Surrender Your Sons

Flux. Sept. 2020. 392p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781635830613.
Gr 9 Up–Connor Major’s boyfriend convinced him to come out to his mom before he was ready, despite his fear of her reaction. Instead of the acceptance and support he was hoping for, Connor, who is white, finds himself kidnapped in the middle of the night and brought to a religious conversion camp on an island. At Nightlight, which is run by the overbearing black-bearded Reverend from his hometown, Connor discovers the camp, which is run more like a prison with a dark past, is not what it seems, and he meets other teens who have been suffering at the hands of the camp’s staff. Connor is desperate to save himself from the island and to uncover the truth of what the Reverend is hiding at Nightlight. This is a thriller with queer protagonists and villains, and as per the author’s note, it is “not about queer pain” despite all of the queer characters in the book suffering at the hands of others. Representation matters, and many LGBTQ+ readers may see their own stories reflected in this novel. There are many slurs to be aware of in the text and the sexual content makes it more appropriate for older audiences.
VERDICT A must-have for high school collections that are looking to provide representation for all their students, especially those experiencing pain in their journey of coming out.

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