“Readers will appreciate the author’s creation of a funny, flawed protagonist with a realistically complicated sexuality.” — Publishers Weekly
If you aren’t gay, and you aren’t straight, is there a third choice?
“Josh fancies you, Sam,” said Brenda. “You lucked out. The first gay guy in school, and he fancies you!”
The only problem was that Sam wasn’t gay — or at least he didn’t think he was. And if he might be, he sure wasn’t going to tell anyone, not after seeing the way Josh was treated once he was outed. Sam didn’t agree with Brenda at all. He didn’t think he was so lucky.
But a year later, Sam is 19, with no clear plans for the future, except playing on his local soccer team, and hanging out with his mates. And soccer is pretty much his life during the summer – he’s either practicing, playing, or going to games. His favorite place to hang out and think about things is the loo in the park near the soccer field. And the last year he’s had a lot to think about – like Josh, and what might have happened that night Josh came over to his house if he’d let Josh kiss him. About girls, about guys, and how he wasn’t as tight with his friends from school as he used to be.
But mostly Sam thinks about himself, asking “Who am I? What am I? Where do I go from here?” and never really finding any answers. Even the dictionary doesn’t help. Is he gay, straight, or bisexual? None of the labels really seem to fit. And there’s no one he can talk to about it, because his fear keeps him silent. What would they say? Would his friends reject him? Would he end up alone? And what about the guys on his team? Would he still be able to play with them? They are super straight, and soccer is such a huge part of his life, and he’s so good at it.
His fear paralyzes him and keeps him from doing anything, from talking to anyone, from finding answers to all those questions. And whether he’s on the soccer field, in the stands, out drinking with his friends, or at home, he’s always hiding a part of himself, the part that wants to know the answers, the part that wants to be totally real with the world. And still Sam is asking himself, “What if? What if?” Then one day, Toby, a guy he’d noticed all year in one of his history classes, calls Sam, and he finally decides to share a little piece of his own truth.
This booktalk was written by librarian and booktalking expert Joni R. Bodart