“What do you say, Jules? It’s not like we’ve got anything better to do.” She bats her eyes at her brother, who rolls his.
“Well, I could think of worse ways to spend a Friday night than staring at tight ends,” Julian finally says to Clay with a wink. I think my heart stops. Clay looks momentarily taken aback. Others at the table laugh it up, and I watch Julian from the corner of my eye. Is he being serious? Is it possible that the new kid is more like me than I realized? Too bad he hates me already.
My thoughts are interrupted when Clay nudges me.
“You’re not eating.” He points at my untouched food. Rolling my eyes—obviously a teenage trend—I pick up the half sandwich and shove it in my mouth.
“Happy?” I snap after I successfully swallow it without choking. He doesn’t deserve the attitude, but I can’t help myself.
“Yes,” he replies as he hands me the apple. I grab it from his hand and bite into it. It makes a loud, satisfying crunch.
Mei-Li and Julian give us matching weird looks.
“Ian doesn’t like to eat,” Clay explains.
“I like eating just fine,” I counter. “I just don’t like eating a lot.” The twins look at each other, puzzled, before looking back at us. It’s kind of creepy to watch their identical movements.
“He has to stay in his weight class,” Clay says, “and he thought he could do that by starving himself.”
A red cloud of anger hovers in front of my eyes as I slam my hand down on the table.
“Enough!” I’m embarrassed that Julian knows one of my secrets now. Gathering my stuff, I stand up to leave.
“Hey, Ian, don’t go!” Clay is grabbing at my bag. I give him what must be a withering look, because he lets go and drops his head.
“I’ve got to see the coach.” It’s an excuse. I nod to Mei-Li but can’t meet Julian’s gaze.
I leave the cafeteria behind, headed for a bathroom. After a quick check to make sure no one else is there, I enter an empty stall where I perform my other dirty little secret. The one no one can ever find out about. The one they make afterschool TV specials about. The one that involves the second coming of my lunch.
Secrets. Their weight can be crushing, but their release can change everything—and not necessarily for the better. Ian is no stranger to secrets. Being a gay teen in a backwater southern town, Ian must keep his orientation under wraps, especially since he spends a lot of time with his hands all over members of the same sex, pinning their sweaty, hard bodies to the wrestling mat.
When he’s trying not to stare at teammates in the locker room, he’s busy hiding another secret—that he starves himself so he doesn’t get bumped to the next weight class.
Enter Julian Yang, an Adonis with mesmerizing looks and punk rocker style. Befriending the flirtatious artist not only raises suspicion among his classmates, but leaves Ian terrified he’ll give in to the desires he’s fought to ignore.
As secrets come to light, Ian’s world crumbles. Disowned, defriended, and deserted by nearly everyone, Ian’s one-way ticket out of town is revoked, leaving him trapped in a world he hates—and one that hates him back.
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Genre - LGBT, YA
Rating – PG-13
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