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0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Alex Sanchez Narrator: August Ross, Barrie Kreinik Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Frederick is the shy new boy in school, and Xio is the bubbly chica who lends him a pen on the first day of class. They become fast friends—but when Xio decides she wants to be more than friends, Frederick isn’t so sure. He loves hanging out with Xio and her crew, but he doesn’t like her in that way. Instead he finds himself thinking more and more about Victor, the captain of the soccer team. But does that mean Frederick is gay? He hopes not—he sees how everyone makes fun of Iggy, a boy all the other kids think is gay. Frederick has to deal with some tough choices: even though he is curious about Iggy, he has just started fitting in at his new school, and he doesn’t want to lose Xio, his best friend.

In So Hard to Say, Alex Sanchez, acclaimed author of the groundbreaking novels Rainbow High and Rainbow Boys, of which School Library Journal said, “It can open eyes and change lives,” helps younger readers look at self-discovery, come to terms with being gay, and accept people who are different from them.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Sanchez effectively differentiates Xio’s bubbly, garrulous narration and Frederick’s tentative and uncertain voice, and the clear depictions help make the characters the driving force of this novel…The emotional core of the story remains solid and authentic. The inclusion of Xio’s viewpoint means that readers identifying with Frederick encounter a model of survivable reaction from a friend, and they also get to see the kind of confusion and disappointment self-misrepresentation can cause in those whose lives they touch. Subplots such as...the atmosphere of the multi-ethnic, Latino-rich California community add dimension to the narrative. A lot of kids question their identity before the traditional YA bracket, and this accessible read will give them reassurance and food for thought. Recommended.”

    Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

  • “In So Hard to Say [Alex Sanchez] expertly captures Frederick and Xio’s thoughts, emotions, and language and conveys them with such perfect pitch that you feel like you’re right there with these two young people as they talk to you about their innermost feelings and thoughts.”

    Eric Marcus, author of Is It a Choice?

  • So Hard to Say is funny and clever and heartbreaking and, ultimately, healing.”

    Jacqueline Woodson, author of Locomotion

  • “Bravo to Alex Sanchez for this tightly crafted and heartfelt novel. Its readers will recognize in its sympathetic characters the boy who sits next to them in class, the girl who lives down the street, and, just possibly, themselves.”

    James Howe, author of The Misfits

  • “Insightful…Readers will find it easy to empathize with both protagonists as Frederick gradually comes to terms with being gay—and shares his secret with Xio…For the most part this is a well-crafted novel. The author maps out spot-on issues for this age group, from name-calling to self-questioning to worrying about what others think. These believable narrators face realistic and complicated problems—and demonstrate an inspiring model of acceptance.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Adventurous, multifaceted, funny, and unpredictably insightful, Sanchez’s novel drops melodramatic pretense and gels well-rounded characterizations with the universal excitement of first love.”

    School Library Journal

  • “This novel is a well-structured, beautifully rendered story of two wonderful young people. Readers will come to love them. Sanchez creates a nice story about genuine teens who do not let each other or themselves down.”


  • “In alternate chapters by Frederick and Xio, the novel’s plot unfolds easily and realistically, as both characters arrive at their revelations independently.”

    Children’s Literature

  • “Most young adolescents routinely agonize over questions like ‘Who am I?’ and ‘What am I?’ Sometimes, as Sanchez dramatizes in this story of emotional exploration, the answers are difficult to discover…By alternating between Xio’s and Frederick’s first-person point of view, Sanchez does a good job of exploring both the evolution of their tangled emotions and the nature of friendship…Sanchez understands the inner lives of kids, and, in writing one of the few middle-grade novels on this aspect of sexual identity, he does a service for questioning youth.”


  • “Sanchez, whose first two titles were for YA, writes for a younger audience quite convincingly. Xio and Frederick alternate chapters to tell their story and their voices are distinct and believable. As with his previous efforts, the prose style is serviceable and coincidence helps tie things up neatly, but many young teens, gay and straight, will see themselves and their friends in these characters. “

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Winner of the Lambda Literary Award
  • A VOYA Selection: Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers
  • Finalist for the Rhode Island Teen Book Award
  • A 2005 New York Public Library Book for Teens
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About the Author

Alex Sanchez spent almost fifteen years working with youth. He is the author of the teen novels Boyfriends with Girlfriends, Bait, The God Box, Getting It, Rainbow Boys, Rainbow High, and Rainbow Road, as well as the Lambda Award–winning middle-grade novel So Hard to Say. Lambda Literary Foundation honored Alex with an Outstanding Mid-Career Novelists’ Prize. He lives in Thailand and Hollywood, Florida.