Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Patrick Ness
It’s another day in the life of Adam Thorn, a gay teen who is exploring his sexuality and identity, all while living under the roof of his father, who is a close-minded preacher in their small town. Even though his parents know that Adam is gay, the family doesn’t discuss it, as if Adam will just forget about it if they never bring it up. This is a complicated day for Adam, fraught with confrontations, shocking announcements, and also tremendous heartache. Adam has to figure out how to be his own biggest supporter in every aspect of his life. Adam learns that, even if he can’t control who and what he loves, he can decide that some opportunities and people are better left unpursued. By the end of the day, Adam knows that things are going to start changing in ways he never would have expected before today, but he is confident that he can handle whatever comes his way.
The events of this book take place in the course of a single day, though it is easy to forget because there is a lot of background provided about Adam’s life that comes from flashbacks. Since sexuality is a very contentious part of Adam’s life, some sexual encounters between two men are described in enough detail that the sexual content is severe. However, the interaction also shows a lot of emotional intimacy between the two characters. While many scenes in young adult novels depicting sexuality, especially between two gay characters, tend to be gratuitously graphic, this scene is meaningful and respectful. However, despite the important themes covered, the book also has some weaknesses. Because the book takes place over the course of only one day and Adam has interactions with so many people throughout the course of that day, many of the relationships in his life remain underdeveloped. For example, Adam has a complex relationship with the members of his family, but those relationships are not explored in any great depth, and the characters end up fairly two-dimensional.
*Contains severe sexual content, severe language, mild drug abuse.