Credit to whoever at Walker decided to exhume this short story from a YA 2010 collection and give it this single volume presentation with generous space given to distinctive illustration by Tea Bendix. It’s been extracted from a collection about losing your virginity with a very starry author line-up – Anne Fine, Keith Gray etc. – and the late Robert Dunbar, a proper judge, picked Ness out for special mention in his review thirteen years ago. It’s just what we have come now to expect from this author: toughness, empathy and an eye and ear for young lives working out who they are and who they belong with. There’s also characteristic humour and a little literary teasing in which Ness blanks out all the swearing that might be usual between the four young men we meet, which is swiftly explained when, stepping off the page, the narrator’s friend asks, ‘What are these [blank] black boxes?’ Answer: ‘Certain words are necessary because this is real life, but you can’t actually show ‘em, because we’re too young to read about the stuff we actually do, yeah.’ A point that continues to be made by the [blank] black boxes throughout the story, which conceal not only swear words but also sexual acts that cannot be owned openly. It’s a story about growing up gay, and it’s also about loneliness, friendship, the comfort and excitement of sex, the fear of vulnerability, and about the many and varied forms and meanings of love; and of innocence and experience. There’s an awful lot in a very short space.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Andrea Reece http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Andrea Reece2023-03-22 19:11:142023-03-22 19:12:26Different for Boys
Illustrator: Tea Bendix