Review - "Raise Your Glass" by John Goode
Superb third book in the Foster High series
Very Highly Recommended
It's not a prerequisite to have read the other two Foster High books, but recommended. You will lose the nuance and backstory and a whole lot of great writing. And there may be spoilers here...
It's been only two days since baseball jock and school BMOC Brad came out to the school in an attempt to support his boyfriend, nerdy and invisible Kyle. The repercussions haven't really hit either boy terribly hard yet, as they skipped school the day before, and now will have to face the music.
The reaction at home has been mixed. Kyle's mother, gone agan, isn't a factor. And Brad's parents are, as usual, fighting over the news. It's at school where the dread will come in. Brad picks up Kyle and, drawing on other for strength, they head in to Foster High.
The kids are waiting. The news has spread, the gossip ripe. Whispers greet them everywhere they go. Conversations stop as they walk into their classes. Students once friends now look at Brad like he grew an additional head. For Kyle, it means he's noticed now.
But with attention comes conflict, and the underlying homophobia Kyle feared. And it comes out - verbally, physically, emotionally. Even to the point where Brad may not be allowed to play baseball, since he might...become aroused by the bodies around him. Never mind he's been dressing out in locker rooms for years. Never mind he is counting on a scholarship to get the hell out of North Texas.
Will the pressures of being out be too much for Kyle and Brad? How will the school, and the school board, deal with openly gay student? And, most importantly, will the boys be together and safe?
John Goode has once again delivered the goods. This is an emotionally stunning, powerhouse...gem of a story. The two characters, Brad and Kyle, leap off the page with verve and conviction. They grabbed my attention, my love and my heart.
This is a hugely relevant and important series. Nobody else in the genre has captured the pure psychological weight on the shoulders of gay teens, and how truly fragile, yet strong, these kids are. Brad on his own was maintaining, hiding his true self under a self-hating persona. And Kyle was living day-to-day, counting the moments until he was out of school.
Ah, but together? These two together have found something special, something that makes them more than just the sum of the two wholes. They found synergy. And with that, they can make it through.
There are horrible things that happen along the way in this book - deeds that can't be undone, words that can't be unspoken, hurts that can't be taken back. But alongside all that - there is something more. Something underlying all the pain and the fear and the hate.
The unspoken forces that Mr. Goode has given us here are Hope and Love.
Hope for these two boys. Hope for at least some of the people in this small Texas town. Hope for their parents, their friends - old and new. Hope for other gay men and women there.
And love. The love of a young man for another. A parent for their child. Love of self.
This book moved me to tears. Joyful tears that Kyle and Brad will make it. That they are not alone. And that it does get better.