Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy Used
$4.25
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: FREE TRACKING ON ALL ORDERS! Support Your Planet. Buy CLEAN EARTH BOOKS. Shipping orders swiftly since 2008. A used book that may have some cosmetic wear (i.e. shelf-wear, slightly torn or missing dust jacket, dented corner, pages may include limited notes and highlighting) All text in great shape! Comes with our 100% Money Back Guarantee. Our customer service can't be beat! Tracking included on all orders.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

What They Always Tell Us Hardcover – August 12, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$2.89 $0.01

Up to 50% off select Young Adult books
Featured titles are up to 50% off for a limited time. See all titles
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—Alex and James are only one year apart, but the distance between these brothers is vast. James, a popular and talented senior, awaits news about his early admission to Duke, playing tennis and going to parties with his buddies on the weekends. Alex, a junior, is confused and disoriented after having chugged Pine-Sol at a party, lost all of his friends, and found himself secretly dating Nathen, one of his brother's best pals. The backdrop is Tuscaloosa, AL, where Alex knows his emerging sexual identity will never be accepted, and James fears he will be stuck forever if Duke turns him down. The boys wander their way through the school year fulfilling family obligations, befriending an odd and lonely neighbor boy, and navigating their way back to mutual affection after a period of mild estrangement. Wilson's novel offers a look inside the minds of both brothers, allowing readers to experience their parents, their school, and their town from two distinct points of view, confident and fearful, indifferent and melancholy, impatient and reflective. Some readers may feel that the book has a bit of a slow start, with some of the relationships only beginning to develop after page 100. They may come away wishing to have gotten to know the central characters more deeply, although the relationship between Alex and Nathen is touchingly realistic. In the end, this book may appeal to teens who are grappling with decisions about the future, the frustrations of family, and the choices that relationships require of us.—Nora G. Murphy, Los Angeles Academy Middle School
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The story is told in alternating chapters by two brothers. James is a popular, smart senior who awaits his acceptance letter from Duke. But there are several dark folds in his smooth life. He is in the process of breaking up with Alice, whose only attraction for him was their sexual relationship. Then there’s his brother. What was he thinking when he swallowed Pine-Sol at a party? Alex is a junior and still trying to find his way back from an impetuous, potentially deadly act. His friends are gone, but one of James’ buddies, Nathen, gets Alex involved in running, and slowly Alex sees there might be a life left for him. Soon it becomes clear that the life he wants is with Nathen, who returns his feelings. The writing, which at first seems straightforward, almost bland, becomes increasingly layered as it dispenses its information, gradually and ever more movingly. Adding both texture to the story and an element of mystery is the inclusion of a young neighbor boy, whose problems draw both James and Alex to his side and to each other. This is a strong debut, and Wilson shows admirable control of a complicated story that in less-accomplished hands could have spun out of control. The structure literally allows readers to see both sides. Grades 9-12. --Ilene Cooper
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (August 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385735073
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385735070
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,977,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wish this book had been around when I was a kid. Believable characters in real life situations. The author does not speak down to his target audience. He speaks to them on their level, using language that they would use, not the watered-down, sugar-sweet language that I remember reading. I also find it amazing how even secondary characters are so multidimensional. Cannot recommend this book enough, to people of all ages.
Comment 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
There is something very comforting about this book. Sitting down and reading it took me back to my own teenage years and the way with which Wilson captures that familiarity is very cool. I didn't grow up anywhere near Alabama and yet what these characters go through rang very true to me. Everything from the relationship between the two brothers to the storyline with the neighbor's kid. Very simply written and yet smart and complex. The fact that both the writer's sense of humor and connection to the material comes across so easily is only one of many great aspects about this book. I was very pleased.
Comment 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Martin Wilson crafts a wonderful tale of teenage friendship, troubles & love (both familial & otherwise) among 4 boys that are growing up in suburban Alabama. "What They Always Tell Us" masterfully portrays today's teenage voice in a way to which almost anyone can relate. Much like an Altman film, Wilson creates characters that have their own disparate stories & then come together in a not unremarkable way. The writing style is also reminiscent of Louis de Bernières. Though the subject matter may rarely veer into the risque, it is never sensational nor is it used for anything other than logical plot advancement. (It is useful to keep in mind that Holden Caulfield's language was a bit racy, too.) Wilson's writing is ebullient without being pedantic, a rare trait in first-time authors. I would without reservation recommend this book for any person that enjoys a well-written, smart & relateable novel that cleverly and successfully explores teenage life.
Comment 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a wonderful book. I complement the author for writing about gay boys who are not drama queens, experienced, or overly sex motivated. I seem to remember taking uncertain steps, halting attemps, unsure about my feelings. I loved the boys who were stars of this drama and I really hated for the book to end.

For a change, it depicted the parents and as loving and supportive. I liked the fact that Alex was not totally narcisistic and able to show compassion for others who needed friends. It showed a gay boy who was a whole human being.

I really hope that librarys will put this book on their shelves. I am leaving mine used copy at the teen center in my small town.
Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"What They Always Tell Us" has alternating chapters between brothers, Alex and James, which allows the reader to gain insight into their personalities, and their reactions to an incident that happened before the story's narrative, and the aftermath.

I think one of this book's strongest characteristics is that the reader can really feel the growth between both brothers. Martin Wilson does a fantastic job of making these characters relatable, and multi-dimensional.

Alex has practically become a recluse after his friends all ditch him, and his parents act like they have to walk on eggshells or he'll suddenly go off balance and do something crazy again. He has to endure all of this alone, but Martin doesn't exploit the situation and aim for the reader's sympathy. That comes naturally through Alex's interactions with Henry and Nathen, which set him on a path of transformation that the reader can believe and relate to. As I watched Alex begin to grow up, I rooted for him even more. I found myself invested in his happiness, which is a sign of a great character.

And James is neither the super comforting big protector, nor is he a huge juke who could care less about Alex. The incident definitely puts a strain on their relationship, but I really like that Martin chose to include James' narrative, because you can see how much he's trying to be there for Alex, but it's not as easy it seems. He has his own life, own problems, and own worries, all of which are very relatable to a senior preparing to go off to college, and escape the small hometown he's always known. To him, the high school life full of parties is becoming monotonous and he feels like he's drifting away from all his friends who are still so invested in it.
Read more ›
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
James and Alex are brothers but seemingly complete opposites, and the novel chronicles (as the book jacket says) the year that changes everything. That sounds a bit cliche, but the book itself is, thankfully, pretty cliche free.

The older brother James is more outgoing, but has a growing dissatisfaction with his high school life. His emotions are torn about his younger brother, Alex, who he used to be close with, but now wants to distance himself from. Younger brother Alex, now moody and withdrawn, starts to come into his own thanks to two people: the little kid who moves in across the street, and--especially--Nathan, who opens up a whole new world to him through running and a friendship that may turn into something more.

The chapters alternate the point of view between the two brothers and the author--Martin Wilson--does a good job of establishing unique voices for each and showing how the thoughts/feelings vs. the actions of the brothers have them both caught between what they truly want to do and what's expected of them by their friends and family.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews