A trip out West to work at a racetrack — and a sojourn with a sophisticated gay uncle — bring unexpected discoveries in this quick-witted coming-of-age novel by the author of Stoner & Spaz and Margaux with an X.
I was in the West. The Old West. The Wild West! A whole summer in a new place: a place away from my parents, a place so hot the girls probably wore bikinis to church, a place where I’d take a giant step toward my dream: becoming a vet. A place where — who knows? — anything might happen.
From the moment sixteen-year-old Billy steps off the train in Tucson, he knows this will be a summer unlike any he’s seen in small-town Bradleyville, Missouri. For starters, he’s staying with his cool gay uncle, who has managed to get him a job at the racetrack caring for horses. Still, Billy doesn’t expect the horseracing world to be quite as rough and tumble as this — toiling side by side with a macho survivalist and falling hard for the feisty, romance-shy “exercise girl” Cara Mae. With his trademark fast-paced dialogue filled with wit and compassion, Ron Koertge tells the tale of an insecure teen who discovers that gaining stature involves more than Stetsons and boots — and that lessons on love and manhood come from the places you least expect.