cover image Boy Girl Boy

Boy Girl Boy

Ron Koertge, . . Harcourt, $16 (164pp) ISBN 978-0-15-205325-3

As he did in Stoner & Spaz , Koertge once again creates intelligent, full-blooded teens grappling with their passage into adulthood. The book opens in smalltown Wendleville during senior year for Elliot, Teresa and Larry, who have been friends since childhood and who plan to move to California after graduation. Various flashbacks through their alternating first-person narratives help readers understand the history between the three. Elliot is a stunning jock, but his friendship with the other two bring out his more vulnerable side (they also help him with his studies). Teresa, obsessed with running, grapples with an eating disorder and her abandonment by her mother at age 13. Her quick wit (while running she describes the sites, one of which is the "we-love-Jesus-more-than-you-do Baptist church") makes for some clever repartée with Larry, who, at age 13, realized he was gay (he loves watching movies on TV: "Lo and behold, there's an old black-and-white Tarzan movie with the exquisite Johnny Weissmuller wrestling a fortunate crocodile"). A scene with a toxic homophobe on the basketball court with Elliot leaves no doubt of the trajectory here, but Larry's brush with near-death brings about some soul-searching for all three characters. The plot may hold no surprises, but the three stars and even the minor characters here will hold readers' interest. Ages 14-up. (Sept.)