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Banned Book Review: Arizona Kid

April 10, 2006

80. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge

Reason: featured adult themes and homosexual characters

Adult themes like “safe sex,” “the dangers of underage drinking,” and “how to deal with homophobia.”  What horrible things to be teaching our children!

Billy is 16 years old and spending the summer with his gay uncle in Arizona.  Billy mucks out stables, trains horses, falls in summer lust with one of the riders, and gains new understanding of his uncle and himself.  When he begins to get involved with his summer crush, his uncle gives him a pack of condoms.  Considering the number of books I’ve read where condoms don’t seem to exist in the reality of the characters, the exchange was frank and refreshing.  The characters start out like caricatures, but quickly develop into well rounded personalities.  All of the characters are shown with both good qualities and bad.  Some characters are more flawed than others, but that’s how people are.  The pace of the story starts out a little slow, but picks up after the first few chapters and keeps a fairly steady stride right up to the end.  It is funny, witty, and handles some pretty complex subjects in language that won’t made teens feel as if they’re being talked down to.  Recommended for ages 12 and up.

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