Another teen coming out story – but I lurved it J.
Genre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT
No. of pages: 219
Kyle Stilleno is the invisible student, toiling through high school in the middle of Nowhere, Texas. Brad Greymark is the baseball star of Foster High. When they bond over their mutual damage during a night of history tutoring, Kyle thinks maybe his life has changed for good. But the promise of fairy-tale love is a lie when you’re gay and falling for the most popular boy in school. A coming of age story in the same vein of John Hughes, Tales from Foster High shows an unflinching vision of the ups and downs of teenage love and what it is like to grow up gay.
This brought some unexpected feels from me. A couple of little story arcs to tug at my heartstrings. Other than that, ‘Tales from Foster High’ was an excellent tale of angst, coming out, and discovering the stuff that you are made of. Told in dual perspectives this bind-up edition of three novellas feels seamless as one big story.
Kyle is a brilliant portrayal of the invisible kid, just trying to make it through high school and get out of his home town. I also like how, even though he was portrayed as a nerd, he wasn’t stereotyped as covered with pimples, wearing glasses, skinny, and unattractive. It was great to see him through Brad’s eyes and know that beauty is subjective to the beholder.
Brad, although embodying the ‘all American jock’ trope, quickly started deconstructing those expectations with is actions in the first chapter. I admired his teetering between courage and fear.
Both of these characters go through a lot and come out the other side different people.
The parents were a little annoying. It felt a bit stereotyped, and even though they went through their own storylines as well, I felt their behaviour at the end nothing short of miraculous. And unrealistic. Though it added a great deal of impact and added to the romantic climax.
There are some sex scenes – which while a little titillating, served the tone of the novel from the male perspective. Their encounters were meaningful and not over written.
The bullying gets a little violent and had me questioning where the teachers and parents were through all of this. I know events like this are still a reality in some schools, and thankfully starting to decrease in numbers as acceptance grows, but the neglect of the school was downright criminal and thought they got off far too easily. Plus the rest of the students seemed to be a mass of people that just went with the flow instead of a realistic hot-pot of personalities and beliefs. In the real world someone would have made noise in some respect, either by getting parents, teachers or authorities involved.
So, a fun story, a little unrealistic, but highlighted a lovely romance and some hot-button struggles gay youth face in school – highlighting an education system that can become corrupt.
Eye opening and heart-warming. Something about coming out stories draws me in, and with ‘Tales From Foster High’ having a social conscious and dealing with important issues sheds light on aspects of growing up gay I may have otherwise never known about. But at the core of it, this novel has a beautiful growing relationship between two unsuspecting teens. This experience has me keen to purchase the rest of the books written in this collection – even though they are mostly only available in e-book format.
Overall feeling: Naw, aint that sweet.
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