From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Hartzler grew up in an Evangelical Christian home, where he was taught that the Rapture might happen any minute. As he grew into his teen years, he began to question this belief and to be drawn to more worldly things-movies, rock music, plays, literature, and kissing. To a secular audience, Hartzler's parents' rules about whom he can befriend and how he can live his life may come across as draconian, but the author is open and fair about how they lived their beliefs and how they always loved him, even as their rules drove him away. Hartzler is honest about his sexual encounters with girls (and boys) and about underage drinking that happened at parties he attended. His memoir is appealing because of his honesty, and forthrightness. When writing about Evangelical Christians, he never takes on a condescending tone. He shows where his own questions led him, even as he shows how his parents saw things very differently than he did. His style is clear and lively, and he makes readers see how the questioning of his faith began, and how it grew. Readers will want to spend time with Hartzler to find out how he became true to himself and what choices he made on that journey.-Geri Diorio, Ridgefield Library, CTα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Jesus is coming back. That’s what Aaron’s family believes, and as a boy, so does he. But by the end of this memoir, Aaron isn’t sure of much, other than he wants the freedom to be himself. Heartfelt and humorous, this book introduces Aaron; his strict but devoted parents; his grandmother, whose love is unconditional; and the classmates at his Christian schools, instrumental in shaping him. Hartzler writes with a keen eye for detail, whether it’s the early scene in which his grandfather crochets (while he makes pot holders) or the description of what it feels like to make out with a girl for the first time. He is equally sure-footed describing his inner turmoil as he does the opposite of what’s expected of him, all while maintaining the good-boy facade. One of the best things, however, is how lovingly Hartzler portrays his parents, even as they anger him. Aaron’s attraction to other boys is hinted at, but one has to read the acknowledgments to find out more. Readers will hope for a sequel to learn how his family dealt with the news of his sexuality. Grades 8-12. --Ilene Cooper