Rainbow Boys

Posted December 6, 2012 by Tara in Challenges /// 7 Comments

I like books with clear pictures of the character on the cover. My mental picture has something to work with.

Rainbow Boys
by Alex Sanchez
Narrated by: Alston Brown
AudioGo! 2012
7 hours, 9 minutes
Audiobook for review from publisher
[#66 in my 75 book challenge]

You know I love some good ol’ lesbian fiction, but this week I’ve diversified. I’ve been wanting to read Rainbow Boys for some time. I guess this was the time. Remind me again why I waited so long?

Rainbow Boys is told through the alternating narration of three boys, each in different stages of coming out. Nelson is the very gay, very out kid who takes risks and doesn’t care what anyone things. Kyle knows he’s gay, but has to figure out how he’s going to tell his parents. Jason has a girlfriend, but he might also have a crush on a boy. None of the boys have ever had a serious relationship, or even a kiss. But there’s a love triangle in their midst, and that’s all about to change…

Rainbow Boys is considered a classic in YA GBLT sub-genre (yes, YA “classics” aren’t necessarily that old, especially in such a new category). The novel definitely deserves that status. Sanchez does some edgy things here. The characters are strong and real, as are the situations. The story didn’t always veer in the predictable, morality-based direction that YA contemporary novels often do. Sanchez didn’t shy away from gay sex and frank discussions of the physical AND emotional thrills, mistakes, consequences, and satisfaction that teenagers experience the first time.

About the audio book: This book worked really well in audio. The narrator essentially disappeared and I could get lost in the story — which I appreciate. He wasn’t annoying or overly theatrical, and I thought the pacing was excellent.

FINAL GRADE:  B  This was definitely a must read for me, and I’m glad I finally read it. I knew it was a good story when I screamed “YES!” with a fist pump during a first kiss scene, and later sat in my car in parking lot listening to a crucial romance scene. I’d recommend it to lovers of contemporary and LBGT lit, and I would put it in a high school library. There are scenes with heterosexual and homosexual sex, oral sex, sex without condoms, sex with strangers, and consensual sex — so just be forewarned (all scenes are relatively brief, and most are true-to-teenage-life awkward).

Which 10-15 year old “classics” are on your reading list? What’s kept you from getting to them?


Tara is a PhD student studying education. Her dissertation will be on digital book communities as public pedagogy (ask her about it!), though she often takes a break from all of that to read books about oppressive governments and sassy teenagers. In a former life, she was a middle school teacher and middle school librarian. In her future life, she's a professor of YA lit. In her free time, she drinks a lot of coffee while planning her next grand adventure (there's always something).

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7 responses to “Rainbow Boys

  1. I read Rainbow Boys when I was in high school, back when a couple of my friends and I would book swap a book a week with each other. We went through a lot of books back then. There was another GLBT YA that we read that was right up there with Rainbow Boys in terms of awesome-ness, but at the moment the title escapes me. So happy to see Rainbow Boys getting some love!

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