Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Book Review: Boyfriends with Girlfriends by Alex Sanchez


Boyfriends with GirlfriendsBoyfriends with Girlfriends by Alex Sanchez
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing
Publish Date: April 19, 2011
Hardcover, 224 pages 
Fiction, Young Adult, Gay and Lesbian
 ISBN: 978-1416937739

My Review:
Why I read this: It sounded interesting and different.

My thoughts:  I found Boyfriends with Girlfriends to be an interesting look into the lives of teenagers who either were gay, or bi-sexual or not sure what they were.  I think it gave a somewhat heart-felt and honest look at what it's like to be a teenager and be in this situation.  I think it's good for books like this to be out there in the wake of some of the tragedies that have taken place in recent years especially over homosexuality.

I enjoyed the book and the look into the four main characters, Lance who is gay and is best friends with Allie who was straight but now she's not so sure, Sergio who is bi-sexual and Kimiko who is gay but in the closet to her family.  I liked the four different viewpoints and the honesty their situations brought to the table.  I wish the book could have been a little more in-depth but realize the author was limited.  However I think he did a good job putting as much as he could into the book to give you a real feel for the characters and their situations.  I really liked all four of the characters and there were qualities in each of them that I could relate to and if I could I know teenagers could.  Another thing I like is that the world these teenagers are in seems more accepting that what we see on the news.

The book reads quickly and is very enjoyable.  I recommend it with warnings that it does have some sexual situations in it.  Otherwise I think it is a frank look at the world of teenagers who don't conform to society's standards of sexuality.  Mr. Sanchez does not pull any punches.

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

About the Book:

Lance has always known he was gay, but he's never had a real boyfriend. Sergio is bisexual, but his only real relationship was with a girl. When the two of them meet, they have an instant connection--but will it be enough to overcome their differences?

Allie's been in a relationship with a guy for the last two years--but when she meets Kimiko, she can't get her out of her mind. Does this mean she's gay? Does it mean she's bi? Kimiko, falling hard for Allie, and finding it impossible to believe that a gorgeous girl like Allie would be into her, is willing to stick around and help Allie figure it out.

Boyfriends with Girlfriends is Alex Sanchez at his best, writing with a sensitive hand to portray four very real teens striving to find their places in the world--and with each other.

About the Author: 

Alex Sanchez received his master's degree in guidance and counseling from Old Dominion University. For many years he worked as a youth and family counselor. His novels include the Lambda Award-winning So Hard to Say, the Rainbow Boys trilogy, and Bait. When not writing, Alex tours the country talking with teens, librarians, and educators about the importance of teaching tolerance and self-acceptance. Originally from Mexico, Alex now lives in Thailand and Hollywood, Florida.

FTC Information: I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.

Book Tour and Review: Exposure by Therese Fowler

Exposure by Therese Fowler
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publish Date: May 3, 2011
Hardcover, 384 pages 
 ISBN: 978-0345515537

My Review:
Why I read this: I was enthralled from the blurb and have been wanting to read a book by Therese Fowler.

My thoughts:  If I could only review this book in a few words it would read like this:  "Run, do not walk, to your nearest bookstore and buy this book or download it to your ereader.  This is a book that cannot be missed!"

Okay it was more than a few words, but that pretty much sums it up for me.  This is one of my best reads of the year.  Let's move onto why since I have gushed enough and not backed it up, because people generally read reviews to find out why the reviewer liked or did not like the book (or in this case love, love, love!)

First of all - I think this book is a must-read for anyone with a teenager or parents who will have teenagers in the future (I fall into this category).  Ms. Fowler has been through a situation similar to the storyline of the book and she makes this plain to anyone interested in the book.  Sexting is a problem and we as parents need to be educated about it so we can help steer our kids away from this and guide them in those teenage years.  Now this isn't a parenting manual by any means, it's a fictional story, but it has warnings all in it to parents of teenage boys and teenage girls about sexting and the problems it can cause in the lives of the teenagers taking part in this along with how it affects the lives of the families involved.

One thing I especially loved was getting the story from both sides, from Anthony and his mom's side and also from Amelia and her parent's side.  Also the look at a genteel southern family versus a single mother who is a transplant to the area.  Ms. Fowler does not take sides, I think she really gives all her characters a fair shake in this book.  Now there are characters you don't like, but they are redeemable and Ms. Fowler helps you see the reasons for the way they act.  That really helps.  I like that she hasn't made this a book that stands up and tells you which side is right, but like Jodi Picoult often does, presents you with the social problem and lets you read and enjoy and decide how you feel about the characters and the situation.  I love that in a book and Exposure is packed full of internal debate for the reader and it's presented in a way that you just can't put the book down and when you finish you cannot stop thinking about the characters and the issues.

Exposure is also a love story.  Can two teenagers really know what love is?  Amelia and Anthony think they do, but some of the people around them don't think so.  It's a Romeo and Juliet type story of hidden love because the daughter's parents wouldn't agree.  I loved getting to know both of them and seeing their love from each side.  It is a beautiful love story and a great addition to the storyline of the book.  One that I think is important because it shows that all kids aren't completely lust-driven when they do things like Amelia and Anthony do in the book.

I'm afraid I'm rambling, but I really don't want to give away anything in the book, because the surprises are one thing that really made the book for me.  It seemed every page I turned something new cropped up and I was enthralled.  It was very hard for me to put Exposure down to go to my son's baseball game on Sunday and as soon as I came home, you can be sure I picked it right back up and read until the kids demanded supper.

So again in short, if you love stories that make you think, stories that grip you from the first page and love stories then this is a book for you.  Even if you aren't sure you fall into the category that reads this book - this book is for you.  Ms. Fowler is brilliant at weaving a story that both interests you and educates you.  Exposure is beautiful, it's thought-provoking and it will keep you reading right until the last page.

