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Way to Go Paperback – April 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"A very well done book about a front-burner topic, it makes a fine addition to the 'I think I'm gay' genre. Danny is very believable, and unlike so many 'issue' novels, the supporting characters are fully realized and multi-dimensional...A lot of kids will benefit from reading it...It's a story that absolutely needs to be told, and the author's approach succeeds beautifully. Excellent." (John Wetterholt Follett Library Resources 2012-02-01)

"This book is a truly life-changing one. It will make you question your views and the way you inflict them on others." (YALSA YA Galley Teen Review 2012-02-03)

"Those who, like Danny, feel like 'an island of gayness in an ocean of straightness,' should identify with his search for a path of his own." (Publishers Weekly 2012-03-12)

"From page one I was swept into Danny's world. Tom Ryan wrote a book that I will read over and over again...This book was phenomenal and I recommend it to everyone." (Doodle's Book Blog 2012-04-05)

"An enjoyable, sensitive and poignant portrait of a summer in the life of a (maybe) gay teen. Danny's search to understand his sexuality will be helpful to others in similar situations and will be enlightening to others who are simply curious about the experiences of young people coming to terms with being gay...An important addition to books available for young readers." ( 2012-05-01)

"The characters are all very well developed. The plot was solid and the setting of the book was presented in such as way that I actually felt like I was there...[A] light, fun read and...a good introduction to this genre." ( 2012-05-01)

"The [novel's] realism adds to its considerable emotional impact." (Quill & Quire 2012-05-01)

"There's a lot to love about this story, and with every character so complex and every subplot full of intrigue, Way to Go has something to offer so many readers, gay or straight, boy or girl. This isn't a coming out story. It’s a coming of age story. And I promise, it will make you laugh, too." ( 2012-05-21)

"Ryan easily finds the voices of the teens, male and female, gay and straight, as well as the adults with whom they interact, as if he has been all those people and speaks from experience." (CanLit for Little Canadians blog 2012-05-29)

"Danny's coming of age summer is about more than just his sexuality; he's also discovering who he wants to be as a person and what he wants to do as a career...This book's Canadian-ness sets it apart from a lot of other coming of age novels, and that's important, because while Canada shares a lot of culture with America, there are some differences." (Crowding the Book Truck blog 2012-06-30)

"This insightful first book is a quick, interesting, and pleasurable read. The life lessons are important and the style and tone are excellent...The story is well-told and the topic of being gay is handled with grace." (VOYA 2012-08-01)

"Tom Ryan's deft hand at teen angst makes one wonder if a percentage of the story is autobiographical...The main characters have depth and realistic flaws that make the book a good read for high school students." (Southwest Ohio and Neighboring Libraries (SWON) 2012-07-09)

"This engaging book about a reluctantly gay adolescent is more about finding one's way in life than it is about gender...The subplots in this book work well with the main storyline and the absence of any contrived or strident posturing is very reassuring. This book deserves all the respect a reader can give it." (Resource Links 2012-06-01)

"Danny is a believable character, and students struggling with the same issue will identify with him..It is a well-written book on the topics of homosexuality and friendship." (Southwest Ohio Young Adult Materials Review Group 2012-05-24)

"The theme of the book is relevant: exploring your sexuality and dealing with peer pressure to be someone you aren't. Recommended." (Library Media Connection 2012-11-01)

"Ryan aptly shows the confusion a young adult feels when determining his/her sexuality...Dan's story is one that will entertain and educate...Ryan definitely has something to offer to young adults who might be pondering how best to navigate the murky waters of sexual self-discovery." (Tri State YA Book Review Committee 2012-09-01)

"The characters are wonderfully written and are brought to life more by their words and actions than simply by descriptions...While Way to Go deals with serious topics, such as sexual orientation, identity, self-acceptance, friendship and family, Tom Ryan keeps the story moving and does not let it get too heavy or depressing for the reader...An excellent coming-of-age story that will appeal to a variety of readers." (CM Magazine 2012-10-26)

"Ryan has an engaging writing style and nicely captures the angst of being a teenager—and the excitement...Ryan's portrait of rural Nova Scotia doesn't avoid the issues of the limitations of small-town life in the Maritimes but he makes it equally clear that it's a world that not everyone wants to escape from. Way to go, Tom Ryan!" (Canadian Children's Book News 2012-11-01)

"This coming out/coming of age story is a clean, quick and easy read." (NJ Youth Services 2012-10-18)

"Ryan gives a balanced look into the experience of a teen struggling with his sexuality and other related questions and concerns against the small town setting of Deep Cove...Way To Go offers a positive representation of LGTBQ stories that go beyond simple coming out narratives." ( 2013-03-08)

"With a cast of authentic characters, Tom Ryan explores the topic of coming out in a small town...Way to Go speaks not only directly to teens coming to terms with being gay, but also to anyone who feels like an outsider." (Amy's Marathon of Books blog 2014-01-20)

