On the surface, Romeo has it all: success on the basketball court, a group of good friends, the companionship of the beautiful Rosie. Deep down, he knows something is missing: all he feels for Rosie is friendship, and all that he feels for his friends’ intolerance is guilt. Everything changes when he meets the openly gay Julian at a party and finds himself sharing a kiss with him. In spite of their obvious attraction, Romeo now feels less sure of himself than ever and leaves without even telling Julian his name.
With Rosie’s support, Romeo begins exploring his sexuality – and ends up running into Julian again. Romeo begins to see the world in a whole new light, and he and Julian begin to fall in love. But his homophobic friends and family can’t accept him as gay. After a violent confrontation with one of his old friends, Romeo becomes determined to prove that his love for Julian is real and right.
Romeo For Real is one of the novels from the Real Love collection of young adult novels that focus on realistic teen relationships. The novels feature diverse teen characters in contemporary settings as they experience love, romance, dating, sex, body image, LGBTQ issues, and more.
This was a great book that would be absolutely relatable by many young teen boys who are playing sports, hanging out with the straight boys, and hiding in the closet confused about the feelings and thoughts that are increasingly pushing to the surface. It reminds me of my own struggles and circumstances as a young man.
But through the ups and downs “Romeo For Real” has a happy ending and leaves you with a sense of satisfaction and a promise for a better world. Young boys will enjoy reading this book and I think it could give them strength and hope for a bright future.
Markus Harwood-Jones did a great job relating the trials and tribulations of a teenage gay boy navigating his way through the coming-out process. I highly recommend this book.
MARKUS HARWOOD-JONES is a writer. visual artist and documentary filmmaker. He is the author of the short story collections Confessions of a Teenage Transsexual Whore and Everything & All at Once. His film, Mosaic, tells the story of his journey across Canada and the United States to learn more about the trans community.
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