Friday, April 23, 2010

The Less- Dead by April Lurie

Noah may not be famous, but his dad is. It seems everyone wants to meet the "Bible Answer Guy," one of the top-rated radio broadcasts on Christian radio in Austin, Texas. That is an oxymoron unto itself, but Noah can't run from his upbringing, although he tries.

Which is why he and his best friend Carson (who's dad is a DPCP - Demon Possessed Capitalist Pig) ended up at an alternative school for breaking school policy. And it's there that Noah's life takes a decidedly interesting, and perhaps deadly course. Because its at alternative school that Noah meets Will...

Will looks to be a typical, average Austinite teen, but there's more to him than Noah first realized. He meets Will on the Drag, while doing double duty at trying to win back his girlfriend Aubrey. The two form a friendship, tentative at first, but then slowly growing. Noah's buddy Carson sees what's happening and is the first to clue Noah in on the fact that Will is gay.

Noah has always seen himself as open, honest...not "uptight" like his Dad. But when he thinks about his reactions to Will, he knows what he thought isn't who he thinks he is. And Will will be one to test him on his levels of beliefs and bibilical teaching, as well as his emotions.

But their friendship doesn't last long...Will has been murdered. And his death is just another of many from a serial killer stalking the city. Noah has a clue the killer left behind, but who can he trust? With so many around him saying one thing and becoming another, who is telling the truth and who is lying?

April Lurie writes a YA fiction that combines prejudice against gay teens with the biblical teaching against homosexuality in one well-written and balanced book. The title suggests that while gay teens are considered less human, thus less-dead, the Bible and its scriptures say something else. The interpretation is what Lurie compiles on both sides very nicely. It's a book that not overtly heavy-handed one way or the other, but delivers a great mystery that will keep YA readers guessing, always the best quality of a well-written suspense novel.
There is an author's note where Lurie seems to state her opinion, pointing to scriptures about homosexuality, but that is the reader's option and doesn't impede on the actual novel itself. Recommended.

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