True Letters from a Fictional Life

Kenneth Logan. HarperTeen, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-238025-8

Debut author Logan gives voice to a confused, closeted teen from a small Vermont town. James Liddel, 17, is a perfectly happy star athlete with a "sort-of girlfriend," Theresa, who adores him, and a crew of close friends. But James has a secret that he's sure will destroy his life: he is gay. Certain that his friends and family will reject him once they find out—not an entirely unfounded fear, as most of his friends regularly lob "homo" and "faggot" as insults—James is only truthful about his feelings in the letters he writes but never intends to send. These diary-like letters (which get out, naturally) reveal the pains James goes to in order to hide from those around him. A series of events, including an attack on the only openly gay boy in school, sets James on a course to disclose his sexuality. Logan tackles the complexities of coming out thoughtfully, presenting realistic (and not always fully supportive) responses to James's revelation, as well as his own sometimes-uncharitable attitudes. Ages 13–up. Agent: Rebecca Podos, Rees Literary. (June)