Bad Boy

A.J. Brandiosa becomes the bad boy of the Cyclone hockey team, and learns that his best friend is gay, as he tries to cope with his own sexuality during his senior year in high school.

Summary from Goodreads, Amazon UK

This was a rec from a friend of mine who knew I would like the hockey part if nothing else. If this hadn’t been recommended to me, I never would have found it on account of it being published in 1989. And it really shows – this book doesn’t date well. A lot of the views are still held today but they’re not quite as acceptable as it is in the book to voice them.

From a book POV, I have to say that I didn’t enjoy it that much. AJ’s homophobia was unpleasant to read and I wanted to shake him half the time. From a hockey POV, I was really interested into the glimpse of minor hockey and the intense pressure, not just from the team and the coach but from the outside as well. The fact that everyone read that same reporter who wrote about minor hockey just highlighted how much of a big deal the hockey team was in that small town.

What I did like was the part at the very end where AJ recognised the similarities between him and his Uncle Mike and it made me hopeful that AJ would grow up, if not accepting of his own bisexuality, then at least more accepting of his friend.

I give this book three stars. I finished it and I sort of enjoyed it, but I enjoyed the end most of all.

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