If only Taylor Adams had kept on lying to his parents, none of this would have happened. He wouldn’t have been shipped off to Straight to God, an institution devoted to “deprogramming” troubled teenagers and ridding them of their vices—whether those vices are drugs, violence, or—in Taylor’s case—other boys.
At Straight to God, such thoughts—along with all other reminders of Taylor’s former “sinful” life—are forbidden. Every movement is monitored, privacy is impossible, and no one—from staff to residents—is quite who they first appear to be. There’s Charles, Taylor’s clean-cut roommate, desperate to leave his past behind…Nate Devlin, a handsome, inscrutable older boy who’s alternately arrogant and kind…gorgeous, secretive Sean, who returns to Straight to God each year to avoid doing prison time for drugs. Here, where piety can be a mask for cruelty and the greatest crimes go unpunished, Taylor will learn more than he ever dreamed about love, courage, rebellion, and betrayal—but the most surprising lessons will be the truths he uncovers about himself.
Let's start by saying Thinking Straight was; witty, captivating and powerful. Taylor Adams is gay and in a relationship with gorgeous Will. And both are happy. At least until Taylor outs himself to before he wants to. You see his parents are over righteous religious zealots. And to them homosexuality is a sin. To stop him from committing anymore sin and damning his soul to hell, they send him to 'Straight to God.'
After leaving behind Will and his whole life, he meets the staff and residents of Straight to God. After meeting with the head of STG, (Straight to God) Mr. Strickland, he meets his roommate Charles. Charles is also somewhat of Taylors watcher, always tailing him and reminding him he's in Safezone.
Okay so what is SafeZone? Basically, you're not allowed to talk. Nope, nothing. You nod, or shake your head. And only under extreme emergencies do you write out what you're trying to communicate.
So we've met Charles, and just so you know he is another gay resident that seems to really want to change, he's almost desperate for it. But also Nate; a short boy that Taylor took to calling 'Shorty' in his head. Is in his third year at STG. And was originally sent there for Theft. Nate...There is a lot about him and I would love to dive more into him, but that would give to much away. And of course, Mrs. Harnett. Stern and at first she is hard to peg, but trust me you'll like her in the end. Tons of other character, not all I remember, but keep an eye on Leland, he's a great guy and the more you read the more you'll love him. And Reverend Bartle, I can't even get into that one.
So can STG help Taylor and others like him. In my opinion, the answer is no, and it has been no even before reading this book. But can it help others? People that steal or are on drugs? Sure, at least that is what Nate says. And he is right, stealing and doing drugs are wrong and even sinful. But being gay isn't. You chose to steal and get high, but you don't chose to be gay. So how is it sinful? Well in this book that's explained and it is driven into great detail. And the fact that we assume to much, or not enough. We assume. And half the time our assumption can be wrong.
This book was great, somethings to look out for. Taylor has flashbacks to his time with Will. And for the first time in my reading life, these flashbacks work and they are not confusing. Also, Taylor masturbates, quite a few times throughout the book. But hey, he's 16 and without his boyfriend. So, DUH. I wouldn't say any age for this book. But there is a lot of information and some very sour subject matter. So if you're looking for a read that is numbing and doesn't make you think. This isn't it and if you're like me, the thinking might give you a headache.
This book has made me look at religion in a new way, and while I'm reading the next book in my TBR pile. I plan on talking about this subject. Either in this blog or the soon to be blog. But no matter how you look at it, homosexuality and religion, when mixed can be very dark subjects. And guess what homosexuality is winning the argument. Whether you realize it or not.
2017 Colorado Book Award
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