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A Secret Edge
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 June 2007
Young Jason Peele lives with his aunt an uncle, his parents having been killed when he was two, but he is confused as his dreams centre on boys and not girls. At sixteen years old he is perhaps an average student and not the most popular, but he enjoys English Lit and he excels at athletics, particularly running. It is while training for an upcoming inter-schools competition that he notices Raj, a particularly lithe and good looking coloured student practicing the high jump. He makes himself known to Raj who has recently arrived from India, and soon the two fall in love, but all is not plain sailing. Raj, a year older than Jason, soon seduces him, but then proves to be something of an enigma seeming at times distant and leaving Jason uncertain as to where he stands. Jason also has to contend with bullying, particularly involving a one time friend who has now turned against him.

Then there is Robert, a quiet homely looking student who rescues Jason from his attackers and then seeks his help with school work as well as guidance dating girls. As a result Jason finds himself on a double date with Robert and two girls, adding to is confusion. To compound his problems he is flattered by fellow student and athlete Norm, coming from the wealthy side of town, who also falls for him.

Jason has to contend with all these problems including coming out to his aunt and uncle, sending his emotions into turmoil at the time of his training for his all important athletics; but he remains remarkably well balanced and positive, proving a perfect role model for other youths similarly confused about their sexuality.

It is a little patronising in tone at times, even slipping in advice on preparing English assignments in addition to the handling of gay issues. But that aside it is a warm and touching love story, and Jason comes out of it well proving that honesty is the best approach, and showing that whatever problems there are, there are always more then enough positive points to counter them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 March 2009
If ever I had to choose a good quality, educational (without being patronising) book for a secondary school/college library or English reading group on understanding gay issues, then this would be it. By using a positive, strong character (yet not without his flaws)that young people will be drawn to and have sympathies with, Reardon is able to convey a real feeling of the confusion and heartache that comes from growing up with a "secret edge" inside of you.

With very few Americanisms, the text is fresh and versatile, and there are even some handy questions at the back of the book to assist reading groups. I will concede that the novel is designed at least in part as an instructional text (hence the reading group questions), but Reardon uses a very light touch - no finger wagging!

I'm happy to say that this book easily achieves and indeed surpasses its goals - it's realistic without being visceral and you don't get the feeling the author is pulling strings with his characters acting like mindless puppets. Young people will certainly warm to Reardon's style.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 31 July 2008
yes it is similar to other books about teenage life as a gay guy but theres a difference, its also got more then 1 culture unlike all the others, theres two main characters, one white and one asian (hindu)

me personally im asian and found i could relate to "Raj", i also found it informative on the whole "Vedism" section, who would have thought gay asians wouldnt be shunned upon many hundreds of years ago. its a surprise to me, and im not just taking this info from the book. i did research on vedism to clarify this for myself.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 16 September 2009
I really enjoyed this book: the plot was intriguing, the 2 main characters well drawn, the joy of first physical intimacy tastefully described (the author doesn't cross any offending lines) and the reader had some sense of what it is like to grow up gay at school. The only draw back was that I felt the ending was a bit rushed. While saying that, I was interested enough and I enjoyed this book so much, I ordered the author's more recent book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 December 2008
I had this book on my wish list for quite a while, as I do really enjoy books of this 'genre', I've read quite a few, as I must say this may have the feel of a few other books, but it does bring a freshness in its own in its ability to be a bit more realistic. I compare this with some Alex Sanchez I've read, and this seems a bit closer to life and how things can happen day to day, but alse addresses the fact that there are no rules to building any type of relationship even if you always think 'what are the rules!?' as this guy seems to question several times in different situations.

The plot itself maybe easily guessed but the way to gets there is very well constructed.

I think if you are intending to buy this, and have given it enough time to read this review, then you should buy it, its worth its money and time to read!

Great book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 2012
I really felt this book could have done with a few more chapters to flesh it out. The relationship between the two main characters began way too fast and we could have done with a bit more of the book introducing Raj. Another aspect of the book I really disliked was the speech, it was all very clunky and awkward and I couldn't imagine anyone saying any of it. Especially Jason's Aunt.

Nevertheless there was a lot of enjoyable content as well. The final few chapters provided a suitable conclusion to the book and Jason's relationship with his friends was also a highlight. Though Raj was really really annoying, you couldn't help but root for them.

All in all, likeable, but not something I'd go over again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 February 2009
This book is really good, the depth of the wrighting is good and the end is really sweet. yea there beatings and stuff but it is really emotional. EVERYONE should read this book!
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on 1 August 2014
There are lots of coming out stories but this one is different in that Hindu is involved and the author knows her stiff – that ancient Hinduism accepted a ‘third sex’ but that Western attitudes have infiltrated.

Like most of these American coming out novels, there’s lots about friends coming round to help with homework and with ‘jocks’ on sports teams.

The title is a reference to the idea that fathers somehow suspect their sons are gay but don’t quite know how to deal with it, as if their son has some sort of ‘secret edge’ on them.

I suspect that nobody quite knows how many young men take knives to school for protection.
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on 2 February 2011
Ok - A Secret Edge is yet another teenage coming out story BUT the lead character, Jason, is mature in his thinking beyond his years. Jason is the story's narrator so there are lots of insights into the challenges he faces and overcomes. Robin Reardon shapes his characters with care so the story has the reader involved from the start. I enjoyed A Secret Edge so much I immediately re-read it and saw so much more second time around.
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on 4 May 2014
honest and really autentic in writing.you can find yourself in the secret edge especially when is no more needed, cause you can be yourself.
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