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Tale of Two Summers by Brian Sloan
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Tale of Two Summers

by Brian Sloan

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Best friends Chuck and Hal separate for the summer. Chuck goes to drama camp and Hal remains in their hometown. They keep in touch with one another via daily blog entries and the reader follows their often hilarious romantic entanglements. This is not for the faint of heart, as sex is talked about all the time and often explicitly described, and Hal just came out and is exploring his first homosexual relationship. Though at times this was slow-moving, I think because the blog entries were so detailed, I found it very realistic. The two protagonists sounded like real teenage boys and their romances turned out about the way they would have in real life. ( )
  meggyweg | Mar 7, 2009 |
Nearly-sixteen-year-olds Chuck and Hal are spending their first summer apart - Chuck at drama camp at a university and Hal at home in Washington DC. Instead of exchanging letters or emails they set up a blog which they both post to about their respective adventures and romances.
I was rather disappointed in this - I liked the author's other works and I'm a huge fan of the epistolary genre but I was hoping for a book that was more of a romance. While the two main characters did get involved with people I didn't really like their respective partners, and the rest of their teenage angst wasn't terribly exciting.
  alasen_reads | Nov 30, 2008 |
For some reason, even though I'd checked the book out of the library, I wasn't sure I wanted to read it. It's not that the premise wasn't good (two best friends relate their summer adventures to each other over the internet -- sexual exploits as well as the trauma of first loves, drama camp and driver's ed) nor was the way the book was written a turn off (written in the form of blog entries, written by both boys). I think I was afraid that the book wasn't going to be as self-aware as I like books written in a different format, to be. But luckily for me, Brian Sloan is a fantastic writer.

Tale of Two Summers turned out to be a really fun and engaging book. And, oh man, it was totally self-aware and in all the best ways. The story follows two boys, Charles (Chuck) and Hal, two best friends who are extremely close and are going to be apart for the first time in what seems like forever (Chuck says they haven't been separated since the 90s and the book takes place in 2006). Chuck sets up a blog before he goes to drama camp (he's really into singing and musicals) and manages to convince Hal (who has to stay in their hometown of Wheaton and takes driver's ed) to write in it. The entries are quite good, filled with detail and Sloan manages to keep the story flowing from entry to entry. Sure, we're reading blog entries, but they never felt like blog entries and I think that was essential to the book.

But Sloan also gives the book a bit of the twist. Hal recently came out to Chuck on New Year's Eve (some we learn about as the book goes on) and has a series of disastrous crushes. Both boys want relationships, or at least to get laid and that's part of what they blog about. Chuck develops crush on an exotic girl at his drama camp, while Hal meets a French boy named Henri. Both boys tell each other about their adventures in detail, but without making it seem formulaic or annoying, as diary-books often are. What I especially liked was how Sloan managed to keep us updated with things that happen when the two boys actually meet each other a few times during the summer.

Sloan also described the relationship between the two boys in a way that I haven't read before in gay literature where the best friend is a boy (who isn't also gay). I haven't read a lot, mind you, and I give Sloan a lot of credit for writing Chuck as the best friend who actually cares about Hal, without caring that he's gay. Sloan's created a strong bond between two boys, and in a way it takes a lot of guts to write a book like this -- especially considering how young the two characters are (15 and nearly 16). Some of the reviews I've read said that this wasn't quite realistic, and I totally agree with that. But, aside from that and a couple of things at the end, the book is throughly enjoyable. I applaud Sloan's effort and his book was a joy to read. So much so that I ended up staying up until 1:30 am one morning trying to finish it! ( )
  callmecayce | Nov 26, 2008 |
This book is a collection of blog entries made by Chuck and Hal, as they are spending their summer apart for the first time since they became friends. They are 15 years old, Chuck is at drama camp and Hal is homosexual. The blog is supposed to help them stay in touch and keep up with each other's lives during the summer. Hal meets a new boy and develops a relationship - which does lead to sex, while Hal does not have quite as much luck. One thing that bothered me was that I know several homosexual boys this age, and they do not have friends as understanding as Chuck is for Hal. Boys do not reach this level of maturity and comfort with homosexuality until college age, definitely not at 15 years old. ( )
  chibimajo | Nov 11, 2008 |
Blogging about a summer? How…modern.15-yr-olds Chuck and Hal are pursuing different summer plans for the first time in their 10-year friendship. Chuck’s straight and enrolled in a theater arts camp, eagerly anticipating staring in the musical production. Hal’s gay and enrolled in a driver’s education program, eagerly anticipating passing the driving test. However, as with any good teen summer, romance comes along and complicates matters for both of them. Chuck’s in lust with Ghaliyah, a Saudi Arabian hottie, but also finds himself digging MK (Mary Kate, but she avoids any association with a certain twin). Hal’s lusting after Henri, a French bad boy stoner, and Henri’s lusting (physically) right back. The two chronicle drugs, fights, misunderstandings, and sex in their private blog, all while seeing that while the two of them are apart, they’re still having the same summer.
Sloan brings both the same frenetic pace and the quirky characters from A really nice prom mess to his newest offering, but there is still a gap in the narrative. This may be in part due to a slower plot that leaves readers occasionally skimming, or perhaps because Sloan’s teenage voice occasionally borders on nagging mother. The lectures Chuck gives Hal on drugs and drinking are written too much in a public service announcement style to be authentic, and if an author talks down to teens in their own fiction, the narrative and readers both suffer. Then again, Sloan manages to make the boys’ fist sexual experiences both touching and difficult without heaping on angst and guilt. He also manages to give needed depth to the flaming queen stereotype of Chaz. Much like the boys adventures, this is a good trashy summer read.
Read this if you enjoy The order of the poison oak by Brent Hartinger, Feeling sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty or TTFN by Lauren Myracle. ( )
  cinf0master | Mar 7, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0689874391, Hardcover)

08:06 p.m.

Saturday 07.29.06

You are in L-O-V-E. Notice how I have no hesitation spelling it. At all. Reason? That was just the wildest entry you've posted! Ever....You are so seeing the world through the eyes of L-O-V-E.

A ten-year best friendship is put to the test when Chuck and Hal spend their first summer apart falling for two questionable mates: a sexy Saudi songstress and a smokin' hot French punk. As Chuck heads off to summer theater camp and Hal stays in their hometown, learning how to drive, they keep in touch via blogging, reporting to each other about their suddenly separate lives and often ridiculous romantic entanglements. As both their relationships take some unexpected turns, Hal and Chuck struggle to come to terms with their growing differences while trying to keep their friendship alive.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:51 -0400)

Even though Hal is gay and Chuck is straight, the two fifteen-year-olds are best friends and set up a blog where Hal records his budding romance with a young Frenchman and Chuck falls for a summer theater camp diva. You are in L-O-V-E. Notice how I have no hesitation spelling it. At all. Reason? That was just the wildest entry you've posted! Ever....You are so seeing the world through the eyes of L-O-V-E. A ten-year best friendship is put to the test when Chuck and Hal spend their first summer apart falling for two questionable mates: a sexy Saudi songstress and a smokin' hot French punk. As Chuck heads off to summer theater camp and Hal stays in their hometown, learning how to drive, they keep in touch via blogging, reporting to each other about their suddenly separate lives and often ridiculous romantic entanglements. As both their relationships take some unexpected turns, Hal and Chuck struggle to come to terms with their growing differences while trying to keep their friendship alive.… (more)

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