Orca Book Publishers

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Fiction Ages 12+
Pages: 224
Themes: Homosexuality, friendship, honesty, courage, LGBTQ
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 01/Apr/2012
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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.

John Wetterholt, Follett Library Resources
"A very well done book about a front-burner topic, it makes a fine addition to the 'I think I'm gay' genre. Danny is very believable, and unlike so many 'issue' novels, the supporting characters are fully realized and multi-dimensional...A lot of kids will benefit from reading it...It's a story that absolutely needs to be told, and the author's approach succeeds beautifully. Excellent."
YALSA YA Galley Teen Review
"This book is a truly life-changing one. It will make you question your views and the way you inflict them on others."
Publishers Weekly
"Those who, like Danny, feel like 'an island of gayness in an ocean of straightness,' should identify with his search for a path of his own."
Doodle's Book Blog
"From page one I was swept into Danny's world. Tom Ryan wrote a book that I will read over and over again...This book was phenomenal and I recommend it to everyone."
"An enjoyable, sensitive and poignant portrait of a summer in the life of a (maybe) gay teen. Danny's search to understand his sexuality will be helpful to others in similar situations and will be enlightening to others who are simply curious about the experiences of young people coming to terms with being gay...An important addition to books available for young readers."
"The characters are all very well developed. The plot was solid and the setting of the book was presented in such as way that I actually felt like I was there...[A] light, fun read and...a good introduction to this genre."
Quill & Quire
"The [novel's] realism adds to its considerable emotional impact."
"There's a lot to love about this story, and with every character so complex and every subplot full of intrigue, Way to Go has something to offer so many readers, gay or straight, boy or girl. This isn't a coming out story. It’s a coming of age story. And I promise, it will make you laugh, too."
CanLit for Little Canadians blog
"Ryan easily finds the voices of the teens, male and female, gay and straight, as well as the adults with whom they interact, as if he has been all those people and speaks from experience."
Crowding the Book Truck blog
"Danny's coming of age summer is about more than just his sexuality; he's also discovering who he wants to be as a person and what he wants to do as a career...This book's Canadian-ness sets it apart from a lot of other coming of age novels, and that's important, because while Canada shares a lot of culture with America, there are some differences."
"This insightful first book is a quick, interesting, and pleasurable read. The life lessons are important and the style and tone are excellent...The story is well-told and the topic of being gay is handled with grace."
Southwest Ohio and Neighboring Libraries (SWON)
"Tom Ryan's deft hand at teen angst makes one wonder if a percentage of the story is autobiographical...The main characters have depth and realistic flaws that make the book a good read for high school students."
Resource Links
"This engaging book about a reluctantly gay adolescent is more about finding one's way in life than it is about gender...The subplots in this book work well with the main storyline and the absence of any contrived or strident posturing is very reassuring. This book deserves all the respect a reader can give it."
Southwest Ohio Young Adult Materials Review Group
"Danny is a believable character, and students struggling with the same issue will identify with him..It is a well-written book on the topics of homosexuality and friendship."
Library Media Connection
"The theme of the book is relevant: exploring your sexuality and dealing with peer pressure to be someone you aren't. Recommended."
Tri State YA Book Review Committee
"Ryan aptly shows the confusion a young adult feels when determining his/her sexuality...Dan's story is one that will entertain and educate...Ryan definitely has something to offer to young adults who might be pondering how best to navigate the murky waters of sexual self-discovery."
CM Magazine
"The characters are wonderfully written and are brought to life more by their words and actions than simply by descriptions...While Way to Go deals with serious topics, such as sexual orientation, identity, self-acceptance, friendship and family, Tom Ryan keeps the story moving and does not let it get too heavy or depressing for the reader...An excellent coming-of-age story that will appeal to a variety of readers."
Canadian Children's Book News
"Ryan has an engaging writing style and nicely captures the angst of being a teenager—and the excitement...Ryan's portrait of rural Nova Scotia doesn't avoid the issues of the limitations of small-town life in the Maritimes but he makes it equally clear that it's a world that not everyone wants to escape from. Way to go, Tom Ryan!"
NJ Youth Services
"This coming out/coming of age story is a clean, quick and easy read."
Amy's Marathon of Books blog
"With a cast of authentic characters, Tom Ryan explores the topic of coming out in a small town...Way to Go speaks not only directly to teens coming to terms with being gay, but also to anyone who feels like an outsider."


White Pine Award nominee  | 2013 | Short-listed
YALSA Quick Picks  | 2013 | Commended
Rainbow List  | 2013 | Commended