Short yet forceful in many ways, this story brings Vincent out of the shadows to a place of truth.
In his debut, Hardy does an admirable job juggling a number of very delicate issues while telling a compelling story. This short, gentle romance manages to be sensual while remaining age-appropriate. It challenges received interpretations of the Judeo-Christian God's teachings on homosexuality without approaching preachiness. Its characters, most of whom might appear stereotypical at first (charismatic preacher, effeminate gay boy), never act less than realistically. This should find a place in most young-adult collections.
Julie Burwinkel (Library Media Connection, January/February 2009) Set in the late 1970s, this is a short but endearing story of a 14 year-old grappling with his sexual orientation. Vincent Harris knows he is gay. This presents a dilemma for him as the son of a Baptist minister. Every Sunday Vincent asked for his ‘sin’ to be taken away, but evidently God doesn’t listen because Vincent is still gay. Then Vincent meets Robert, a member of the church, who is drop-dead gorgeous, and Vincent is beyond smitten. When Vincent’s mother finds a gay magazine under his mattress there is a family intervention with his parents praying over him and telling him that they love him unconditionally. While attending church camp, Vincent hears God tell him that he is fine the way he is. This is a charming book from the point of view of an open and sincere protagonist. Vincent realizes the conflict, but he never attempts to be someone he is not. This might be helpful for students who are grappling with their own sexual orientation and hope there is someone who will understand them and give them permission to be who they are. There are some sexual references but no graphic sexual scenes. Recommended. 2008, Front Street (Boyds Mills Press), 112pp., $16.95 hc. Ages 12 to 18.
—Library Media Connection