Reviewer Erin Davis writes: I fell in love with this book. When I read the synopsis, I got super-excited about the fact that Dillon, the main character is, one, male, which is so hard to find in YA novels, two, a person of color, and, three, struggling to figure out whether he is gay or not. There is some really beautiful symbolism and parallels that are made between Dillon’s situation over the summer and the hawk that Dillon and his uncle brought to the bird rehabbers over at the beginning of the summer.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Like I said, I get excited about YA books that have a male protagonist because they’re so rare, but to also have that character be a person of color is exciting because we need more diverse books!! In addition for the book to address the topic of homosexuality and what it may be like to encounter figuring that out as a teenage boy is outstanding.
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Reiewer Heather Dowell writes: This book is very easy to get into. It's paced well; the events gradually unfold while allowing the characters to react to them in a believable way. Though this book did not make me laugh or cry, it did tug at my heart strings. Dillon is a likable character. He's mature and he doesn't dwell on things too much.
At the start of this book, Dillon is accused of being part of a gang that robbed a store. The gang members have been trying to recruit him for ages, but he wants no part of it. Even so, his mom thinks that he does, so she sends him to live with his uncle. While there, he falls for Scott, who is openly gay.
All of the main characters, except Dillon's mom, are gay. This is a bit unrealistic, but I like it. If you reverse the ratio to straight vs gay, it'll be pretty accurate. Making the characters gay also eliminates most of the drama that comes with other "LGBT" books. I say "LGBT" in quotes because this book is so much more than that. By taking away most LGBT issues (difficulty coming out, isolation, bullying), this story is able to focus on how the characters develops (rather than their sexual orientation) and the more important topic of gang violence.
The romance in this book was intimate in the way that Dillon and Scott got to know each other before going at it. They also showed respect by asking their partner what they were comfortable doing, which I think is a lesson to be learn by all couples. If you haven't explored the world of LGBT literature, this is a save place to start. While there are some heated moments, nothing is overly graphic or crass.
I love the family dynamic between Dillon and his uncle. They are both open and communicate with each other. Then you have Scott, who has two very loving dads. Most would say both of these families are unconventional, yet they show what a family should be. They communicate and love one another unconditionally.
On top of all this, there is the subplot with the birds which gives the characters a reason to interact. Every element of this book is so beautifully woven that it's impossible not to love these characters and the world around them. If you're looking for a diverse book about a mixed, gay, intercity teen--with an unconventional family--who's trying to rise above his roots while falling in love for the first time, you won't find anything better than this. I don't have any books with gang violence as a plot line, so I will recommend one with LGBT themes instead.
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