My Rating: 5.0+/5.0

About the Book:

In Exposure, Therese Fowler has written her most gripping novel to date—a ripped-from-the-headlines story of ardent young love and a nightmarish legal maelstrom that threatens to destroy two families.

Amelia Wilkes’s strict father does not allow her to date, but that doesn’t stop the talented, winsome high school senior from carrying on a secret romance with her classmate Anthony Winter. Desperately in love, the two envision a life together and plan to tell Amelia’s parents only after she turns eighteen and is legally an adult.
Anthony’s mother, Kim, who teaches at their school, knows—and keeps—their secret. But the couple’s passion is exposed sooner than planned: Amelia’s father, Harlan, is shocked and infuriated to find naked pictures of Anthony on his daughter’s computer. Just hours later, Anthony is arrested.

Despite Amelia’s frantic protests, Harlan uses his wealth and influence with local law enforcement and the media to label Anthony a deviant who preyed on his innocent daughter. Spearheaded by a zealous prosecutor anxious to turn the case into a public crusade against “sexting,” the investigation soon takes an even more
disturbing and destructive turn.

As events spiral wildly out of control and the scandalous story makes national news, Amelia and Anthony risk everything in a bold and dangerous attempt to clear their names and end the madness once and for all.

A captivating page-turner, Therese Fowler’s Exposure is also a deftly crafted, provocative, and timely novel that serves as a haunting reminder of the consequences of love in the modern age.

About the Author: 

Therese Fowler is the author of Souvenir, Reunion and Exposure. She has worked in the U.S. Civil Service, managed a clothing store, lived in the Philippines, had children, sold real estate, earned a B.A. in sociology, sold used cars, returned to school for her MFA in creative writing, and taught college undergrads about literature and fiction-writing -- roughly in that order.  With books published in nine languages and sold world-wide, Therese writes full-time from her home in Wake Forest, NC, which she shares with her husband, four amiable cats, and four nearly grown-up sons.



Read an Excerpt!

Nine hours before the police arrived, Anthony Winter stood, barefooted and wild, on the narrow front porch of the house he shared with his mother. The painted wooden planks were damp and cool beneath his feet, but he hardly noticed. In his right hand he held a fallen maple leaf up to a sun that was just breaking the horizon. In his left he held his phone. He squinted at the leaf, marveling at its deep blood-orange color, amazed and happy that nature could make such a thing from what had, only a few weeks earlier, been emerald green, and before that, deep lime, and before that, a tight, tiny bundle of a bud on a spindly limb, waving in a North Carolina spring breeze. He’d always been an observant person; he hadn’t always been so romantic. It was Amelia. She brought it out in him. She brought it out in everybody.
Amelia’s voice, when she answered his call, was lazy with sleep. It was a Monday, her day to sleep a little later than she could the rest of the week. Tuesday through Friday, she rose at five to get homework done before her three-mile run, which came before the 8:50 start of their Ravenswood Academy school day. At 3:00 pm was dance—ballet, modern, jazz—then voice lessons twice a week at five; often there was some play’s rehearsal after that, and then, if her eyelids weren’t drooping like the dingy shades in her voice teacher’s living room, she might start on her homework. But more often she would sneak out of her astonishing house to spend a stolen hour with him. With Anthony. The man (she loved to call him that, now that he’d turned eighteen) with whom she intended to spend all of her future life, and then, if God was good to them, eternity to follow.
Seeing Amelia and Anthony together, you would never have guessed they were destined for anything other than a charmed future, and possibly greatness. Perhaps Amelia had, as her father was fond of saying, emerged from the womb coated in stardust. And maybe it was also true what Anthony’s mother claimed: that her son had been first prize in the Cosmic lottery, and she’d won. They were, separately, well-tended and adored. Together, they were a small but powerful force of nature. Love makes that of people, sometimes.
That morning, nine hours and perhaps five minutes before his arrest, Anthony stood on the narrow front porch with a leaf and a phone in his chilly hands. Amelia was saying, “I dreamt of us,” in a suggestive voice that stirred him, inside and out. He heard his mother coming downstairs, so he pulled the front door closed. Unlike the rest of his school’s faculty, she knew about Amelia and him; in her way, she approved. Still, he preferred to keep his conversations private. There were certain things even an approving mother wouldn’t want to hear. Certain things he absolutely did not want her to know.

Exposure Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, May 2
Interviewed at The Hot Author Report
Tuesday, May 3
Guest blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner
Wednesday, May 4
Book reviewed at My Reading Room
Thursday, May 5
Guest blogging at Review from Here
Monday, May 9
Book reviewed at A Musing Reviews
Tuesday, May 10
Interviewed at Paperback Writer
Wednesday, May 11
Book reviewed at Teresa’s Reading Corner
Thursday, May 12
Book spotlighted and giveaway at The Book Connection
Friday, May 13
Interviewed at Blogcritics
Book reviewed at Colloquium
Monday, May 16
Interviewed at Literarily Speaking
Tuesday, May 17
Interviewed at As the Pages Turn
Book reviewed at Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, May 18
Book reviewed at WV Stitcher
Guest blogging and giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, May 19
Book reviewed at Bookworm Hollow
Book reviewed at Great Thoughts
Book reviewed at The Review Stew
Friday, May 20
Book reviewed at Reading Frenzy
Monday, May 23
Book reviewed at StephTheBookworm
Tuesday, May 24
Book reviewed by Ohio Girl Talks
Wednesday, May 25
Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book!
Thursday, May 26
Book reviewed at Marianslibrary’s Blog
Friday, May 27
Book reviewed and giveaway at A Cozy Reader’s Corner
FTC Information: I received this book from the publisher through Pump Up Your Book Promotion for an honest review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.