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Brian Pelletier
Disposable Teen
Rejected and alienated by those closest to him, a young gay teen embarks on a harrowing journey to find a place where he can truly belong and be accepted. The raw and unfiltered true story of Disposable Teen is a powerful coming of age tale that sheds light on the painful challenges and traumatic experiences that plague so many queer youth. Born into a shattered family, tormented by a zealous mother, this story delves deep into the author's tumultuous journey of seeking love and belonging. Desperate to find a place of belonging, he runs away to a world of endless sunsets and infinite opportunities. But beneath the facade of paradise, he is lured into a dark underworld filled with seductive vices that threaten to swallow him whole. As repeated heartbreak shatters his illusions, Brian faces a defining choice: succumb to the darkness or rise from the ashes of his former life. With bridges smoldering behind him and family ties strained to breaking point, can Brian unearth the strength to embrace his truth? Or will he remain adrift in a sea of uncertainty, forever chasing elusive acceptance? In this gripping and deeply personal memoir, the author delves into their journey of overcoming attachment trauma, navigating their queer identity, surviving sexual assault, and their experiences with drug use and sex work. With unflinching honesty, they shine a light on these difficult subjects and explore the complexities of healing and growth in the face of such challenges. This raw and emotional narrative will resonate with readers who have faced similar struggles and provide insight into the resilience of the human spirit.
Part coming-out memoir and part reckoning with the past, Pelletier (author of Monsters in the Closet) delivers an impassioned account of his difficult youth—rejection by his Jehovah's Witness mother for being gay, a brief stint as a runaway in Los Angeles, and his determination to forge an independent life in Boston, while still underage and living with a much older boyfriend. Pelletier's conflicted struggle for self-actualization drives him into the arms of dubious older men, one of whom rapes him after giving him acid. Through sheer determination and surprising late-in-the-game support from his previously uninvolved father, Pelletier finds solace in music and dance, overcomes his rocky start, and lands on his feet.

A trained psychotherapist, Pelletier describes with precision the alienation and confusion he experienced as he navigated the conflict between his desires and his family. He's also candid about what he wanted and didn't get—from his mother and stepfather (and their church), from social services, and from his early lovers—and how that lack affected his decisions. This informative transparency will prove valuable to teens grappling with their own sexual orientation and will be helpful to their families, who should especially note the importance of LGBTQ+ community spaces.

Pelletier openly describes his challenges with intimate relationships, a by-product of being raped and his early life rejection, writing that “it was both comforting and suffocating to belong to someone. Part of me felt a sense of pride in my fight for independence, but the other part questioned if it was all for nothing. Maybe true independence was just an illusion.” Throughout, his honesty and even-handed sense of perspective, ability to frankly discuss his mistakes, and knack for vividly capturing the seamier side of hook ups, sex work, and drugs without resorting to lurid details or shrill judgment make this a thoughtful, searching, and ultimately inspiring work.

Takeaway: Open, optimistic memoir of coming out and perseverance.

Comparable Titles: Garrard Conley's Boy Erased, Scott Terry's Cowboys, Armageddon, and The Truth.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A-