Publishers Weekly Review
This debut novel is deceptively quiet-the story of a recent high school graduate, Dade, struggling to come out and yearning to get to college and away from his parents' marital troubles and stifling suburban peers. Yet in the same way that Sarah Dessen allows readers to lose themselves in the ordinary, Burd takes a familiar plot-boy struggles with his sexuality, then meets a love interest who changes everything-and makes it fresh. Dade's inner monologues and interactions with others feel real, and bear a poignant honesty (after shopping for college: "It occurred to me that these things made of plastic, glass, and metal would become the foundation for my new life"). With the arrival of Alex, Dade's first real boyfriend and one catalyst behind Dade's coming out, the story moves into sweet, romantic territory, which balances some of the deeper, more painful issues brewing in Dade's life (including his father's affair and his friend/ex-hookup Pablo's inner turmoil). The novel's one flaw is its unsatisfying ending, which feels both melodramatic and abrupt. Aside from this, Burd is an author to watch. Ages 14-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Booklist Review
*Starred Review* It's Dade's last summer at home before college and things are looking bleak: his parents' marriage is disintegrating; his father has a girlfriend; his mother is self-medicating with pills and booze; his sorta boyfriend, Pablo, refuses to acknowledge the nature of their friendship ; the local media are obsessed with the mysterious disappearance of an autistic little girl; and Dade himself is feeling pretty lost and invisible, too. But then he meets the dangerous yet fascinating (and unapologetically gay) Alex, and things take a turn for the better . . . for a while. Burd's first novel has some of the trappings of the traditional coming-out-while-coming-of-age story, and his ending seems more willful than artful. Also, some readers may find the subplot about a missing girl more distracting than symbolically resonant. That said, Burd is a terrific writer with a special gift for creating teenage characters who are vital, plausible, and always engaging (even when they're being mean and menacing). His take on the complications in Dade's life is sophisticated and thoughtful, especially on the ambiguities of that relationship with Pablo, while his limning of the growing friendship with Alex is deeply satisfying, never striking a discordant emotional note. Clearly, Burd is a new talent to watch.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2009 Booklist