Penny’s Rating for the Series: A+
~I’ve been meaning to write something about this series for a while. Since the tale of Foster High is now finished, I thought it was time. By the way, this whole post is basically going to be a love letter to author John Goode, combined with me rehashing my own coming of age, so if you want to skip it, I understand, but seriously, these books are awesome, and you should read them. I would love to see copies of these in every junior high and high school library, because there are some kids out there that need to read this stuff. Like maybe they will not kill themselves if they read them, or maybe they’ll realize that they have the power to make things better, make a difference, change the world. It does get better.
These books make me want to be better. Not magically bright and sunny, with rainbows and unicorns better, but be a better person. Expect more from myself, better. Do better. Take a stand, kick some ass, change the world, better. Not many books do that. I wish that this series had existed when I was in high school. I wonder if it would have changed the culture of our high school. I know it would have changed me.
I can relate to Foster High on so many levels. Like Foster, there were exactly two people out at my high school. If I remember correctly, they even went to prom together (in the 90’s, no less). They had no public support, and looking back I’m awed by how brave they were. None of my close friends who were gay came out to until after we had already graduated. All I wanted after I graduated was to get the hell out-of-town. I left and went away to school for theater, and was in a completely different and awesome environment, where everyone supported and accepted their peers for who they were. For those of you who may not have found a safe place to be yourself, such places do exist, and when you find them, you will also find people willing to play bisexual spin-the-bottle (and other things) with you. It does get better.
SO, back to the books…did I mention that they are great? Brad and Kyle are like family to me now. One of the things I enjoy about this series is that Goode writes from multiple POV’s which can be jarring, but you get to hear about what’s going on from so many characters. I love it. The writing is frequently funny, real, and the journey Brad and Kyle take is incredible and intense. They grow up so much in these books. I have to warn you, if you make it to books 4 and 5, there will be crying. These are not all happy save the world books. There is some heavy stuff in these. You will probably also want to get mad and take names and kick ass. These books are cute, inspiring, devastating, funny as hell, fierce, romantic, real, and profound. So go, get them already.
P.S. The theater girl in me thinks that Kyle and Brad are destined for the stage. “FOSTER HIGH the Musical” – really, I’m not joking. John, I’m going to see if I can write music that doesn’t suck and in no way resembles “Glee” or “High School Musical”, and if I can, I am sending it to you.
Book Blurbs and Links
Tales from Foster High (Tales from Foster High #1-3)
Kyle Stilleno is the invisible student, toiling through high school in the middle of Nowhere, Texas. Brad Greymark is the baseball star of Foster High. When they bond over their mutual damage during a night of history tutoring, Kyle thinks maybe his life has changed for good. But the promise of fairy-tale love is a lie when you’re gay and falling for the most popular boy in school. A coming of age story in the same vein of John Hughes, Tales from Foster High shows an unflinching vision of the ups and downs of teenage love and what it is like to grow up gay. Stories included: Maybe With a Chance of Certainty, The End of the Beginning, Raise Your Glass
End of the Innocence (Tales from Foster High #4)
Kyle Stilleno is no longer the invisible boy, and he doesn’t quite know how he feels about it. On one hand, he now has a great boyfriend, Brad Greymark, and a handful of new friends, and even a new job. On the other hand, no one screamed obscenities at him in public when he was invisible.
No one expected him to become a poster boy for gay rights, either—at least not until Kyle stepped out of the closet and into the limelight. But there are only a few months of high school left, and Kyle doubts he can make a difference. With Christmas break drawing closer, Kyle and Brad are changing their lives to include each other. While the trials are far from over, they have their relationship to lean on. Others are not so lucky. One of their classmates needs their help—but Kyle and Brad’s relationship may be too new to survive the strain.
151 Days (Tales from Foster High #5)
With just 151 days left until the school year ends, Kyle Stilleno is running out of time to fulfill the promise he made and change Foster, Texas, for the better. But Kyle and his boyfriend, Brad Graymark, have more than just intolerance to deal with. Life, college, love, and sex have a way of distracting them, and they’re realizing Foster is a bigger place than they thought. When someone from their past returns at the worst possible moment, graduation becomes the least of their worries.
About the Author (Who has the best bio ever!)
John Goode is a member of the class of ’88 from Hogwarts school of wizardry, specializing in incantations and spoken spells. At the age of 14 he proudly represented District 13 in the 65th Panem games where he was disqualified for crying uncontrollably before the competition began. After that he moved to Forks, Washington where, against all odds, dated the hot, incredibly approachable werewolf instead of the stuck up jerk of a vampire but was crushed when he found out the werewolf was actually gayer than he was. After that he turned down the mandatory operation everyone must receive at 16 to become pretty citing that everyone pretty were just too stupid to live before moving away for greener pastures. After falling down an oddly large rabbit hole he became huge when his love for cakes combined with his inability to resist what sparsely worded notes commanded and was finally kicked out when he began playing solitaire with the Red Queen’s 4th armored division. By 18 he had found the land in the back of his wardrobe but decided that thinly veiled religious allegories where not the neighbors he desired. When last seen he had become obsessed with growing a pair of wings after becoming obsessed with Fang’s blog and hasn’t been seen since.
Or he is this guy who lives in this place and writes stuff he hopes you read