Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Money Boy by Paul Yee

Ray Liu is a closeted gay 18-year-old Chinese immigrant in contemporary Toronto. He came to Canada against his will four years earlier with his father and stepmother. Ray's English is still quite poor, he's a lackluster student and his main interest is online gaming. When his father discovers that Ray has been visiting gay websites, he kicks him out and locks the door.

Life on the street is a shock for Ray, who has been rather spoiled and sulky up to that point. Now, the only way that he can think of to support himself is by selling his body -- what's called being a money boy in Beijing. The poignancy of Ray's story is rooted in Paul Yee's realistic portrayal of Ray, the hard choices he must make, and the way his character strengthens over a short period of time.

I'm excited about booktalking Money Boy to a gay-straight alliance club at J. Percy Page high school tomorrow. Many of the students at that school were born outside Canada. The other books I'll be telling them about are listed here.

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