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From lauded writer David Valdes, a sharp and funny YA novel that's Back to the Future with a twist, as a gay teen travels back to his parents' era to save a closeted classmate's life. All Luis Gonzalez...
From lauded writer David Valdes, a sharp and funny YA novel that's Back to the Future with a twist, as a gay teen travels back to his parents' era to save a closeted classmate's life. All Luis Gonzalez...
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  • From lauded writer David Valdes, a sharp and funny YA novel that's Back to the Future with a twist, as a gay teen travels back to his parents' era to save a closeted classmate's life.

    All Luis Gonzalez wants is to go to prom with his boyfriend, something his "progressive" high school still doesn't allow. Not after what happened with Chaz Wilson. But that was ages ago, when Luis's parents were in high school; it would never happen today, right? He's determined to find a way to give his LGBTQ friends the respect they deserve (while also not risking his chance to be prom king, just saying...).

    When a hit on the head knocks him back in time to 1985 and he meets the doomed young Chaz himself, Luis concocts a new plan-he's going to give this guy his first real kiss. Though it turns out a conservative school in the '80s isn't the safest place to be a gay kid. Especially with homophobes running the campus, including Gordo (aka Luis's estranged father). Luis is in over his head, trying not to make things worse-and hoping he makes it back to present day at all.

    In a story that's fresh, intersectional, and wickedly funny, David Valdes introduces a big-mouthed, big-hearted, queer character that readers won't soon forget.

About the Author-

  • David Valdes is the author of the nonfiction books Homo Domesticus, The Rhinestone Sisterhood, and Today Show pick A Little Fruitcake, as well as a dozen produced plays. A former Boston Globe columnist and HuffPost blogger whose posts have received over a million hits, he also wrote an advice column for Medium, and was recently featured in the New York Times's Modern Love column. He teaches writing at Boston Conservatory and Tufts. David lives in the Boston area with his teen daughter.

    davidvaldeswrites.com
    Twitter: @dvaldestweets
    Instagram: @davidvaldeswrites
    Facebook: davidvaldeswriter

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    August 15, 2021
    A gay teen contends with time travel--and homophobia through the decades. All Cuban American Luis wants is to be prom king with his boyfriend, but tiny upstate New York boarding school Antic Springs Academy, with its strict, Christian code of conduct, won't even let them hold hands in public. After a disastrous prom committee meeting at which his attempt to make the event welcoming of queer couples is rejected by the principal, Luis gets quite literally knocked into the past--specifically, ASA in the year 1985. There he meets Chaz, a Black student who attended the school at the same time as Luis' parents and who died under mysterious circumstances after being bullied for his sexuality. Luis now faces a choice between changing the past to help Chaz and preserving his own future existence. Fortunately, he has Ms. Silverthorn, a Black English teacher and beloved mentor, who offers him support in both timelines. The narrative explores the impacts of homophobia and being closeted, remaining optimistic without shying away from the more brutal aspects. Luis is a multifaceted character with an engaging voice whose flaws are confronted and examined throughout. The solid pacing and pleasant, fluid prose make this a page-turner. Luis' boyfriend is cued as Chinese American, and his best friend is nonbinary; there is some diversity in ethnicity and sexuality in background characters, although the school is predominantly White. A great read offering entertainment, encouragement, and plenty to reflect upon. (author's note) (Fiction. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    October 1, 2021
    Grades 8-11 Prepare to laugh out loud as Cuban American high-school senior Luis takes a trip into the past that rivals Back to the Future. Right after he's denied permission to bring his boyfriend to prom at his conservative private boarding school, Luis is accidentally knocked out and wakes up in 1985. Fortunately, his favorite teacher (and the only faculty member of color), Ms. Silverthorn, is already on the staff and believes his story. She gets him enrolled, and he finds himself attending classes and planning prom alongside his own parents. Luis also meets Chaz Wilson, his mother's gay friend who died on their prom night either by suicide or homophobic bullying. Has Luis traveled through time to save him? Luis' quick, clever observations and pop-culture riffs dominate the narrative but never belittle the revelations on how far queer acceptance has come. The boarding-school culture of 1985 is spot-on, and readers will fall for Luis and Chaz, and--bonus!--Luis' clumsy, misunderstood roommate, Ernie. The ripple effects of their brave choices change everyone's future for the better.

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    January 1, 2022

    Gr 9 Up-A modern-day gay teen time travels back to 1985 and wonders if he can help change the past without changing his future. Cuban American Luis Gonzalez, student body president, staff favorite, theater kid, principal's secretary, and general busybody, has an irrepressibly large personality. A day student at a small, conservative boarding school, opinionated and confident Luis is out and proud. Luis's big hope is to make his school allow people of any gender identity to go to functions as dates, mainly so he can attend prom with his boyfriend Cheng. But before that can happen, he gets knocked out and lands in 1985, suddenly attending school with his future parents. He's less concerned with solving the problem of how he got there than with what he can do to solve the problems his new 1985-era friends encounter, especially when it comes to homophobia and the fate of his parents' classmate Chaz. Interfering might change Chaz's future for the better, but what will it mean for Luis's own fate? The writing is snappy and conversational, but Luis's voice sometimes comes off as "teenagery" in a way that feels forced. This engaging read is full of honesty, vulnerability, and truly funny moments, as well as equal parts bravery and potentially dangerous foolishness. Self-centered and prone to acting first and thinking later, Luis gains insight into the present through this trip to the past. VERDICT An immersive story offering a unique look at second chances, acceptance, and progress.-Amanda MacGregor

    Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Bill Konigsberg, award-winning author of THE MUSIC OF WHAT HAPPENS
    An Indie Next pick

    A Junior Library Guild selection
  • School Library Journal An absolute blast. I loved it, and I couldn't put it down.
  • Kirkus Reviews This engaging read is full of honesty, vulnerability, and truly funny moments. . . . An immersive story offering a unique look at second chances, acceptance, and progress.

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    Bloomsbury Publishing
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