Sunday, November 18, 2012

Book Review: Getting It, by Alex Sanchez (2006, Simon & Schuster)

Recommended for ages 14+

Fifteen-year old Carlos is a virgin, and it is driving him crazy. All of his friends have had sex at least once, and all he can do is moon over Roxy, the most gorgeous girl in school. He has no idea how to make himself more attractive to the opposite sex, but when he catches an episode of the television show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, where a group of gay men give a straight man a complete makeover, he’s got an idea. He approaches Sal, a gay classmate, with his Queer Eye idea, and Sal agrees – provided Carlos helps Sal get a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) started at their school. Carlos is uneasy about it, but agrees.
As Carlos spends more time with Sal, his horizons broaden, and he realizes that his friends’ homophobia is out of line. When the school pushes back against the GSA plan, Sal expects Carlos to step up and keep his promise – on the same day that Roxy invites Carlos over for a “hookup”. Carlos learns that doing the right thing is not always the easiest thing.
Alex Sanchez writes teen romance, primarily focusing on gay teens and their journeys toward self-acceptance. With Getting It, Sanchez gives readers a straight protagonist on his own journey. Starting out as part of a group of loud, hormonally amped-up teenage boys, Sanchez quickly establishes Carlos as a sensitive, different part of the group. He also gives Carlos problems that readers can relate to: his divorced parents do not have an amicable relationship; his father’s new wife and baby take precedence; and his mother’s relationship with her boyfriend can be uncomfortable at times. When Carlos is able to overcome his own prejudices to reach out and befriend a gay teen, it sends a message to readers of both genders. Gay teens will identify with or be inspired by Sal, who comes from a supportive family and knows who he is: out, proud, and interested in helping his community. He sees in Carlos a chance to build bridges between the gay and straight communities at school, and in doing so, teaches Carlos that his own feelings of self-worth are important.
Getting It was the Myers Outstanding Book Award Winner (2007); took second place for Best Young Adult Fiction (English) at the 9th International Latino Book Awards, and was a  New York Public Library “Book for the Teen Age” (2007).
Teen author Alex Sanchez is a passionate GLBT advocate who tours the country speaking to librarians and students about the importance of tolerance and Gay-Straight Alliances in schools. His website provides resources for gay youth on coming out and getting help; links to information about being gay and spiritual; and links about banned books and censorship. He also provides his bio, information on his books, and contact information for any educators interested in speaking with him or inviting him to speak.

No comments: