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Boy Girl Boy Paperback – May 1, 2007
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Larry is gay and still coming to terms with his sexuality. His friends accept his sexuality, but he's not sure he can introduce his new lover to them. Teresa is athletic, always running from the things that frighten her, and frustrated that the two most important men in her life don't appreciate her romantically. Elliot is a basketball star who secretly feels much smarter and happier when he spends time away from his two best friends.
Each of the characters has some difficult aspect relating to their proper families. Larry's mother is a medium. Elliot's parents are extremely religious. Teresa's mother abandoned her with her abusive father. There is a sense that they turn to one another for support. The insularity of their friendship protects them from those things that might harm them, but it also prevents them from growing in the outside world.
BOY GIRL BOY divides the narration among each of the characters, rotating between each voice. The exploration of the friendship is insightful, effectively capturing the intensity of adolescent attachment, as well as the relief each character feels at finally getting room to breathe. However, it lacks some of the anguish that occurs as friendships end or change. The characters in this book are also particularly lucky that they are all ready to end one thing and begin another at the same time. Both Larry and Elliot have new relationships by the end of the book, while Teresa seems to be overcoming an eating disorder and starts tutoring.
Ron Koertge, author of numerous books for young adults, has a reputation for writing about unusual relationships between young people without relying on stereotypes or contrived endings. His book STONER & SPAZ about the friendship between a wild party girl and a boy with cerebral palsy is convincing, moving and realistic. BOY GIRL BOY doesn't have the same narrative or emotional punch, but is in many ways more optimistic. The book reads like a reassuring fable, promising that the inevitability of change doesn't always have to mean the end of all previous dreams and friendships.
--- Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood
Boy - Larry is smart, but he's also gay. His friends understand, but others - not so much. Struggling to be sure he really is what he is takes up most of Larry's time and effort. Maybe California would answer his questions. Maybe not ...
Girl - Teresa is a straight student, but she struggles with issues from the past. She's never totally understood why her mother left her. Doesn't a girl need a mother? Her father is too busy with his "Tiny Town" hobby project in the basement to really understand what she needs. Her friends understand her pain. Maybe California would offer her a fresh start. Maybe not ...
Boy - Elliot is going to play ball for U of I. It's his father's dream. Elliot's dream is being a butcher in his father's store. Since he is not the student that his friends are, the academic side of college scares Elliot. Maybe going to California would take U of I out of the picture. Maybe not ...
Koertge tells his story from alternating viewpoints, allowing readers to see into the minds and fears of the trio. The struggle to understand one's life in the past, present, and future is reflected in Larry, Teresa, and Elliot. There is something for everyone in BOY GIRL BOY.
Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
Elliot is a confused guy. He wants to get away from his town as soon as possible, but his parents have something more for him. They want him to go to the University and major in Engineering, Elliot definitely doesn't think he is smart enough for that, and he doesn't want to tell them that he is moving to California. And his parents especially wont be thrilled to hear that when they find out it's with his two best friends, Larry and Teresa.
Teresa is a broken girl. Her mother left her when she was 13 years old, and ever since then she barely eats and does nothing unless it's with Larry or Elliot. She is a smart girl and could get into so many schools with scholarships, but what she really wants is to get away. To get away from all the looks and stares people give her, the one whose mother left her.
Larry is... different. He is gay. He found out when he was 13 and when people around his town started finding out he was gay, they started treating him like he had an incurable disease, and he hates that. He wants to get away to a place where people accept his lifestyle choice and don't put him down because of it. He is a smart guy and has so much potential, but no one will let him show it. Except Teresa and Elliot.
Three best friends deal with issues of real life, and its very interesting to see the paths they take.
This book is a quick read and I think it is a decent book. It got a B- mainly because I think the author could have gone into detail more about what each character was going through, but I also liked how it was straight to the point and no fluff around the edges. It was a book that dealt with issues that some people shy away from and I think it teaches you a little something about what people go through.
I say, give it a try. It isn't that long of a book anyway. You'll be done with it in 3 hours, tops.