Sayre, Justin. Husky.
September 22nd 2015 by Grosset & Dunlap
Copy received from the publisher
Davis has just finished 8th grade, and is preparing to start high school. He lives with his grandmother and his mother, who owns a bakery. He's concerned that everyone gets ONE adjective in high school, and his is "husky". He's not obese, just a bit heavy. His friend Ellen is "mean", and his best friend, Sophie, has turned pretty and is into all sorts of girly things, like having a makeover for her birthday party. Davis, who feels awkward no matter what he is doing, longs for a makeover as well, given that he has to wear shirts his grandmother picks out that say "cool dude". He does love opera, which makes him a bit different as well, but seems to get along with other kids better than he thinks he does. His mother starts dating a coworker, he has to deal with the lingering memories of his grandfather, Jock, and the beginnings of the realization that he may be gay.
Strengths: This is a middle grade appropriate book about a boy who is gay, and there aren't too many of those. Supportive family and community, true to life struggles with friends, unique character with his own interests.
Weaknesses: This starts out with a painful scene of Davis and his grandmother shopping for clothes, and doesn't get any more exciting. Read very much like a 1970s "social issue" book.
What I really think: This reminded me of the vintage book below in that it moved very slowly and involved intergenerational squabbles. I can't see something so slow moving getting checked out much, especially since Davis loves opera. Must be a New York thing, like the obsession with plays. Not really a thing in Ohio.
Also, One Man Guy, Gracefully Grayson, this-- is there something about yellow and gray that speaks of sexual identity diversity? Or is it just on trend? I'm thinking of painting my kitchen cabinets light gray and the walls yellow, so I should at least be aware if I'm sending unintentional messages.
Greene, Constance. The Unmaking of Rabbit
October 16th 1972 by Viking Children's Books
From the author of A Girl Called Al, which I have always loved.
Paul lives with his grandmother because his mother is too irresponsible to look after him. Gran herself is no prize-- she smokes cigarettes with a long holder and likes her gin before bed. Paul is socially awkward and stutters, but has a little more of a support network with his teacher, Miss Olah, as well as the nice couple that run the local store.
Definitely feels dated.
I only read a copy because it showed up in a box of donations, and I did love this author's Al series. Interestingly enough, in some ways this felt very current because of Paul's family situation.