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Boy Girl Boy    by Ron Koertge order for
Boy Girl Boy
by Ron Koertge
Order:  USA  Can
Harcourt, 2007 (2005)
Hardcover, Softcover

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* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Boy Girl Boy is an interesting experiment in writing by Ron Koertge. He has taken the same situation shared by three best friends, and told it from each of their points of view in the order of boy, girl, boy. Elliot, Teresa, and Larry have been best friends forever. Having grown up together in the small town of Wendleville, Illinois, they dream of the day they will graduate high school and run away to California, each for their own reasons.

Elliot is the handsome jock of the bunch. He wants to go to California because it is what his friends want to do ... and he know that while he is an ace basketball player, he could never make the grade to keep himself in college. Teresa, the only girl in the trio, wants to escape Wendleville like her mother did, leaving Teresa alone with her hermit father. Ever since her mother left her, Teresa has been trying to run away from her life, jogging furiously every morning and only caring about taking random pictures and studying, not about how she looks or even about necessities like food.

Larry wants to go to California where he will be accepted as a homosexual, not ridiculed like he is in the small town of Wendleville. It is when this ridicule turns into something more serious that the three friends get the wake-up call they need to start living life in the moment, rather than dreaming of a future that might never happen.

Koertge has a gritty, straightforward manner of writing that takes the reader right into the minds of the three main characters. Even though Boy Girl Boy is a short novel, Koertge shows us the hopes and fears of all three teenagers in depth, creating realistic characters to whom most young adult readers can relate. There is also an underlying dry and quirky humor to the story that is true to life. Though Boy Girl Boy is short, it is not a fluffy summer read. The issues Ron Koertge touches on are real and the lessons the three friends learn is one that all young people can benefit from.

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