Title: Way to Go
Author: Tom Ryan
Release Date: April 1, 2012
Publisher: Orca Books
Danny thinks he must be
the only seventeen-year-old guy in Cape Breton--in Nova Scotia,
maybe--who doesn't have his life figured out. His buddy Kierce has a
rule for every occasion, and his best friend Jay has bad grades, no
plans and no worries. Danny's dad nags him about his post-high-school
plans, his friends bug him about girls and a run-in with the cops means
he has to get a summer job. Worst of all, he's keeping a secret that
could ruin everything.
Way to Go is a book filled with a mixture of emotions and realizations. It's smart, fun, happy, sad, easy, tough, and all kinds of complicated. Perhaps it's a coming out, but perhaps it's also a realization that it's okay to not have your entire life planned out when you're seventeen, that it's okay to still think about what you'd like to do in the future, that it's okay to explore. That it's okay to be you and not who people around you expect you to be.
Danny's is a kind and thoughtful voice, the voice of a teenage guy struggling to keep some things secret but to still sound normal around his friends and family. He thinks this secret will destroy everything around him, thinks it will ruin his life. Over the course of the book he's discovering who he is, what he wants to do. But will he keep hiding that part of himself?
It's not Deep Cove telling Danny he can't be gay, it's Danny himself who's suppressing this part of himself. It's sad that he feels he has to hide being gay from everyone. It's also sad that this has happened, does happen, and will happen in the future in real life. It's sad for everyone who feels that being gay is wrong, that it needs to be hidden, that being gay equates to not being normal. No one is normal anymore, everyone is different.
It's okay if you don't have everything figured out when you're a teenager, that's what those years are for. But during that time it's important to be the person you want to be. You're the one living your life, not your friends or your parents, so be who you want, like what you want, love whomever you want, life without fear, because there will be those who love you no matter what.
(I own a copy of this book.)