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Publisher's Summary

In 16-year-old Mike Hernandez's life, only one thing is clear: Gay is not okay. His family's life revolves around the church, a church run by the vocally intolerant Pastor Myers, so Mike has resolved to spend his life in the closet. His only escape - besides the occasional, anonymous gay make-out session - is his art. He pours his complicated emotions into risque drawings he keeps in a secret sketchbook. A sketchbook he carries everywhere.

When his sketchbook goes missing in the middle of Sunday school, Mike is sure his life is over. He's going to be outed, ostracized by their community, condemned by the pastor, maybe even homeless. What's worse, the pastor's son, Chris, suddenly seems hell-bent on adopting Mike and his friends, and he has no idea why.

When an awkward confrontation with Chris leads to an unexpected kiss instead of a much-expected punch, Mike's world is turned upside down. As their friendship grows and faith is questioned, Mike may be forced to choose between the comfortable life he's always lived and a chance at the love he never thought he deserved.

©2018 Alexander C. Eberhart (P)2020 Tantor

What listeners say about There Goes Sunday School

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

beautiful book!

this book has the ring of authenticity to it. A coming of age story that touches on very real conflicts and the journey taken to find one's self and place in the world. there's humor and pain in this story and it is well worth exploring. joel Leslie does a remarkable job bringing the characters to life. his interpretation and presentation make "There Goes Sunday School" a pleasure to listen to, and impossible to put down.

3 people found this helpful

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  • t
  • 03-03-21

A story that takes an odd turn

There Goes Sunday School is a bit of an angsty mess. The main character is so terrified that anyone will find out he's gay and yet he carries around a sketchbook that has tons of sketches he's done of men together with his name and phone number on the back. So of course when it goes missing, it sends him into a downward spiral, terrified he'll be outed at any moment. Which essentially is Mike's MO. he's constantly terrified he'll be outed and yet has no intention of coming out. His fear is real. Who wouldn't be afraid to come out, especially when you live in a community that's homophobic. As angsty as it is, I found that part relatable. However, his treatment of Chris when he came out was a bit over the top. It made me relieved for the end - which I would normally not have been since i'd been expecting a romance. This is a coming out tale. Not a romance. (HUGE SPOILER - by definition, romances end with the couple in an HFN or an HEA. This one ends with the couple dating other guys.)

I feel completely out of touch with the youth in this particular school. Jacqui smokes like a chimney and supposedly her mother doesn't know. Seriously? She reeks of it constantly. Not to mention none of the parents seems to notice when their children come home stinking of weed. That's not the type of smell that one can miss. Then you have girls going down on guys in the school bathrooms and none of the adults catch on. Seriously?

The homophobia as shown by the adults in Mike's school feels right on. I like how the author points out through a couple different characters how they pick and choose which parts of their bible to believe.

I would have liked Mike to put Jacqui in her place when she made his not coming out to her all about her. The whole "How could you not trust us" scenario. It would have been nice for someone to make her 'get it'.

The narration was pure Joel Froomkin/Leslie. So while it was good, it wasn't great. He doesn't have a wide span of voices, which was obvious, especially when Chris and Mike would speak. They sounded the same. I wish they had gotten a Spanish-speaking narrator. He would have been able to make Mike's dad sound more natural. There were times when he almost sounded French rather than Latinx.

I wish the epilogue would have been flushed out a bit better, but overall I did like the story. It's very YA, so as long as you keep that in mind, you might enjoy it.

1 person found this helpful

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Unconvincing

Having grown up in a fundamentalist Christian church, I loved the premise of the story, but I didn't believe in the attraction and love between narrator Mike and Chris, the sensitivity of Mike, who introduces himself as a pretty cynical and open-minded gay guy, or the point of this church that Mike's family seems to attend for no apparent reason. Oh, and the end is extremely unsatisfying if you ended up believing that this was a story of epic love.

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Awesome coming out story…

This is a great love story. It is witty, tragic and shows both positive and toxic reactions to being true to who you are. Loved it!
The artist(s) telling the story does an amazing job acting the story out. I will definitely listen to more stories told by Joel Leslie.

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Great book. Okay voice acting

I enjoyed this book. I found the story to be interesting and fun and relatable. Joel Leslie's narration feels a bit extra at times but I still enjoyed it overall.

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Very Good Story!

An all true story of how many sadly still today go through being gay but raised in religious households. I loved how the ending was. The ending to me was very realistic. I loved that even tho Chris and Mike did not end up together, they both grew and learned acceptance from each other in their brief time. Just like that sometimes the people that make the biggest impact on ourselves sometimes don't stay in our lives and thats ok.

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Heart hurting in a good way

Having read Eberhart’s other story I went into this one with some serious trepidation. The other story was unexpectedly heavy and not at all what I was anticipating. This one the other hand was wonderful. It’s absolutely a high school drama with teenage angst and suffering. Given the topic the suffering is real and could have life changing consequences. The characters are like-able especially Chris. I spent my time rooting for him and his evolution and bravery. The end broke my heart but was completely true to life in high school. This isn’t a true romance in the classic hea given the age of the characters but you’re left with hope.