on June 12, 2007
Once upon a time, Sam and Charlie were best friends. But then Sam ended the friendship-no explanations, no nothing. Now, one year later, Sam has a secret he's finding harder and harder to keep, and Charlie's dealing with an emotionally absent dad and an all-too-present dealer. The ex-best friends are thrown together once again when they have no one else to turn to.
I find myself hooked from the first page. This book deals with friendship or the disintegration of one through the eyes of two teen boys. Each teen wonders why the friendship ended and both go on paths that though destructive lead them back to each other.
P.E. Ryan has written an honest and very real portrait of a sensitive subject. Not preachy but an accurate description of the conflict that must go through a teen's mind when dealing with his sexual orientation.
This book has an important message--it's okay to be yourself.
I'd highly recommend this book.
on May 23, 2008
This is a very, very good entry into the growing number of gay-themed young adult fiction - many of which have good intentions but are clunkily executed. If you want to see how a real writer writes, read this tale.
P.E. Ryan has convincingly written a story juggling two narrators, Sam and Charlie, and their separate struggles. Both young men, estranged from one another, have "lost" a parent yet continue to suffer alone. The events that led to the estrangement, and the fallout from it are presented realistically without any unnecessary melodrama or eye-rolling resolutions. I started the first chapters of the book not sure if I was all that interested in Charlie as a character, but Ryan drew me in and I was surprised by how absorbed I became and I couldn't put the book down until I was finished.
"Saints of Augustine" is a great read, better written than many other gay-themed YA books, and deserves to find a wider audience. Here's hoping it does.
on June 27, 2007
I was really refreshed by this book - it's honest and real and doesn't pull any punches. One of the other reviewers didn't like that it wasn't fleshed out more, but I found that part of the book's charm. Sam and Charlie are expertly drawn and I found that I cared about them from the get-go. Ryan interweaves their two stories expertly and avoids any stereotyping or easy solutions. I think both guys and girls will be able to relate. A great summer read!
on May 13, 2014
A good and quick read for me. I zipped through it pretty easily (in a good way). Sam is relatable to a lot people. Not just in being gay, but assuming the worst of situations by assuming what the thoughts of others. It gets you into more trouble than you initially bargained for. Trouble you thought you were going to avoid by deceiving yourself. Life will never be perfect and not everyone will agree with who you are, what you say, and what you do. But don't hide yourself from the people who care about you. And if it does come down to the topic of sexual orientation, the people who really care for you will continue to love you no matter what. If not, then you move on. Don't blame yourself for being honest. Being You is what's important. *[MILD SPOILER]* Sam is happier now, whether or not Justin decides to stick with him. But I think Justin will (in my opinion). I think he would understand Sam's situation. Justin is confident because he has also conquered stressful situations.
on April 4, 2008
This book really took me by surprise. It's a coming-of-age story about two friends, both 16-year-old boys, one gay and one straight, growing up in Florida and trying to deal with very different inner conflicts. I was expecting a typical coming-of-age tale, ultimately pleasing but perhaps not as significant a read as what some would say are weightier novels. But this book is so well written, characters are so well developed, and the story is so extremely true to life, that it just blew me away. The author, P.E. Ryan, seems to have targeted this novel at young adults, but it reads at a totally adult level and treats its subject with the geatest of respect. In the end, I was enthralled with the tale of Sam and Charlie, and, as with all great books, did not want it to end.
on June 16, 2012
Whether you're a gay teen looking for validation, or an adult looking to vicariously experience a coming out story that could never have been even a decade ago, I think you'll like this book. It's well written and keeps you engaged. It's also a story of a gay/straight friendship coming full circle, about self discover and learning to trust.
on June 2, 2011
The interlocking stories of two boys with problems, one gay, one straight, is expertly told. I personally found the straight character's chapters more compelling and wish the reverse were true, but that's a minor complaint. That the two stories eventually collide is a given, but we know that all along from the bits of information we get about their previous strong friendship. Still, even though in some ways you know what's coming, there are plenty of surprises, and the quality of writing alone sets this book apart from just about all of its peers.
on March 8, 2009
This truly heartwarming story presents two teens struggling with adversity and coming to grips with their situations. Charlie and Sam were good friends, but after a dramatic falling out they live their lives separately until one drama filled night brings them together and forces both to face their demons.
The story is very well woven, the characters are easy to believe and the parallel story lines flow very well. It all builds up to an absolutely perfect ending. Highly recommended for old and young.
on May 14, 2008
Ever since Charlie's mother died, his father has been distant, drinking too much and never wanting to talk, least of all about the loss they've suffered. Charlie deals with things by smoking pot all the time--even though he now owes more money than he can come up with to a drug dealer, and even though his habit is threatening his relationship with his girlfriend. Things would be easier if his former best friend, Sam, was still around. But their friendship ended abruptly when Sam told Charlie, without explanation, that he no longer wanted to see him.
What Charlie doesn't know is that Sam has his own problems. His parents have split up, and his mom's horrible boyfriend has moved in with them. Sam's father, meanwhile, is in a relationship with another man, and Sam doesn't know what he'd do if anyone found out. But Sam is hiding an even bigger secret: he is also gay. When Sam meets a boy with whom he shares a mutual attraction, the truth he's tried to deny threatens to come out.
SAINTS OF AUGUSTINE is told from both Sam's and Charlie's points of view, in alternating chapters. Both of them seem very true-to-life, and the dialogue is realistic. The story also has a very honest resolution, and the plot kept me interested all the way through. It's also nice to see a young adult novel that deals so frankly with issues facing gay teenagers. All in all, this is a terrific book.
Reviewed by: Katie Hayes
on June 15, 2007
I've been waiting for this novel ever since Brent Hartinger suggested it. This book teaches you some very powerful lessons. The only reason why I didn't give it a 4 is because I think it should have been fleshed out a little more.