From the Back Cover

Maybe Lisa had appeared out of nowhere for a reason. I was kind of like a frog in a fairytale who needed a kiss from a princess so he could turn into a prince. Only, instead of a frog, I was a might-be-gay kid who needed straightening out, and instead of a princess, she was a cigarette-smoking tattooed city girl with a bag full of mix tapes. I figured that was close enough. Learn to dance. Learn to cook. Learn to live. If only it were that simple. Danny thinks he must be the only seventeen-year-old guy in Cape Breton-in all of Nova Scotia, maybe-who doesn't have his life figured out. His buddy, Kierce, has a rule for every occasion. His best friend, Jay, seems unworried by bad grades. Danny's dad nags him about his post-high-school plans, his friends bug him about his non-existent sex life, and a run-in with the cops means he has to get a summer job. But worst of all, he's keeping a secret that could ruin everything.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 8 - 12
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Orca Book Publishers (April 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 145980077X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1459800779
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,915,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tom Ryan was born and raised in Inverness, Nova Scotia. At various points in recent years he has hung his hat in Halifax, NS; Victoria, BC and Ottawa.

His debut Young Adult novel, WAY TO GO (Orca Book Publishers, 2012) was a nominee for the Ontario Library Association's "White Pine" Award for best Canadian young adult novel of 2012. It was also named to the American Library Association's 2012 Rainbow List of books of note for LGBTQ youth, and was selected as one of the ALA's 2012 Quick Picks.

His second Young Adult novel, TAG ALONG (Orca Book Publishers) was released on October 1, 2013. He has also written two Middle Grade novels for Orca Book Publishers' "Limelights" series of books for young teenagers involved in the performing arts. The first of these, TOTALLY UNRELATED, was released on October 1, 2013, and is a Junior Library Guild selection. The second of his Limelights books, BIG TIME, will be released in April, 2014.

Tom lives with his partner and dog in Ottawa, Ontario and plans to eventually move back home to beautiful Nova Scotia.

He can be found online at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Doodle on April 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
I was intrigued after reading the summary, but it doesn't do the book justice. From page one I was swept into Danny's world. Tom Ryan wrote a book that I will read over and over again.

Danny has just finished his junior year of high school and he isn't sure who he really is or what he wants to do with his life. It takes getting busted by the cops and forced into a summer job he didn't really want to push him to figure it out. He ignores his two best friends, Kierce and Jay, for the first few weeks of summer because of a girl, Lisa. She is energetic, beautiful, and easy going. With his reluctance, she gets him to dance, let loose, and have a little fun, something Danny doesn't do well on his own. Kierce is pushy and thinks the world of himself. Jay is the friend everyone needs. He is relaxed, easy to get along with, and accepting.

What I loved most about this book was Danny's little sister Alma. She is thirteen, loves classic movies, and she attempts to lighten the mood when things get tense. I found myself laughing throughout the book whenever she would make a reference to a movie. Another thing I liked was Kierce's rules. The book is littered with them. I would find myself rereading the rules because they were either true for most people I know or they were so ridiculous that I thought maybe I should add this to my list. For instance, "Rule Two: If you want to get rich, you've got to do well in school. Study as hard as you party." If you know where I go to college, then you know I attend the #1 party school in the US. This rule applies to everyone on campus.

Overall, this book was phenomenal and I recommend it to everyone. It was amazing and held some life lessons that not every one achieves. Acceptance being the number one lesson on that list.
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Format: Paperback
Way to Go is the kind of YA novel that you can't stop reading. I read it in a night and have already passed it along to a friend. Don't get me wrong, it's not a big adventure. It's a gentle, thoughtful story. It asks some big questions and answers them with humour and insight. Thank you to this author for stepping into the Young Adult ring and giving us a story about a 17 year old male trying to find his way in the world. The protagonist is into cooking and he has a great circle of close friends. The characters are real and the life lessons make this novel a must read. Five stars!!!
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By JA13 on April 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
"Way to Go" immediately drew me in from the first chapter, I knew this was going to be a book I'd race through and love every minute. I think this book has so many lessons to share and acceptance of one's self and of others is the biggest. Tom Ryan creates a wonderful story with believable characters that puts you in the midst of their "group".

I loved it and think that it should be stocked in every high school library and on every guidance counsellors reading list.

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Format: Paperback
Unlike a lot of gay teen books, this one is set firmly in the past (in the early 1990s). This is a nice change of pace, and will probably find a market among gay men who remember that time (it also means it's less likely to seem dated any time soon). It's a nicely told coming of age story, thoughtful and sensitive. No explosions or heavy drama, just compelling relationships and nicely drawn characters
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Tom Ryan's "Way To Go" is a classy and refreshing glimpse into how a young man might feel and act when presented with the possibility of being gay. His characters and story make for a terrific read for the young and the not so young. It's hard to believe that "Way To Go" is Tom's first novel.
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