[BOOK REVIEW] “Rainbow Boys” series by Alex Sanchez

I chanced upon these books when I was doing my usual browsing at Fully Booked Greenbelt. Years before, I would barely go to the young adult (YA) section because my usual fix were Sidney Sheldon and Jodi Picoult. But ever since I read The Fault in Our Stars earlier this year, visiting the YA shelves became part of the routine.

I was even surprised to see gay-themed books in bookstores here in the Philippines; even more so when I saw them in the YA section, along with novels about heterosexual high school romance, teenage vampires, and school gossip.

Campbell_Q Road2“Rainbow Boys” is the first in the eventual series of books by Alex Sanchez. It tells the story of three senior high school boys facing issues with their identity.

Having read (and written) a lot of online stories, the plot is the basic identity crisis, dealing with bullies and the perpetual search for love, acceptance and understanding. It also bravely tackles HIV and how it affects the person who has it, who might have it and the people around them.

Sanchez brings up issues about gay youth in a way that his target audience would easily digest and understand. It is such an easy read and effectively inserts fun, sarcasm and puppy love in the middle of family issues, school bullying and internal battles.

 

 

Rainbow High

The second book, “Rainbow High,” details the last few months in high school of the lead characters.

The whole novel revolves around the decisions the central characters have to make for their future.

The second novel of the series highlights the courage one has to muster in coming out — and how it affects other aspects of your life.

I admire Sanchez for writing the whole series in the tone of the youth. He won’t bore you with his ideologies. He just presents issues in the eyes of a high school teenager — which in one way or another, we can all relate to.

The story of the characters turn a sweeter path in this book, despite the usual unacceptance of the community. It shows that once you’ve come to accept yourself, things will get better.

Rainbow Road

The last book of the “Rainbow  Boys” series opens up a lot of relationship issues people face—issues that are not entirely exclusive to homosexual relationships.

Sanchez effectively shows that for a relationship to work, the people involved in it must be secure about their relationship with themselves first. Knowing who you really are and what you really want is vital to sustaining a relationship with another person.

And just like what one of the couples said to the lead characters, there is no one secret to a successful relationship but communication, trust and commitment would surely help.

For Kyle and Jason, the road trip proved to be a challenge to their new relationship. But it also helped them realize that no one is perfect, and no relationship will be perfect as well. They learned to accept each other’s flaws. And more importantly, they learned to love each other in spite of those flaws.

“Rainbow Road” also shows how diversity, while sometimes feared and frowned upon, is what makes life colorful, wonderful, and more meaningful. Jason and Nelson, Kyle’s best friend, were polar opposites when it comes to their views and beliefs but in the end, they realized that while they may not always agree on things, they make each other’s lives more fun.

The book brings a lot of emotions that I can deeply relate to. Indeed, It was a fitting end to a wonderful series. Through these three books, I went on a journey with Nelson, Kyle and Jason through their confusions, coming out and acceptance.

I stumbled upon these books by accident. And I was so lucky I did. Here I was thinking that I have already experienced quite a lot of the things that happened in the books, but after finishing the series, I still felt like the books did something for me.

Alex Sanchez and the stories of Nelson, Kyle and Jason changed me.

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