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Tale of Two Summers Hardcover – June 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 950L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (June 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689874391
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689874390
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,850,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up–For the first time in their history as best friends, Hal and Chuck will be spending the summer apart: Chuck to attend a summer theater camp and Hal to stay in their hometown of Wheaton, MD, and learn to drive. To ensure contact throughout their separation, Chuck sets up a private blog where the boys can post daily messages about their adventures (or lack thereof), the text of which constitutes this witty novel. Sloan succeeds at the dual voicing of the characters; from the first entries, the teens distinct voices are clear. Much of their virtual conversation revolves around their summer romantic prospects and their pursuit of emotionally as well as physically meaningful relationships. This somewhat typical premise is complicated by the fact that Hal is gay and has newly outed himself to Chuck. As they compare their experiences, the boys are also working together to define what Hals sexual identity means in the context of their friendship. Many of their entries involve discussions of the physiological dimensions of intimacy, such as when Chuck asks, Not to be crude or anything, but exactly how does a gay guy lose his virginity–is that actually possible? Hals answer is frank, explicit, and endearing. Compared to Melvin Burgesss Doing It (Holt, 2004), this novel is less deliberately bawdy and more realistic, earthy, and even sweet. Like David Levithan and Julie Ann Peters, Sloan is breaking ground among the greats of gay-themed young adult fiction.–Amy S. Pattee, Simmons College, Boston
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Chuck is straight, and Hal is gay. They have been best friends since the age of 5. Now, at 15, they must spend their first summer apart; Chuck has the lead in a musical show. They talk online through a blog, often several times a day, and they share every intimate detail of their lives, including romance and sex ("OMG . . . we friggin' made out!!"). Hal hooks up with and has sex with Henri, a French foreign exchange student, but Henri's pot habit gets out of control. Chuck is caught between two young women, but what involves him the most are rehearsals for the show and the build-up to opening night. As with any blog, the talk is often repetitive and trivial, and readers will race through the rambling interchanges, maybe even skip some. But the two contemporary voices are right-on: informal without being cute; supportive, irritable, funny, and angry; intense about love, sex, drugs, family--and especially about friendship. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

I am a writer and director of a number of indie films, most recently the drama WTC VIEW (www.wtcview.com). I've worked on some TV shows as well, namely COOKIN' IN BROOKLYN (Discovery) and EASY RIDERS RAGING BULLS (BBC/Trio). And, oh yeah, I've written a couple books too. :) PROM MESS is the winner of the 2005 Violet Quill Award for best LGBT Book Of The Year. And my second novel, TALE OF TWO SUMMERS, is a finalist for the 2007 Lambda Literary Award in YA lit. How cool is that? :)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 23 customer reviews
The best thing is that nothing works out the way I thought it would.
Edward Aycock
I'll read more of this stuff and reccomend this book to my teen students and all the kids at the theater conservatory.
LiveLearnGrow
You feel as if you are reading a real person's thoughts, emotions, and opinions.
Cimmerz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Edward Aycock on February 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I wish that a novel like this had been around when I was in high school. Author/director/screenwriter Brian Sloan (WTC View, I Think I Do) writes a satisfyingly dense story of a summer in the lives of two bets friends: gay (and newly out) Hal, and Chuck, the straight "wonderboy."

I'm not usually one for books written entirely in emails, letters, diary entries etc. but it works in this book; the heroes are corresponding via a blog, they get more detailed when explaining what's going on in their lives.

The novel is also notable because it explores the friendship between a gay teen and his straight friend. This is such a rare phenomena to depict, it makes the book feel ex. I did relate in many ways as this book reinded me so much of a one of my most important friendships, right down to Hal's neediness. Sloan really gets it. I think Hal may have been just slightly better developed a character than Chuck, but that may just be because part of me was more interested in his tale.

This an excellent, frank and very readable novel. I read it in two days because I kept wanting to see what happened next. The best thing is that nothing works out the way I thought it would. Despite this being targeted for the Young Adult age bracket, I'd recommend this for us "grown-ups" as well. When a book's this good, everybody should take a chance and read it.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on April 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a literature student in the University of California and one of the things that I look forward to most about my vacations is being able to read 'fun' books that no self-respecting professor would have on a sylabus. For my spring break, one of the novels that I blind w/o any knowledge (besides amazon's descriptions) was 'A Tale Of Two Summers' which has honestly become one of my favorite books - over the course of three days I read the book twice.

The book follows the summer adventures of two best friends (one striaght, one gay) as they spend their first summer apart in almost 10 years. Both of the boys are 15 years-old, and they are going through the struggles of lust, love, and lonelyness, while trying to find their niche in the world. While the book had many personal touches that I could relate to (I am gay and met my own 'Henri' several months ago), beyond that, the story not only have a very frank portrayal of a budding gay relationship. But, it also touches on the realism of gay life, sex, and relationships.

But beyond that it shows a beautiful story of two friends bonding, despite the distance placed between them for the summer as they fall in and out of love.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By LiveLearnGrow on August 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The format... teens writing on a Blog to describe their summer was an intriguing idea. I've read "journaled fiction" (did I just create a genre) before and found it to be inventive. This is my first with blogjournalizedfic (I totally made that one up). He did.. Mr. Sloan that is. I had a vested interest in the book (enjoy coming out stories and musical theater and spend ample time on the internet and carrying on significant relationships via email while seprated from loved ones to know). Some plot choices the author made - a straight musical theater freak who obsesses about Sondheim ... were quietly inspired. He avoided a cliche there (but there is some reason that drama clubs are so creative - give it up for the gays). He also has a wit about him plugging in cultural references without taking the reader (especially an over 40 guy like me) so far into teen lingo I didn't know what the heck was being said. One of my favorite lines was something to the effect that Hal was dangerously close to having a realtionship with Henri where he was "Whitney to Henri's Bobby" or something like that. ROTFL (I learned that from the book). That's a tase of this author's skill. I'll read more of this stuff and reccomend this book to my teen students and all the kids at the theater conservatory. One not familiar with that arena might be at a loss to Chuck's missives about Sondheim.. but to the initiated we get it. Bravo on this work.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Cimmerz on September 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
When I first came across this book, I was skeptical. Mainly due to the format. How interesting can two teenagers blog entries really be? Okay, sure it can be interesting, but for how long? Will it seem forced? Still, it intrigued me to see just how it was done.

Needless to say, after only reading the first few pages, my initial thoughts seemed to go away. The blog entries worked. However, it's not until you really delve into this story that you realize, that the blog entry is merely a device (and I mean that in a good way). The gem here is the story, and the two lead characters. Allowing the story to unfold through their blog entries, allows these characters and their lives to become real and easy to relate to. You feel as if you are reading a real person's thoughts, emotions, and opinions. Adding to the realism are the countless pop culture references from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Halo, Scream, and Spider-Man. It reminds you that this is taking place in our world. All of this works.

I hate reviews that recap a story that is already recapped on the page itself (or in someone else's reviews), so I won't do that. Suffice it to say, it's raw emotion. The characters allow themselves to express themselves in a way that really draws you to both of them. There are moments where you'll laugh. There are moments where you'll be thinking "I've done that", or "I've been there". Then there are moments where you can feel your heart drop for Hal and Chuck.

Sadly, the majority of the people who will buy or read this book will be those from the gay community. I say sadly, because this is the kind of book that should not be limited to just the gay community. It should be enjoyed by all people, regardless of their sexual orientation. It's a tale of love, loyalty, and growing up. But above all else, it's a story about friendship. Something anyone and everyone can relate to.
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