Saturday, July 11, 2009

Candy Everybody Wants

Josh Kilmer-Purcell, 2008. In case the shiny silver color with hot-pink lettering doesn't give it away, this book is one big gay party. In the opening scene, fourteen-year-old Jayson is shooting his Dallas/Dynasty crossover (that'd be Dallasty), starring himself as the female lead - as good a plan as any to make out with the cute neighbor boy he's cast opposite. Jayson has never been kissed, although he's quite comfortable with his identity, having "decided that he was homosexual while watching a Phil Donahue episode on the topic eight years earlier. He'd come home early from kindergarten that day because he'd gotten a stomach ache from wondering whether his Hee Haw overalls were too outré for his peers. Jayson had been sent home from school fairly often over the years, including the first day of kindergarten when he'd become inconsolably agitated that the school wouldn't change their spelling of his name from 'Jason' to 'Jayson.' He felt very strongly that he needed the extra flair to set himself apart from the other, obviously less special Jasons in the class."

Jayson's home life is somewhat chaotic; he doesn't know who his father is, his younger brother suffers from Prader-Willi syndrome, and his mom has been married eleven times. After kicking out her latest live-in boyfriend, she announces to Jayson that his father is an old movie star, Oscar Harlande, and that Jayson will be visiting him. Tomorrow. By himself. When Jayson shows up on Oscar's doorstep, he learns that Oscar, who runs an escort service for older gay men interested in sleeping with young Broadway talent, has no idea who Jayson is. Moreover, Jayson's long-time celebrity crush just happens to be living in the house.

The plot only grows more far-fetched from there, but it contributes to the soap-operatically gay smorgasbord that is Candy Everybody Wants. Recommended especially for fans of How I Got into College, Freak Show, and other big gay carnivals of teen fiction.

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