Lee Bantle, May 2009. Protagonist David is mostly in the closet, but sometimes he peeks out a bit. He experiments sexually with hot jock Sean, wishing he were his boyfriend, but Sean can’t come out to the rest of the track team and in fact insists he’s not gay — boysex is just more convenient. David tries hard to be straight, hooking up with his female friend Kick and masturbating to the image of Mandy Moore, and in fact he may well be bi; he touches Kick’s hair and thinks, “I felt a wonderful, hopeful tingling down there where it counts, where you can’t fake it, even if you really, really want to.” He tries buying Playboy and is interested in breasts, but he soon puts the magazine aside in favor of Iron Man and Car and Driver.
David Inside Out follows a predictable problem-novel format, with David facing bullies’ accusations that he’s gay, then eventually coming to terms with his sexuality. Still, formulas work if done with flair, and this one is. It has some hilarious moments, as when David attends church with his mother and finds himself “right under a nearly naked plaster statue of Jesus on the cross….I looked up, inspecting the folds of the loin cloth, trying to imagine what was underneath. This is what I had sunk to. Checking out Jesus.” Sean is a stereotypical jock in denial, but Kick and Eddie are more complicated characters and round out the book nicely. Recommended for all public libraries; school librarians should note the frequent sex scenes.