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
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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 RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved