Review by Booklist Review
Hutchinson (The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried, 2019) lays bare his high-school and early college years his coming out, the resulting family tension, friendship difficulties, depression, self-harm, failed relationships, a suicide attempt in this razor-sharp, deeply revealing, and brutally honest exploration of growing up gay in the South amid an intolerant sociopolitical backdrop that seems hell bent on denying him a future. Emotionally raw and deeply insightful, Hutchinson's reminiscence of his earlier years is not tainted by the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia, nor is his story so macabre as to avoid heartwarming moments and frequent instances of humor to break up the tension: ""I was right! Kissing really was like an H. P. Lovecraft story, but with less xenophobia and racism."" Although this is a straightforward coming-out narrative in some ways, the depth and complexity of each recounted moment serve to illustrate to readers the myriad ways in which society creates paradoxical and near-impossible expectations for queer young people to adhere to on a daily basis. Brave Face serves not just as a personal story but as a guide to help queer and questioning readers survive better yet, to thrive against all odds, in defiance of a world that so often appears to want them to fade away.--Rob Bittner Copyright 2019 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
YA author Hutchinson (The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried) explores the travails of coming into his sexuality in the early 1990s, when homophobia was deeply rampant in the U.S., the AIDS crisis was in devastating full force, and equal rights for anyone on the LGBTQ spectrum were still a distant dream. With the lack of positive representation of queerness, Hutchinson's views of gay people were so negative that it took him years to recognize his own sexuality. In the meantime, trying to live an inauthentic life left him angry and depressed for reasons he couldn't grasp. The author explores his teenage years with raw honesty, presenting the truth as he saw it and sharing passages from his diaries to illustrate the turmoil he experienced-which many queer teens will continue to empathize with. Though he describes himself at times in deep depression and engaging in self harm, the memoir ends on a positive note, sharing the ways in which he finds acceptance both within himself and within the queer community, and sending an important message to other queer teens: your life is a gift, and support is out there. Ages 14-up. Agent: Katie Shea Boutillier, Donald Maass Literary Agency. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A '90s era teen-cum-YA novelist presents a frank, good-humored recollection of depression, self-loathing, and eventual self-respect.For the fainthearted, a disclaimer gives fair warning that this trip is pregnant with discomfort and mounds of bad behavior. Make it past that fence post and there's an amalgam of emails, journal entries, and early writing peppered throughout a contemporary memoir. These time-capsule bread crumbs of Hutchinson's (The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried, 2019, etc.) younger voice layer even more honesty than might otherwise be there; though it's autobiographical, he's acutely aware that he's writing what he remembers. As a teen he grapples with his sexuality, unable to understand why his heterosexual make-outs skew repulsive instead of gratifying. When Hutchinson's own writing helps him realize that he's gay, it's not a smooth shift to self-love; rather, the realization helps him articulate why he hates himself. Being gay instills a fear of rejection because he doesn't yet have the faculty to realize that homosexuality is more than subscribing to a flamboyant Hollywood stereotype doomed to be treated with disgust or ridicule. In recognizing he's gay, he's now tasked with re-establishing a future that had been previously forecast on a disingenuous heterosexual foundation. His depression's always-there voice of suicide says he'll never have what he wants, coloring his days difficult. There's a lot to endure and survive and screw up before he finds there's a niche for anyone in the queer community.Compelling. (Memoir. 14-adult) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.