Sixteen-year-old Daniel "Sprout" Bradford is gay. It's not a secret, not even in their conservative little Kansas town, although perhaps Sprout would like to think that it does not define him. Neither are the facts that Sprout's father is an eccentric alcoholic, his mother is dead, and he is their English teacher's shining hope for winning the annual statewide essay-writing competition.
Sprout's sexual adventures have always been "closeted"--literally and no pun intended. Then he meets Ty, and his world explodes. Ty is odd, religious, a little scary, and a victim of abuse. When he and Sprout share, however, is something that Sprout had never dreamed of experiencing. But their relationship must remain a secret, otherwise Ty's father will kill them both. Or so Sprout thinks.
Who is Sprout really hiding from? Has he truly come to terms with his sexuality?
SPROUT is a hilarious, heartbreaking, and important addition to the world of GLBT literature. Dale Peck's writing style is fascinating: reading SPROUT is like entering the mind of a highly intellectual and insightful teenage boy. Sprout frequently goes off on linguistic tangents that occasional distract, but more often add to the genuineness of the story.
While the plot moves slowly, I believe this was okay because the book is more like an elaborate character sketch of Sprout. It is not what actually occurs in Sprout's life that is important, but rather his thought process that gets him to where he ends up at. By the end, you want to live in Sprout's world, be his friend, have his friends. You want to have conversations with him, console him when he is distraught, advise him when he is being dumb.
SPROUT is a 2009 must-read by a talented author whose insights and wonderful way with words will take him far in the near future. Sprout may say that his book will never be allowed in school libraries, but I hope that that doesn't deter everyone from picking this book up and learning something from this precocious young man.
This is a great read about a young gay man coming into his own. He's smart and is intent on letting us know that.. He's a writer and he loves playing word games almost as much as you'll love his style.
His situation is quirky and his life is complex but he's charming and you quickly find yourself rooting for him.
While he's smart and able to take care of himself and an athletic bully that overly drawn to tormenting him, when he meets another guy who's suffered a loss as big as his own, Sprout finds himself no longer in control and possibly entangled in problems that are too big for him without some savvy adult help. (Something that's woefully lacking in Sprout's life)
The author of this book teaches writing and he's created a charming, snarky kid that displays a love of language that makes him irresistible to any apsiring writers like me.
Read and enjoy!