Thinking Straight

Robin Reardon, Author . Kensington $15 (295p) ISBN 978-0-7582-1928-2

Reardon’s stirring novel grapples with homosexuality and born-again Christianity. When Taylor Adams comes out, his parents ship him off to Straight to God, a camp for those who have gone astray. The nightmarish camp seeks to exorcise the satanic influence from its charges, some of whom are gay, and some of whom are petty criminals or drug addicts. The camp’s strict guidelines include no speaking for newbies (who wear yellow stickers on their clothing), the writing of Moral Inventories to be shared with group leaders, and prayer meetings. Taylor is furious about his incarceration, but through his intellect and open nature, he discovers leadership qualities in himself and learns that not everyone is the religious automaton they appear to be. Reardon’s first novel (A Secret Edge ) was geared to young adults; this new book, which includes frank language and sexual encounters, tries to reach out to older readers, albeit sometimes awkwardly (the explanation of text message–like acronyms, for instance, is clunky). While the extremes of the evangelical movement are harshly depicted, Reardon does a decent job overall of staying off a soapbox. The result is thoughtful and convincing. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/24/2008
Release date: 05/01/2008
Genre: Fiction
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