I enjoyed the premise of this book. Rafe is sick of being "the gay boy" in his town. His parents are all about accepting and celebrating their gay son. He basically is the go-to gay kid in school and he will do anything to break this label. He doesn't want people to look at him and only see that he's gay. As a result, Rafe transfers to an all-boys school and hides the fact that he's gay.
I liked Rafe. He was a kid struggling to fit in. I understand where he was coming from. High school can be a cruel and horrendous time. This book touched on a lot of different issues and we all deal with them in different ways. Through his journey, Rafe learned many valuable lessons about how hiding his gay label only opened him up to different labels, how destructive lies and deceit can be, how hiding a piece of yourself only leads to more pain, and how you can't change people's perceptions, you can only change your own.
There were a few issues that bothered me. First, all the characters were stereotypical. They were predictable and that bored me. Also, the teacher and his practices made me very uncomfortable and rubbed me the wrong way. Lastly, Rafe's parents bugged me to no end. I got the impression they were imposing their beliefs on Rafe and pushing him to act a certain way. I think they were part of the problem that led Rafe to feel conflicted. Maybe it's just me, but I did not get the warm and fuzzies from these people. It seemed like they were flaunting Rafe around and expecting a pat on the back. It felt like the author had both the parents and the teacher overcompensating and overly-dramatized, and it was really awkward at times. Why push it this far? I was hoping the author was trying to show us that even so-called "supportive" parents can be damaging, but all it felt like was that the parents were supposed to be these extraordinary people that deserve our praise.
While this was a good story, unfortunately it was diminished by the issues I described above.