Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What They Always Tell Us by Martin Wilson

I decided to read this book for the GLBT Challenge that I found over on the GLBT Reading Blog after reading some GREAT reviews of it on Goodreads. (That's why I love Goodreads and Book Blogs- real, honest reviews not stupid blurbs that tell you nothing.) What They Always Tell Us is the story of the growing and changing relationship between two brothers, Alex and James. James is a year older than Alex and is your typical "popular" kid. He grows over the course of the book from being a complete jerk who doesn't much care about Alex as long as Alex doesn't embarrass him to a real big brother who stands up for Alex to a bully. James is also the only person in their family that Alex "comes out" to before the book ends. Alex is dealing with some emotional and personal baggage at the start of the book. He no longer has friends thanks to "the incident" and his own brother is less than helpful. Alex retreats into himself in the aftermath of "the incident" until a young neighbor, running and one of James' friends pulls him out of his funk so he can realize some big things about himself.

I read this in an evening after putting the kids to bed. I LOVED this book. It was easy to read- even with the viewpoint changing back and forth. I wanted to smack James for the first half of the book or so because he was just so CALLOUS! But the more he began to rethink his actions and try to be empathetic, the more I liked him. I loved Alex from the get go. He is in no way a perfect person but he is likable, honest and kind. I really liked Nathen as well. Nathen is James' friend who helps get Alex onto the cross country team and he develops feelings for Alex over the course of their cross country season. Nathen is really sweet and he tries to get along with everyone while still standing up for the things and people he believes in. It did make me sad that Nathen and Alex had to hide because of the community they lived in but that is the reality that so many people live. I also thought that the little side story that crossed over between the two boys' viewpoints; the mystery surrounding Henry, the little boy across the street added to the book and in no way distracted from the main story. This book was exceptional. I can not praise it enough.

What They Always Tell Us earns 5 Fairies for awesomeness.


Martin Wilson said...

Hi Megan! Thanks for this lovely review! Glad the book found its way into your hands. all the best. :-)

Megan said...

OMG!!! :) How awesome is that!!! Martin Wilson loved me loving his book!! AH! (It seriously is good. Everyone should read it.)

Natazzz said...

I hadn't heard of this book before, but you make me want to check it out.