In 2011, a novel concept came to mind: a Christian middle-school student who harbored an attraction to the same gender. Facets of his struggle tugged at my heart: his fears, his faith, his feelings of guilt, the hits to his self-esteem. At that point, though, I wouldn’t have had the courage to write a book about him. So I shelved the idea.
Fast-forward one year. During book work one night, a television news story caught my attention. It revolved around the plight of a high school student, about 15 years old, who was on the verge of suicide. He was gay and had paid for it as the target of endless bullying.
He’d reached his breaking point and posted a…
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