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Rainbow Boys Paperback – May 1, 2003

117 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Rainbow Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sanchez's debut novel chronicles the senior year of three gay teens struggling with issues ranging from coming out to first love to an HIV scare. The story lines communicate a hint of an educational agenda (Sanchez sprinkles in the names of support groups like Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays into the novel, and lists contact information for organizations at the end), but the characters' complicated feelings are well drawn, and readers will find themselves interested in each of the protagonists' lives. Sanchez creates modern situations that speak to contemporary teens: Nelson and Kyle stand up to their principal for the right to form a gay-straight alliance at their school, and Nelson has unprotected sex with a stranger he meets online. The relationship between Kyle and closeted jock Jason also develops realistically, and the awkward triangle among the three males builds subtly and convincingly. Readers will learn and understand both boys' perspectives, from Jason's fear that he will be found out to Kyle's growing agitation at his mixed messages. Some of the writing is stilted ("You would've thought the prodigal son had come home," Sanchez writes when Kyle finally connects with his father), and some of the language and sexual situations may be too mature for some readers, but overall there's enough conflict, humor and tenderness to make this story believable--and touching. Ages 12-up. (Oct).

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-Nelson, "out" to the world, is secretly in love with his best friend Kyle. Kyle doesn't look gay or advertise it, but since he hangs out with Nelson, he's subject to the same harassment at school. Kyle is secretly in love with Jason, a popular jock who has a popular girlfriend but who can't stop dreaming of sex with boys. When Jason, trying to sort out his confusion, shows up at a Rainbow Youth meeting, he is greeted by both "Nelly" and Kyle, who are as shocked to see him as he is to be seen. This uncomfortable confrontation starts the ball rolling down a path of deception, denial, revelation, and acceptance not only for the three young men, but also for their friends, family, and all concerned. This gutsy, in-your-face debut novel speaks the language of real life for gay teens, that of the ecstasy, heartache, and humor of first love (and sex), that of daily harassment and fear, that of having what it takes to stand up and be proud of who you are. There will no doubt be challenges to Rainbow Boys, much like the challenges of Judy Blume's Forever (Turtleback, 1975) when it was published in the 1970s. But please, have the courage to make it available to those who need it-it can open eyes and change lives.

Betty S. Evans, Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (May 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689857705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689857706
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm the author of cool, sometimes controversial teen books, including the Rainbow Boys trilogy, The God Box, Getting It, and the Lambda Award-winning middle-grade novel So Hard to Say. My novel, Bait, won the Florida Book Award Gold Medal for YA fiction. My newest novel, Boyfriends with Girlfriends, came out in April 2011. I received my master's degree in guidance and counseling from Old Dominion University and for many years worked as a youth and family counselor. Visit me at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Mark Ian Kendrick on October 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the best book I've read all year. Mr. Sanchez is truly a gifted writer and proved it with this debut work. I immediately fell in love with all three of his characters (okay, I mostly fell in love with Jason). The drama that Sanchez so beautifully built into this story had me teary-eyed at just about every other chapter. That's the kind of story I love the most: one that can make me feel exactly what the characters are feeling. What an amazing love story he portrayed, what with Jason struggling to come out, with Kyle trying his best to get Jason to love him, and Nelson trying to get Kyle to understand that he loves him. I'm so glad everything turned out on a positive note. In addition to the storyline, I really like Sanchez's writing style: the use of concise phrases, and some very witty ones as well, to convey a lot of information was right on target. I can't wait to read something else by this author.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By QUEEN_OF_EVERYTHING on June 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
Sanchez's novel chronicles three gay high school boys. One is out, proud, and totally a flamer. One, his best friend, is still in the closet. Another, with a steady girlfriend, has just come to the realization and is trying his best to understand - and hide, in a way, this new discovery.
Nelson is the flamer. With a trillion earrings, crazy hair, and a love for fashion, he sees no need to keep his secret. He's been out and has many friends and people who like him despite this. And why isn't he likeable? He's a loyal friend, a wonderful listener, and can provide his best friend, Kyle, with good advice and a shoulder to cry on.
Kyle is gay but has yet to announce it to the world. Nonetheless, he's known the truth since an early age. People do expect he is a homosexual because he always hangs around with Nelson. Their friendship is incredibly strong. Kyle's parents are loving and supportive - at first only his mother seems to be, but his father does eventually come around once Kyle gives them the news. Nelson wants to be more than just friends but Kyle only has eyes for Jason.
Jason is a jock with a beautiful girlfriend named Debra. They've been going steady for two years and even have had sex. So he can't be gay, can he? Well...he tries, like some may, to deny and supress the thought, tries to dismiss it from his mind. But when he makes love to Debra, he pictures men. He dreams of naked men. He thinks of Kyle. With an alcoholic father who constantly calls him weak, home life is sometimes an obstacle. It is difficult for Jason to muster the courage to tell Debra but when he does, her reaction is normal. After all, she does love him.
Sanchez's novel is real.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Sanchez's debut novel features three guys in high school as each deals with being gay, coming out, and other personal problems. Nelson is totally out at school and is often targeted for harassment from some of the students. His mom is in PFLAG, so his home life is okay, but Nelson can't tell his best friend Kyle how he truly feels for him. Kyle is slowly coming out of the closet, but the process is forced to speed up after his mom finds a porn magazine in his room. Luckily, his parents work toward being supportive of him. Kyle has always had a crush on Jason, one of the popular jocks at school. Jason has been dating the same girl for two years, and yet he's had these feelings for other guys. When he enlists Kyle to help him with schoolwork, Jason struggles to deal with what he's feeling for another guy, as well as dealing with an alcoholic father at home. This book is entirely filled with sappy and wish-fulfilling events and interactions that lend it an almost overly-sweet feel. Yet it's also entirely delightful. Reading "Rainbow Boys" is like looking back on high school and imagining the things that could have happened, all through rose-colored glasses. While the characters and the story do lack a certain depth, the book overall entertains and gives a hopeful glimpse into the future of high schools.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J.A. VINE VOICE on March 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
When I looked at the cover for this book, I almost wrote it off as fluff. After all, there are three "pretty boys" on the cover, and frankly, that type of cover doesn't shout: "GREAT LITERATURE!" I'm glad I looked at the back of the book because I saw that it was indeed literature to be taken seriously, as it had received some rather impressive accolades. Given that, I decided to give it a shot.

I'm glad I did.

The author achieved something in this book that's difficult for even the most seasoned writers to do: he wrote from three different points-of-view, gave each character a distinctive voice, as well as unique personalities, with different problems and obstacles to overcome.

I thought at first that Kyle and Jason would be very similar people. The back of the book identifies Jason as a "jock" and Kyle as a "swim team star". Those descriptions aren't terribly far apart. However, "jock" carries with it a different stigma than does "swim team star", and Jason and Kyle are definitely very different people.

The author made an excellent choice starting the book from Jason's perspective. Kyle and Nelson were vastly more comfortable with their sexuality, so to start the book from one of their perspectives would have been to begin the story with little to no tension. In order to hook a reader, an author needs to introduce tension immediately. Jason was the most conflicted of the three, so he was the logical and perfect choice.

The author also did a tremendous job in that first chapter introducing us to all of the main players and probably plot lines.
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