Book - 2022
"Gabriel, Reese, Sal, and Heath are best friends, bonded in their small rural town by their queerness, their good grades, and their big dreams. They are about to embark on the summer before senior year of high school, where each is going on a new, big adventure, from attending a design school in Paris to interning on Capitol Hill for a U.S. Senator. What will this summer of new experiences and world-expanding travel mean for each of them--and for their friendship?"--
Call them the Four Musketeers. Sal, Gabriel, Reese, and Heath have been best friends since preschool. Now in high school, all four are openly gay. Reese and Heath are single (though they are in love with each other but afraid to tell the other so), while Sal and Gabriel are friends with benefits. It's summer vacation time now, and all four are going their separate ways: Sal to a congressional internship in Washington, D.C.; Gabriel to Boston to work for a nonprofit; Reese to Paris to study fashion design; and Heath is going to Florida to work for his aunt in her arcade. Will their summer apart change the friends, and, if so, how? Those are the questions Stamper's engaging, good-natured novel asks. The answers are eminently satisfying, since readers will come to care for these deeply empathetic characters and wish them well. Stamper's (As Far As You'll Take Me, 2021) well-plotted offering makes a good read not just for summer but all year round. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews
Friends since preschool, Gabriel, Heath, Reese, and Sal are all gay and implied white in small-town Ohio. The summer before senior year, they'll be apart for the first time. While Gabriel helps an environmental group in Boston, Sal's interning with a senator in Washington, D.C., the distance placing their friends-with-benefits arrangement on hold. And while Heath makes money working for his long-estranged aunt in Daytona Beach, Reese studies graphic design in Paris. The friends alternate narration and chime in to group chats, talking through—and sometimes glossing over—their difficulties. Gabriel's anxious enough without having to accost strangers on the street for donations. Sal's internship is so disorganized it borders on exploitative. Heath and Reese are both suffering from unrequited love, and Reese is less than certain about continuing with his course of study. Stamper (As Far as You'll Take Me) has written a good-natured duology opener—all four guys genuinely care for and support one another—about navigating the familial, romantic, and vocational challenges that come with taking their first steps away from home and familiarity. Ages 13–up. Agent: Brent Taylor, Triada US.(Feb.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.Review by School Library Journal Reviews
Gr 10 Up—Stamper continues to shine as a voice of YA LGTBQIA+ writing with this work. The novel follows four friends as they depart their small town of Gracemont, OH, for the summer before their senior year. Gabriel is heading to Boston to work with an environmental organization; Sal is going to intern in DC; Heath is heading to Daytona to work at his aunt's arcade; and Reese is on his way to Paris for design school. The four friends navigate new experiences and people while maintaining their friendships and romances with one another. The story is told from their four viewpoints, and Stamper manages that task effortlessly, making each voice unique. The novel uses texting at times to realistically showcase the young men communicating from afar during this summer. While the theme of finding oneself before senior year is one often told, Stamper makes the story his own. What is so refreshing about this book is the characters; it would be easy to classify this as a book about four young gay males, but it's more than that. Like other books about friendship groups, Stamper's characters are vastly different from each other, as is shown in their interests and locations for the summer. The main characters cue as white. VERDICT Recommended for libraries with teen and new adult readers.—Roy Jackson Copyright 2022 School Library Journal.
"Gabriel, Reese, Sal, and Heath are best friends, bonded in their small rural town by their queerness, their good grades, and their big dreams. They are about to embark on the summer before senior year of high school, where each is going on a new, big adventure, from attending a design school in Paris to interning on Capitol Hill for a U.S. Senator. What will this summer of new experiences and world-expanding travel mean for each of them--and for their friendship?"--Review by Publisher Summary 2
National bestselling author Phil Stamper crafts the perfect summer friendship story, starring four queer boys with big hearts and even bigger dreams.It's the summer before senior year. Gabriel, Reese, Sal, and Heath are best friends, bonded in their small, rural town by their queerness, their good grades, and their big dreams. But they have plans for the summer, each about to embark on a new adventure.Gabriel is volunteering at an environmental nonprofit in Boston.Reese is attending design school in Paris. Sal is interning on Capitol Hill for a senator. Heath is heading to Florida, to help out at his aunt's boardwalk arcade. What will this season of world-expanding travel and life-changing experiences mean for each of them--and for their friendship?Phil Stamper treats readers to an emotionally resonant summer story, full of aspirational experiences, sweet romance, and joyously affirming friendship.