Sunday, January 22, 2006

Boy Girl Boy

Koertge, Ron. 2005. BOY GIRL BOY. San Diego: Harcourt. ISBN 0152053255 [Suggested Grade Levels 8-12]

Larry, Teresa, and Elliot are as close as any three friends can be; “this kind of private club nobody else could get into.” As they near the end of their high school years, the trio plans to run away to California. They want to escape the small town with their narrow-minded classmates and less-than-perfect parents and begin living their real lives. The story unfolds through alternating viewpoints of the three main characters, always in the same order, boy, girl, boy. Having multiple narrators allows readers to get a glimpse into each of the three best friends, but also allows readers to see how each character is viewed by the other two. Readers are privy to thoughts, feelings, and information that is personal to each protagonist.

As the story progresses, the three best friends begin to realize that maybe their lives have already begun, that maybe running to California is not the best solution. The opportunities that await them separately may be stronger than the opportunity to start over together. Elliot, who is the all-star athlete, has always been overshadowed intellectually by his two best friends. Teresa is in love with both boys, neither of whom would ever be her boyfriend. And Larry is still coming to terms with his sexuality and where that may eventually take him. Even as the three mature and become individuals, they come to realize that the bonds of friendship will always be strong, no matter where life takes them.

As shown in BOY GIRL BOY, each character has an individual viewpoint. Have a group of teenagers write about an activity they all watched or participated in, such as a sporting event. Then, have the teenagers read their stories aloud. Note the differences that occur with each individual’s story and compare the various versions of the same activity.

Other books by Ron Koertge:
STONER & SPAZ. ISBN 0763621501

By Mary D. Buckalo

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