Books Reviews The Tattoo

What it truly means to be young and gay

Aurora, Nebraska, UNITED STATES — The trip of a lifetime. Kids, I think we’ve seen this before.

Okay, so maybe the just-graduated-friends-take-cross-country-road-trip story line isn’t exactly a new idea; but in the newest book by Alex Sanchez, Rainbow Road, it works as a satisfying conclusion to the groundbreaking “Rainbow Boys” trilogy.

Like its predecessors, Rainbow Boys and Rainbow High, the story line evolves around the changing lives of three gay teenagers.

They’re Kyle, who’s unsure of his future; Jason, the recently-outed star of his high school basketball team who’s just lost his scholarship and Nelson, Kyle’s flamboyant best friend who’s just survived an AIDS scare.

At the beginning of the book, Jason is asked by a gay high school in California to attend its opening and give a brief speech telling his story. Together, the three boys travel across the county, where they (of course) find themselves.

Now most books in this genre tend to falter about this point, delivering preachy and often times unrealistic conclusions.

But it’s in the area of the story that Rainbow Road thrives. The book’s protagonists discover what it means to have courage, to be yourself, and to be afraid. They learn the power of hate, and the power of love, and what it truly means to be young and gay in America.

Rainbow High is a book that succeeds and triumphs with almost every point it makes and provides an excellent springboard for discussions on life, love, and everything else confusing about the transition from adolescence to adulthood.

Read YJI’s interview with author Alex Sanchez here.

Zach Brokenrope is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.