Sprout by Dale Peck
Also for Teens Read Too (I recieved my copy from them)
Author Site: http://dalepeck.com/
Sprout has seemingly made his life an open book: in a new town, people know that he lives in the trailer covered in vines, that his dad is the town drunk, and even that his mother passed away before he arrived. However, his being gay is supposed to be in that category and it’s not completely that way. It does become known as the story goes on that he’s gay and I love that he doesn’t have a problem with it, but it’s still a bit of a secret for awhile.
This book is told through the point of view of Sprout and the set up is a bit hard to explain, but reads a lot like essays strung together in an overall story. Things in the beginning are mentioned later on, but there are points when it seems the story starts over and focuses on something else and then goes back. For example, the beginning of this deals a lot with a teacher and Sprout working on his essay writing in the summer so he can enter a competition that she believes he can win…only, of course, if he doesn’t mention he’s gay. Then the story stops talking about that for awhile and you focus more on a boy named Tyler that Sprout hates at first, but slowly starts to fall for. Eventually the two parts line up for the end.
It might sound a bit confusing, but it seems to work overall. I found myself invested more in the Tyler part as the story goes on, but the competition is a big part in Sprout’s life and truly shows how he changes in the end.
This isn’t a happily-ever-after, but it’s not so depressing you can’t find the hope. That’s something that Sprout always had to do…find hope and brightness in his sometimes messed up life. His relationship with Tyler was awkward and interesting and quite different than anything most people have read about, whether a straight or gay relationship. It seemed more realistic in a way though. It wasn’t “I’ll love you forever” right away or even in the end. It was complicated and tough.
In the end, Sprout is a different book that would appeal to people looking for something a little off, a little goofy, a little sad, and a little lovely.
Photo from Photobucket. I do not own.