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Homo (Lorimer SideStreets) Hardcover – September 12, 2012
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
"Harris offers queer youth an example of post-AIDS gay life, as well as a warning against taking that history too lightly." (Quill & Quire)
"Harris' book is a gritty and harrowing, but ultimately uplifting and reassuring story... Will, Daniel and Julie are deep characters, full of life and complexity."(Rob Bittner Keen Readers 2012-11-05)
"Harris' work swiftly explores coming out and gay culture in an unflinching way that may be refreshing to readers..." (Kirkus Reviews 2013-02-01)
"Homo will be an important book for gay and straight students alike. Although it is written for struggling readers at a 4.3 grade level, the issues it raises are critical and worthy of serious consideration by all older teenagers." Highly Recommended(Joan Marshall CM: Canadian Review of Materials 2012-12-07)
"Homo is essentially a story about a gay teenager learning to become comfortable with himself and to be more accepting of others." (Heather Milne Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 5.1 2013-08-01)
"[Will's relationship with Riley is handled realistically, and its denouement is believeable...a quick and satisfying read." (Michael Cart Booklist (U.S.) 2013-03-15)
"Homo is a story about growing up that will strike a chord with many readers, gay or straight... Harris's writing is strong and adept; he ensures readability for the struggling reader without compromising the content of the story or quality of his prose. His writing is stark and realistic... Homo is an excellent choice for any library" (Kimberley Bewick Resource Links 2013-02-01)
"a raw, believable story of a young man who experiences too many elements of life too quickly, not taking time to think about the impact that each will have on his life. His journey is dark and dangerous, but he forges on, kind of figuring it out as he goes. This is an important story, one that needs to be told and one that needs to be experienced not only by teens who are struggling with their sexual identity but also by those in the straight community who need to find out how to lovingly support these young people in their journey." (Elizabeth Howard, Librarian, Whites Creek High School 2013-03-19)
Top Customer Reviews
While the story was interesting, I hated, HATED, the main character. He is a odious person. I don't think I have ever read about a more self-involved, narcissistic character. He is a total dick to his poor parents (without a shred of remorse), is a total douche to his best friends, and only thinks about himself. I can't even count the number of times he said he zoned out when someone else was talking. I loathed him.
On to the plot. Basically this book is about a gay 17 year old guy in Canada who wants out of his small town life. He ventures into the world of online dating and discovers the Vancouver gay scene. What I liked about the story was that it wasn't romanticized at all. For example, when he has sex for the first time, he is afraid to look at the condom in case it is dirty. That you don't see in many M/M books, folks. For those types of moments alone I gave this book the second star. But what I didn't like about the plot is that it is riddled, and I mean riddled, with gay stereotypes. It was just painful to read at times and it made the book seem really dated.
I still can't get over how much I hated Will. When he didn't talk to Daniel on the phone when he was crying after those boys attacked him, I wanted to punch Will in the face. The way he ignored Julie when she was talking about her alcoholic father, and the way he blamed everything on his parents (who were very cool BTW. I wanted to kiss his mom when she told him that she herself watches porn)... I just grew to hate Will more and more. If the writer wanted a bigger reading base, he should have made a character less sociopathic.
**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
I many ways Will is far from a perfect characters. He is selfish, cold, distant, uncaring, judgmental, and unsupportive. He pushes his family away, and is pretty horrible to his friends. He becomes involved with an older man who introduces him to hard drugs, and sex. Will's feelings toward this man are pretty mixed, and he understands that he is being used, but fails to end it. He, in short, is a teenager, and it was nice to read such a honest story about the mess those years can be. Will isn't a bad person, but he is making some bad choices in his life. He is so wrapped up in how hard things are for him he fails to see how difficult things are for others, and in the end he is forced to see who his actions, and lack of action have real consequences both in his life, and the lives of others. He learns some hard lessons, and comes out a changed person in the end.
I think too often high school stories are this idealized world where the love you have at 16 lasts forever, and sex is always perfect (not that there is anything wrong with that), but it's nice to see the challenges many kids face addressed in a more honest fashion. I think characters like Will encourage us to look at look at ourselves, and our own actions much more so that any sort of too perfect high school student from another story might.
The message I got from this book is that gay guys should not "act gay" so they won't be bullied and that they should accept a sub-par existence because that's all they'll ever have. How depressing.
I am glad I got this book on the Kindle so I can't donate it to the library, because I wouldn't want anyone to read this.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley for the purposes of review.
Then there are some websites listed in the author's note at the end of the book that are support networks for queer teens, which is probably good because if they were not depressed before they read this book, they may be by the time they finish it.