Book cover of The Straight Road To Kyle, by Nico MedinaWhen I was in high school, you couldn’t find many Young Adult books with gay themes. When I was at university, some hard-working librarian in New Zealand put together a bibliography of basically all of them at the time. It ran to about three pages. And most of them revolved around the “Am I gay?” question, with lots of appropriate teenage angst.

Times have changed. Thanks to authors like David Levithan and others, there are not just more books out, but a wider variety of books. Books that are actually… fun.

Seventeen year-old Jonathan Parish is out and proud, and obsessed with Kylie Minogue. But his senior year takes a left-turn when in a drunken haze, he sleeps with a girl at a party (he hums “Mmmbop” during the act), and suddenly all the girls in school are flirting with them. And then the richest girl in school makes him an offer he can’t refuse – pretend to be her boyfriend and she’ll fly him to London to see Kylie live in concert.

For those that don’t know, Kylie Minogue is an Australian pop singer best known for “Can’t get you out of my head.” But she’s been making music since the late 80’s and somewhere along the line became a gay icon. She makes bubbly pop music, which is perfectly appropriate for this book. The word that springs to mind is “effervescent”… it’s a sunny confection where the dramas are amusing and the shopping is frequent.

If you’re in gloomy mood and looking for a pick-me up, this book is the perfect tonic.

Published October 30, 2015

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