by James Lecesne
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: May 31st 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, GLBT, Teen, Mystery, Contemporary, Coming of Age
From Academy Award-winning writer, actor, and activist in the LGBTQ community comes a groundbreaking story about love, prejudice, and being yourself.
Phoebe’s life in Neptune, New Jersey, is somewhat unremarkable. She helps her mom out with her hair salon, she goes to school, and she envies her perfect older sister. But everything changes when Leonard arrives.
Leonard is an orphan, a cousin who Phoebe never knew she had. When he comes to live with Phoebe’s family, he upsets the delicate balance of their lives. He’s gay and confident about who he is. He inspires the people around him. He sees people not as they are, but as they hope to be.
One day, Leonard goes missing. Phoebe, her family, and her community fight to understand what happened, and to make sense of why someone might want to extinguish the beautiful absolute brightness that was Leonard Pelkey.
This novel by the cofounder of The Trevor Project inspired the critically-acclaimed Off-Broadway show The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey.
Mama says: ouch. My heart hole hurts. This book, or rather writing its review, poses a bit of a conundrum for me. You see, it was at turns one of the most heartbreaking yet beautiful books I’ve ever read, and other times the most confusing and almost meaningless. I don’t mean to say there’s no substance, just that it is out of balance. You can tell the book was edited down, and some of what remained could have been removed, while other places could use a bit more explanation. I don’t want to give anything away, but the big mystery wasn’t really a mystery at all and I felt that, though this may have been intentional, it sort of made the whole thing fall a bit flat for me. Now, I absolutely think this book has a lot of important things to say, and there are phrases held within that I had to write down to remember. I never quite got to the point where I could sympathize with Phoebe but I did think she was an incredibly accurate portrayal of an average sixteen year old who came from a dysfunctional yet seemingly normal home. Leonard remained closed off to me, or I suppose more accurately, transparent, and thus I never really knew much about him other than what he wanted us to see. In this way I think the author did a wonderful job of portraying a boy who had no idea what his place was in the world, if he would ever really find it at all. There are a few things that might be considered triggering so sensitive readers should be aware of this, but otherwise I recommend this book for the older teen crowd and up.
“There are those moments in your life when you just know for sure that a major shift is happening right beneath your running shoes and you can feel that your world will never be the same again.”
“Everything from the future just seemed to tumble into the present to take us by surprise.”
“Anyone who has anything worth remembering will tell you that memory has a mind of its own; things we tend to remember are often not even real memories, but rather the memory of memories that just happen to stick in the mind.”
“The very atoms of the air were seemingly turned inside out, revealing possibilities that had been lying dormant just waiting for their cue to appear.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
For over 25 years I’ve been telling stories. Whether I’m writing, acting, producing or trying to create social change, it’s usually the story that got me involved. But in the process of getting things done and trying to make the world a better place, I’ve also been telling the story of my life. This website is my best effort to provide the general gist. But my hope is that you find something here that will inspire you to live your life more fully and continue to tell your story.
Visit his WEBSITE for more information and updates, you can also follow on TWITTER or GOODREADS.
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