Getting It

My latest read, Getting It by Alex Sanchez, has been on my bookshelf for a while.  This week, I finally decided to give this book a go.  It was a quick, light read, but it had a very positive message—a message that teens as well as adults could stand to receive.  Getting It revolves around the life of Carlos, a fifteen-year-old guy who comes to understand that getting something isn’t nearly as important as giving.

Carlos wants a girlfriend.  Bad.  His buddies all brag about their latest hookups, but Carlos is a virgin, and he doesn’t see that changing anytime soon.  He’s obsessed with gorgeous Roxy, but he knows he has no shot at her.  He’s a slob with bad skin and no confidence.  Is there any way to change his image and get the girl of his dreams?  There just may be…

Carlos decides to seek the help of the only openly gay guy in school, Sal (because everyone knows that guy guys know about being clean, neat, and fashionable).  Sal agrees to help Carlos in exchange for a little cash and his assistance in starting a Gay-Straight Alliance at their school.  Even though Carlos worries that everyone will think he’s gay, he agrees to Sal’s terms.

As Sal works his magic, and Carlos begins to notice changes on the outside, it seems the inside might be changing as well.  Yes, he’s still obsessed with Roxy, but he’s also coming face to face with homophobia among his friends and classmates.  His time with Sal has made him realize the power of words, and how gay slurs, even when directed at straight people, are not okay.  But Carlos is still uneasy about his friendship with Sal and forming a GSA at school.  Can he overcome his own issues and step up for the friend who has helped him so much, or will he always be worried about what other people think?  Will Carlos ever get the girl, and, if he gets her, will it really make him happy?  Join Carlos on his journey of self-discovery when you read Getting It by Alex Sanchez.

Even though some of the pop culture references in this book are a little dated—particularly the nods to Queer Eye for the Straight Guy—and some stereotyping of gay men, the book’s message is really timely.  If you keep up with current events at all, you know that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people are fighting alongside their straight allies for equal rights.  There have been great strides recently, but there is still work to be done.  Getting It brings that fight to a high school setting.  Even teenagers, gay and straight alike, can do their part to battle against homophobia (and they might just teach us adults a few things along the way).

If you’d like more information about Getting It or author Alex Sanchez, visit http://www.alexsanchez.com/default.asp.

Facts of Life

Gary Soto’s anthology of stories, Facts of Life, deals mostly with tweens finding their own places in the world.  Many of the stories deal with characters of Hispanic origin.  I think this book may be more suited to middle school, but some of my Hispanic students may relate to characters in the stories.

As you can probably surmise, I don’t have a lot to say about this book.  I can’t say that I really enjoyed it because I didn’t relate to many of the characters, and plots were thin to nonexistent in some of the stories.  There just wasn’t enough teen angst to suit me.