Magoon, Kekla

The Minus-One Club

(2) YA The Minus-One Club has two rules: "1. Tell no one else about us. 2. We never talk about "[IT." "IT" is death, and the loss of a loved one is the only admission criterion for the secret club to which tenth grader Kermit suddenly finds himself invited after his older sister, Sheila, is killed in a car accident. The close-knit group also includes popular and openly gay Matt, whose mother died of cancer. Kermit, who is struggling with his Christian faith and with coming out, is attracted to Matt's easy confidence and thrilled when Matt returns his affections. But as the boys grow closer, Kermit begins to see that Matt's effortless aplomb is really just a facade covering up a self-destructive drinking problem. Soon Kermit must decide if never talking about Sheila's death, Matt's drinking, or his own sexuality is helping him cope or actually amplifying his loss. Readers will be drawn into the development of Kermit and Matt's tender first love, which is realistically halting, clumsy, and intimate. Short, dialogue-rich chapters interspersed with dream-sequence exchanges between Kermit and his bossy, loving late sister add levity and keep the pacing brisk. This evocative exploration of grief, sexual identity, and personal spirituality will be a boon to any teen grappling with these issues.


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