Time Out

S. & S. May 2023. 272p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781534492622.
Gr 9 Up–A small town high school basketball prodigy comes out as gay at a pep rally and is faced with a backlash of homophobia and harassment from not only his teammates but also his entire town. Barclay is mourning his grandfather’s untimely passing, and feeling that he can no longer be anything but his true self (before it’s too late). After all, everyone will love him no matter what, right? Wrong. Barclay’s announcement is met with a disgusting amount of hate from everyone around him, taking him off the basketball team and unfairly reminding him that the team’s losing streak is his fault. However, when the one other out guy in his school wants to interview him for the school paper, he may just learn a meaningful way to make an impact on everyone, even without being basketball captain. The three authors (Hayes starred in TV’s Will & Grace) have a great overarching plot following a white gay athlete coming out publicly in Georgia, however the execution leaves something to be desired. Heavy plot lines of coming out, mourning a father figure, political scandals, and a first romance, all woven through a thread of basketball, is asking a lot of a book under 300 pages. There is a violent act toward the end of the book that feels underdeveloped and out of place. Still, most readers will go along for an overall enjoyable read.
VERDICT Despite an intriguing premise, this book feels very generic. Recommended purchase for large collections where titles about LGBTQIA+ athletes are popular.

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