Our world is changing before our eyes. For the older generations, they've seen so many changes it would boggle the mind. Growing up, they've seen racial segregation come to a halt, interracial couples no longer needing to hide their love for one another, interracial marriage, homosexuals being able to walk down the street together and now same-sex marriage. No, not everyone is accepting of everything I just listed, but basic civil right freedoms being given to all is a step in the right direction to bring the prejudices to a halt. Knowledge will make you free, change will make you free, ignoring what's before your eyes will only bring you and others pain. This is a story about a boy who realizes he's not like the other boys but because of people's prejudices, feels the pain of being different.
I was a little stuck in the rating of this book. On one side, it's a great read for the YA audience, an outlet of information for those who are reading to either understand their or others sexual orientation. Acceptance starts with awareness, and awareness starts with knowledge. Ignorance is not bliss. Now, on the other hand, the basic premise of this story has been played out many times over in one way or another. Christian boy ashamed of feeling what he feels, but starts to accept it when he meets someone like himself. A first love sparked in bible camp, which is forbidden and ridiculed by the close minded christian campers and counselors. A fallout and a realization.
The author created all the characters in this book perfectly. I could see each one as I read through the book. I could feel their emotions coursing through them and I could sense the way their brains were churning. I wanted to hug Jonathan and reassure him, yell at Ian to be more understanding, punch Jake where it counts for being such an ignorant jerk, shake reality into Paul and thank Simon for being the rock that Jonathan needed so much. A group of people, with all their individual thoughts, brought together in a way that will be a turning point for most of them. There is a line in this book that hits the thought of homosexuality right on the head, "Weren't gay guys just about casual relationships that were based on sex?" This right here is why same sex couples get the heat that they do, clueless people not realizing that a man can have a loving relationship with another man, same with women. Homosexuality is not about sex, it's about loving someone like yourself. I look forward to the day when there are no 'terms' for people based on who they want a relationship with or not.
Yes, there is a heavy Christian aspect to this book, but the message that is given in the long run, as one character stated, Hate is Hate. Loving someone of the same sex doesn't change you, you are the same person you were all along, you just aren't hiding yourself away anymore, you actually are better than what you were because you are accepting you for you. People talk about the Bible and all it says about homosexuality, but in this story you learn so much more of the Bible. You learn about some of the goofy things in it that have been pushed to the side over the years because it is just a bit outlandish.
The writing is good, terms are contemporary, situations are realistic. Any person who is open to this genre will come out knowing more than they did going into it. I would like to know how Jonathan's relationship with his parents were after camp was over with. I have a feeling that his parents came around and embraced their son and accepted him for who he is, at least I hope that's what happened. Okay, I have decided on my rating. Before starting my review, I was sure this was a 3 star, but after writing this and thinking about the story even more, it is a solid 4 star book.