Saints of Augustine

Saints of Augustine
by P. E. Ryan
YA fiction. 308 pp.
HarperTeen. 2007.

flap copy:

Sam Findley and Charlie Perrin. Best friends. At least they used to be. But a year ago Sam cut Charlie out of his life—no explanation, no discussion, nothing.

Fast-forward one year, and both Sam's and Charlie's lives are spiraling out of control. Sam has a secret he's finding harder and harder to hide, and Charlie is dealing with an increasingly absent dad and a dealer whose threats are anything but empty.

As told in alternating chapters from Sam and Charlie during the sticky Florida summer before their senior year, the ex-best friends are thrown together once again when they have no one else to turn to.

Completed June 7

This was a slow book to get into, but in the end, I enjoyed it. It's not at the top of my to recommend list, because I really don't recall much more about it other than the impression that I appreciated how Ryan approached their friendship and the tension Sam brought to it because he wasn't able to own up to his homosexuality or how that would affect his friendship. In the end, it was a non-issue. However—and perhaps this is one of the thinking points for this novel—was it a non-issue because of who Charlie is or because of Charlie's own loneliness during the past year and his newfound appreciation for the what he and Sam had?

Saints of Augustine was a finalist for this year's Lambda Literary Award in the Children's/YA category. (Apparently Hero won the award; though I think this is the best book of the five titles in the running for the award in this category, I still don't think it should have been in this category. Coming-of-age story does not equal YA novel.)