos from a nobody to someone, who is starting to know who they are, in the Queer Eye fashion. Through his "lessons" from Sal, Carlos learns how to stand up for himself, be confident in who he is, and be understanding of others who may be different from him.

I really like the book, because it is a book that just happens to have gay characters in it. The sexuality of the chacrters, while being part of the story, is not really the main point of the story.

I highly reccomend that teens and adults across the board read this book. If was can get more people to understand and tolerate the differences in other people, the world would be a better place.
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on February 6, 2014
Great book. Engaging, and interesting. There are books that you read and forget and there are books that you read and remember. This book is a hybrid. I read it, and enjoyed it and promptly forgot about it. Then a couple days later, it sneaked into my memory with positive and warm thoughts. Sort of one of those memories about good friends from the past, where you wonder where they are now. This book keeps sneaking into my thoughts. I remembered the book when watching a TV program about something unrelated. I remembered it on several occasions while stuck in traffic. Once I remembered the book the dialog between the characters when looking at a picture of an insect on a National Geographic photo contest.

At first, after I read it, I didn’t think it was as good as the Rainbow series. Honestly, I was wrong. Its better. It will grow on you.

I’m going to give it four stars, because I rarely give five.

My definition of four stars: It’s a really good book. I mean really good. I probably didn’t stay up all night to read it in one go, but almost did.
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on August 23, 2015
What a clever idea! It's like "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" with a dash of Cyrano thrown in. Like most of Alex Sanchez's novels, this one traces the growth of the characters' understanding and acceptance, and no doubt promotes a good deal of understanding and acceptance among readers as well.
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