Reviews for If I Told You So

Kirkus Reviews 2012 July #2
Summer lovin' happened so fa-aast… New Hampshire 16-year-old Sean Jackson has just said goodbye to his girlfriend Lisa, who'll be a counselor at a Christian children's summer camp across the lake from their small hometown, when he learns his parents have decided he should spend the summer in Georgia with his father working as a landscaper. In order to stay at home, Sean gets a job at the Pink Cone, a local ice-cream shop owned by the Fabulous (lesbian) Renée. There he meets outspoken, Jewish New Yorker Becky and 18-year-old Jay, who is smokin' hot. Becky offers Sean pointers on the coming-out process (her family lives near Chelsea) and life in general; when she warns him about Jay's motives, however, Sean turns a (love-struck) deaf ear. Woodward's debut is a soapy, feel-good read that is low on conflict as well as surprises. Teens coming out today have it easier than in the past, but few will have it as easy as Sean, with his guidance counselor mother, his shockingly forgiving girlfriend, a boyfriend in the wings (for help recovering from first-love heartbreak) and sensei-yenta Becky, who dispenses wisdom faster than a hyper-caffeinated homo-Yoda. Myriad chest-and ab-ogling scenes and a graphic-for-the-age-range sex scene add verisimilitude. Helpful and hopeful, if slightly unrealistic. (discussion guide) (Fiction. 15-19) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2013 January

Gr 9 Up--Rather than spend the summer with his dad in Georgia, Sean Jackson, 16, gets a job at a local ice-cream shop owned by his small New Hampshire town's "crazy lesbian." His girlfriend is away working at a Christian camp, to his relief, and he is looking forward to a lazy summer of working, sleeping, and not doing much of anything. However, his plans are disrupted when he meets his boss, Jay, and feels an immediate and unwanted attraction. Sean has had questions about his sexuality but his fellow ice-cream scooper Becky pegs him as gay and keeps telling him how he has certain clich homosexual traits (he loves drama and the theater, is bad at sports, etc.). Becky "guides" Sean as to what movies he should watch, what he should wear, how he should handle his flirtation with Jay, etc. As he and Jay develop a relationship, Sean must deal with how to tell his parents he's gay as well as Jay's unreliability. This novel, which includes descriptive sex scenes, feels like a pre-2000 GLBT story at times and at others like a how-to manual. The plot is predictable and characters as a whole are stereotypical. Benjamin Alire Sáenz's Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (S & S, 2012) and Steve Kluger's My Most Excellent Year: A Story of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park (Dial, 2008) are much better coming out novels.--Janet Hilbun, Texas Women's University, Denton, TX

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