Bookstore Explorer: West Virginia

A work in progress! Details to come.

Welcome to Straightville

Matthew Aaron Browning Straightville

Young Adult Fiction

Welcome to Straightville, Gay Population 1. At least that’s how sixteen-year-old Devon Bennett feels. As far as he knows, he’s the only gay person in the entire Appalachian coal town of Tateville, West Virginia. In a place full of confederate flags, four wheelers, deer hunters, and churches on every corner, he’s terrified to admit – even to himself – that he likes guys. Lucky for Devon, no one has figured out his secret yet, except perhaps Eric Hale, his school bus nemesis with a certain fondness for that awful F word – you know, the one that rhymes with maggot? But suppressing his feelings becomes nearly impossible for Devon when a gorgeous and mysterious new kid named Alexander Pratt steps onto the bus one morning, sending Devon hurdling down the path to self-acceptance whether he’s ready or not. Before long, Devon is falling in love with a boy and determined to find more people just like himself in a town where the word gay is an insult and redneck is a term of endearment.  Aided by his nosy best friend and an eccentric teacher, Devon sets out to grab headlines in the school paper by exposing gay life in Tateville Straightville.


Young Adult Fiction

Camden Flowers has it all. He’s rich, good looking, popular, has a hot boyfriend, and is the best athlete on his high school’s track team. But when a failing grade in algebra threatens to sideline him right before the state championship meet, Camden scrambles to find someone – anyone – who can help him pass his final. Enter Art Mork, or as he’s known around school, Art Dork, who just might hold the key to Camden’s success. Convinced that shy, awkward Art is secretly in love with his best friend, Angela, Camden hatches a mutually beneficial plan: he’ll transform Art from geek to chic in exchange for help with his exam. Art agrees, but is it Angela’s heart he’s really hoping to win once his makeover is complete?

Blades of Grass

Matthew Aaron Browning Stones ion Lawn

Young Adult Fiction

The last way seventeen-year-old Taylor Ferguson wants to spend his vacation is mowing lawns and rotting away in a summer school English class. That is until those very things unite him with his attractive, and much older, new neighbor, Ben. Thirty-something Ben, meanwhile, has his own problems, including a broken heart and a dead-end reporter job that puts him face-to-face with his ex-boyfriend every day. When a shared love of writing brings Taylor and Ben closer together, an affinity for the page soon becomes an affinity for each other. Can they keep their budding attraction in check before a secret affair brings scandal to the well-manicured lawns of their suburban wasteland?

Told in dual point of view, Blades of Grass is the story of an age-gap relationship that could be mowed down before its seeds even take root.

Chicks and the City

Children’s Book

In this children’s book story about urban agriculture, Chicken Stu isn’t a typical barnyard bird. From the top of the silo, he stares at the city in the distance, dreaming of lattes, museums, and penthouse suites. But the other animals warn him the city is no place for agriculture. A chicken’s home, they say, is on the farm. When Stu accidentally finds himself on a truck headed toward the bright lights and tall buildings, he decides to prove just how citified farming can be.

OneWay sign_lgnameOne Way In

“A great story, sensitively told.” – Brent Hartinger, author of Geography Club

“An entertaining, informative story.” – Rainbow Book Reviews

Teenager Alexander Pratt’s first trip to a gay bar leads to a night of new experiences and big decisions that impact his life in ways he can’t even imagine. 

A prequel to Welcome to StraightvilleOne Way In is part of Brent Hartinger’s Real Story Safe Sex Project, a not-for-profit venture designed to shed light on safe sex choices among gay and bi men and young adults, while also shedding light on the sex behind those choices. This story takes place in the months and days before Alexander moves to Tateville and Welcome to Straightville begins. To honor the scope and vision of the Real Story Safe Sex Project, it does feature sexual situations not appropriate for all readers.

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