The Stone Rainbow

Second Story Pr. Sept. 2019. 288p. pap. $13.95. ISBN 9781772601084.
Gr 7-10–Jackson Pedersen is a miserable, gay, small-town teen with a reputation as a wet blanket. He has one close friend, Ryan, who uses a wheelchair. When the school’s new vice principal turns out to have a gorgeous, comfortably gay son, Jack begins to emerge from his funk. Shaw’s work here is disappointingly unengaging as narrator Jack, and his fellow characters all seem to be five or six years younger than their purported 17–20 years old. Issues of gender and sexual orientation are muddled and both Ryan and a third straight male character are sometimes reminiscent of Highlights magazine’s Goofus and Gallant in their approach to social cues. Actions and feelings are reported rather than shown and some stretch credulity to the breaking point, such as the high school seniors being given a school day off to prepare for a Saturday Pride parade.
VERDICT This is a marginal addition at best and then of interest to communities, like Jack’s, who insist they have only one gay teen among them.

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