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by Dale Peck

Published by Bloomsbury, 2009
277 pages
ISBN: 978-1-59990-160-2

Ages 13 and older

“I have a secret. And everyone knows it.” Everyone in the small Kansas town Sprout and his dad moved to after leaving Long Island knows Sprout’s dad is an alcoholic. And it’s obvious that Sprout misses his mom since she died. But Sprout’s sexuality has been the subject of rumor for awhile. And while Sprout can ignore the rumors, he can’t ignore the desire to finally speak his own truth. He’s decided the state essay contest for promising writers—he’s been hand-picked by his demanding, margarita-loving English teacher Ms. Miller to represent the school—is the time and place to come out. In the meantime, his secret relationship with Ian Abernathy—which has been going on since seventh grade—begins to pale when Sprout meets Ty. Abused by his father, Ty can’t risk coming out, creating more secrets as his and Sprout’s relationship progresses from friendship to love. Dale Peck’s narrative is a work of finesse, telling a tender story in a style that is laugh-out-loud funny at times. Sprout’s wry, memorable voice reveals a teen who is astute and self-deprecating, smart and unsettled, and ultimately unforgettable. CCBC categories: Fiction for Young Adults.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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