student in his very small town. The story itself is actually very simple, it's just a kid coming to grips with who is and what that means in the context of a place that you love, that might not love you back. The simplicity is what makes it so powerful- because there are a million small towns like this across the US, I grew up in one, and in every town there is a Jake, who just wants to be proud of himself and his town.
Jakes family is super supportive of Jake, worried about what might happen next, but always in his corner. When Jake's dad hangs a pride flag in their front yard it forces the whole town to confront their feelings about not just Jake personally, but what they want their community to stand for. When Jake steps out of his comfort zone and rally's support for the first Gay Pride event in their town's history, those feelings of course come to a head.
I'm not going to give specifics, you have to read to find out, but what Stamper does with this storyline is brilliant- because it is so relatable. What person hasn't felt like it's you against the world about something? What person hasn't thought someone is in their corner only to find that maybe you didn't know that person as well as you thought you did? Or who has found out that the someone new is maybe just the friend you didn't even know you needed? And we all want to believe that when push comes to shove, the people that love us will have our back, even when it's tough. Jake navigates it all, and as a reader, it's amazing to take that ride with him.
I can't for everyone to get their hands on this one, and to add it to my library collection next year.
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