I Know What Gay Is by Foxglove Lee

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I Know What Gay Is by Foxglove Lee
Publisher: Prizm Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (15 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

When the couple next door asks Jay to babysit, he can’t help wondering… why him? Did they hire Jay as some kind of queer role model because they suspect little Sarah is gay?

At the park, when Sarah and Jay run across the guy he’s been pseudo-stalking, Sarah insists she’s a boy. Darien’s sheer sexiness makes Jay pretty brain-dead, and he can’t think what to talk about except how Sarah wants everyone to call her Frank. The funny kid reminds Darien of his transgender cousin. Could Sarah be trans, too? Should Jay talk to her parents? What if they say it’s none of his business? What if they fire him?

Well, then he’ll just have to spend his summer watching Darien work in the park, sweaty and shirtless…

Babysitters are supposed to play games with and cook healthy lunch for their charges. Jay never expected his summer job would include more serious responsibilities.

Despite Jay’s reluctance to temporarily stand in for his neighbour’s nanny he clearly has a way with kids. His willingness to listen to Sarah’s unusual requests and their warm relationship made me like him instantly. The crush Jay develops on Darien adds depth to the plot, and I cheered for what I hoped would happen between them as they slowly get to know one another better.

One of the issues that is heavily discussed earlier in the plot is never resolved. I hoped to see a final scene in which the characters at least begin to figure out how and when they will address it. Had the author included such a conversation this would have easily earned a much higher rating.

The pacing and character development in this piece were excellent, so it was a little difficult for me to figure out why such an obvious question was left unanswered in an otherwise compelling story. While I have no idea if the author plans to write one or more sequels to this book, it makes me wonder if this is why I Know What Gay Is was written the way it was. Will we hear more from Jay and his determined little neighbor in the future? I certainly hope so!

I smiled my way through I Know What Gay Is. It’s a gentle, funny tale that was as appealing to this adult reader as I suspect it will be for its intended audience.

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