boys don't cry, malorie blackman (doubleday)
to set the scene: it's england. a boy is waiting (literally at the door) for his a-level results (like VCE if you're from victoria or HSC if you're from sydney or NEWTs if you go to hogwarts) and his old girlfriend turns up with a baby in a pram.
same old, same old?
just like nick hornby's slam turned the teen pregnancy story on its head, blackman's book is more than it seems. boys don't cry is a very readable book about two brothers facing (separate) major obstacles in their lives, their changing relationships with their widowed father and the lad culture they are part of with their mates at the pub.
dante's been left holding the baby - although actually, he's left the baby screaming in the pram, too afraid to hold it - and it looks like his plans for university and a career in journalism are in ruins. dante's brother adam is the easygoing one - handsome, gregarious and friendly. adam is also gay and very happy to be, even though dante and his dad keep asking whether this 'phase' is going to be over soon and even though adam cops a lot of trouble from dante's 'friends'.
over the course of the book these three men face challenges and heartbreak and learn a lot about each other and themselves. and while the voice and the dialogue aren't totally natural, and sometimes come across as stilted, this is still a very lovely and thought-provoking read. it's heartwarming and very enjoyable.