cover image With or Without You

With or Without You

Brian Farrey. Simon Pulse, $8.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-1-4424-0699-5

While Farrey%E2%80%99s debut novel will likely draw attention for its chilling subject matter%E2%80%94%E2%80%9Cbugchasing,%E2%80%9D or intentionally trying to contract AIDS%E2%80%94at its heart it%E2%80%99s a novel about gay teens who are removed from (and often ignorant of) their cultural history, and the ways in which they try to connect to it. After years of being bullied because of their sexuality, best friends Evan and Davis are graduating from high school and are ready to get on with their lives. And that means getting out the hell out of Dodge%E2%80%94or rather Madison, Wis.%E2%80%94to attend college in Chicago in the fall. The boys%E2%80%99 friendship is tested, however, when Davis gets drawn into a new gay community group with militant overtones and a three-stage recruitment process (%E2%80%9CRevolution. Liberation. Identification%E2%80%9D), and Evan tries to keep his gorgeous and brilliant college-age boyfriend a secret from both Davis and his own family. Farrey, a YA editor, in no way glamorizes the world of bugchasing, but he adeptly demonstrates how seductive the promise of belonging and power can be for those who haven%E2%80%99t known either. Ages 14%E2%80%93up. (May)