In the months following the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard, fourteen-year-old Joshua, a half Native American boy, is new to a Boy Scout troop and spending a week camping in northern Wisconsin. The weaker kids in the troop soon realize Joshua is not afraid to stand up to the troop’s ruthless bullies. Joshua’s bravery and kindness is infectious, and the bullied Scouts quickly find their own inner strength.
Joshua, however, is plagued by self-doubt as he realizes he has feelings for Cody, the son of the troop’s harsh and puritanical Scoutmaster. The two discover they have more in common than Scouting as they share their deepest secrets and develop a close friendship. That friendship faces its greatest challenge as the homophobic bullies claim a “faggot” has “infected” their troop. As if struggling to come to terms with his sexuality while dealing with hatred and bigotry isn’t enough, Joshua discovers the camp holds another dark mystery, one that will make him summon all his courage and learn for the first time what it truly means to be brave.
It wasn’t until I opened the book that I realized it was the second book in a series. Had I not known that beforehand I would have never known since the book can stand all by itself. I loved how Joshua grew from the beginning of the book until the end. He went from a kid with no friends, to being the one everyone looked up to. It was hard to read all of the bullying and homophobia in the book. However it was very appropriate for the time period (mid-late nineties) and setting of the book. I did like how Joshua handled the bullies and stood up for his friends. When Cody answered the most important question Levi asked, I wanted to throw something! I hated Cody right then. I was so glad that he made up for it. I’m hoping for more from Joshua and Cody in the future. I know there’s a third book being written and I hope I get to read it at some point!
Cody realized he had made a big mistake. But somehow it just seemed easier to talk about homosexuality now that he had already spent a few hours discussing it with Joshua. Taboo subjects rarely seemed forbidden once shared. And frankly Cody didn’t think he had said anything that was out of line, but the sight of his father coming toward him with a fierce and determined expression, dramatically illustrated otherwise.
Pastor Bob grabbed and pinched his son’s ear as he caught up with him.
“Come with me,” he grunted, pulling his son forward.
“Ouch,” Cody whimpered as his dad pulled him down the trail. “Dad, that hurts!” he cried out.
“Don’t you ever embarrass me like that again in front of anyone!” Pastor Bob shouted. He didn’t let go of his son’s ear as he continued his tirade. “What’s the matter with you anyway? Do you want people to think you are some sort of queer!” Pastor Bob got a sick look on his face as he said that hated word. “Now get back to camp!” he yelled, letting go of Cody’s ear.
Cody ran down the trail to the campsite. He cried all the way back.
Jay Jordan Hawke holds a bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. in history, as well as a second master’s in Outdoor Education. He loves everything sci-fi, especially Star Trek, and hopes to be on the first starship out of here. In the meantime, he teaches at a college prep school and anxiously awaits the day when he can write full time. In addition to all things sci-fi, his hobbies include camping, reading, running, and writing. He has lived in several Midwestern states and currently resides in Indiana. Ugh – get me out of here!
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/JayJordanHawke
Where To Buy:
Dreamspinner Press eBook: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5817
Dreamspinner Press Paperback: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5818
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It sounds intense, but excellent!