Late one night, Alex is about to pull out of a gas station parking lot when he sees shadowy figures across the lot. As he leaves, his car headlights show that the couple in the shadows are a young woman and Mr. Caruthers, the father of his good friend Emma. Mr. Caruthers is a leader in the Catholic Church where Alex goes to mass. Alex has been questioning his faith and seeing Mr. Caruthers’s hypocrisy is the final thing that makes him decide not to go to church anymore.
But Alex has met a great girl named Laura who is interested in the church. His parents, especially his father, are upset that he doesn’t want to attend church services. Even Alex’s brother Mark doesn’t seem to doubt his faith. Still, Alex can hear him sobbing during his prayers every night. Why?
Well, I don’t think it’s giving away too much—because you guess from the title—that Mark is trying to work through his sexuality. The mix of faith, religious hypocrisy about infidelity (cheating on one’s husband or wife), religious discomfort with homosexuality, and violence against gays is the story of Out.
High school housekeeping: Out is part of the SideStreets series for teens working on their reading skills. In a short space it deals well with some serious issues. The Lexile level for Out is 690, so the reading level is the fifth to sixth grade. I recommend the book for teens reading at that level.