So, since this book was getting a sequel, and a novella I decided to re-read this book. Well, actually I first tried the novella but couldn’t get into it at all. I was just utterly confused. I read my review for this book, I checked the blurb, but I just couldn’t get into the story. So a re-read was in order. I had to dig a bit to find this book, but when I did I immediately went to reading it.
This review will consist of parts from my old review (bold type) with new comments (normal type).
Rafe is an openly gay guy, but he wants to get rid of the spotlight and all the labels. So what does he do? He transfers to a boarding school far away from his family and friends, and ditches his labels. He is still gay but not openly. He soon becomes friends with various people, from Jocks to the outsiders.
It was so interesting to see Rafe and how he turned into a whole new person. How he was exploring, discovering new things. How he was trying to handle all this newness, and also explain it to those close to him. It was fun to see him interact with various characters from sporty guys to his roommate and his best friend.
I loved the book, I loved Rafe. Though I didn’t really like the descriptions of him doing things with himself. I don’t need to know that, or what he fantasizes about. :\
I loved Rafe still, I even loved him more in this second read, I am not sure how to explain, but I could see it clearer on why he would want to not say anything about his gayness. Sure, I wasn’t agreeing with the fact he was making up little lies. But I could understand that he just wanted to be treated normally for once. That he could just be with guys without them making jokes, or treating him like a pariah, like he would go to bed with all of them. I could understand that.
I was a bit surprised that he wanted to ditch labels, but in the mean time was putting himself in a new label, and also labelling others (for instance the whole jock stuff).
I didn’t really have a problem this round with the sexual stuff. If anything I was wondering what the me from 4 years ago had a problem (if you would call it that), as I didn’t see anything that was that outstanding. There were a few things here and there, but nothing groundbreaking. I guess I changed a bit in those 4 years.
I loved his relationship with Ben, though I was quite sad
Yep, I still had a problem with this when this one popped up in the book. It just annoyed me so. Ben and Rafe were so cute together, they did a lot of things together. But then Rafe confesses something, and it was like the world exploded for Ben, as if Rafe was this big bad person. And yes, I do agree that Rafe's lies weren't good (though I wouldn't consider him hiding his gayness a lie), but that the fact he was gay shouldn't be that big of a deal breaker for you. So what if he was openly gay, so what? Does that make this experience less for you and him? Does that make this, what you guys have, something worthless? Can't you understand why he wouldn't say anything? Can't you at least listen to his reasons. I just found it really weird that he was all open to exploring, but when suddenly someone turns out gay he just goes a whole different direction.
Some more on the relationship between Ben and Rafe. I just found them both to be very cute. I was definitely shipping them and rooting for them to get together. For Rafe to finally be honest with Ben, and they would be forever together. I also loved how well they balanced and complimented each other, they were a great match. Both of them intelligent and interested in various topics, and I loved their discussions. Their conversations were really fun to read.
I am not sure what to think of the parents. Yes, I was happy they were so open with Rafe, and that they accepted him as he was. However, at times I found them a bit TOO much. Especially with his coming out, I just felt, this especially goes for the mom, that they were a bit too eager and too enthusiastic and over the top. Giving him books, taking him too meetings, even the mom becoming a president of a network for parents with gay kids. It felt like she was forcing him, not helping him. Continuous discussion about gayness, oppression and more. Yes, it is important, but your kid is more than just GAY. He is also a boy, he also wants to talk about something different for once. Let him live a bit. Let him explore on his own. If he has questions he can always go to you guys, but it is also important that he is able to figure out stuff himself. To find a place for him to belong.
Claire Olive, eh, at times I quite liked her, her voice was really well written, but at times I just wanted to hit the girl on the head. For various reasons.
I loved the little parts in between the chapters, that featured Rafe’s life and how he became what he is now.
For some reason I was just not interested in these parts that much this round. I was bored, and I even noticed myself getting distracted by other things when these parts came up. Maybe it was because I already read them and vaguely remembered them, or maybe it was something else entirely. I did like the teacher’s notes, they were quite fun to read.
All in all, I would highly recommend this book to everyone. I will be re-reading it someday again.