Review: Beau, Lee, the Bomb and Me by Mary McKinley

Title: Beau, Lee, the Bomb and Me

Author: Mary McKinley

Pages: 252 Pages

Publisher: Kensington Books

The Blurb

When Beau transferred to our school. I thought: “Good; fresh meat.” Because I knew he would be tormented the entire time he was at Baboon High. Like I am. All day. . .every day.

Growing up is a trip. . .

In high school, there are few worse crimes than being smart or fat. Lucky me, I’m both. But when Beau Gales blows in to town, it takes about two minutes for the jackasses at our Seattle school to figure out he’s gay, and that makes him an even bigger target. Have you ever heard the saying: ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’? There’s something to that.

When the bullying gets violent and Beau decides to run away to San Francisco to ask his Uncle Frankie for advice, we all go. Beau, me, Leonie (designated class slut), and a scruffy rescue dog called The Bomb—a tribe of misfits crammed into my mom’s minivan. Throw in a detour to the Twilight town of Forks, armed robbery, cool record shops, confessions, breakups and makeups, and you have the kind of journey that can change the way you look at the whole world—and yourself.

The Review

High school is hard. I know this as a) someone who attended high school and b) as someone who now works in a high school. It was difficult for me and someone who had a fairly typical upbringing but it must be even harder if you are an outsider, or the kids who is considered to be a bit easy or to be the new kid who happens to be gay. These three character types are present in Beau, Lee, the Bomb and Me, the sensational novel by Mary McKinley.

The story centres on Rusty (the Outsider), she is your classic overweight girl who just tries to get through high school. Her two best friends Lee (the Easy One) and Beau (the Gay One) are her support system. Without them she would be lost and lonely. When Beau is attacked in a heinous hate crime and decides to leave, Rusty decides to go with him and Lee tags along for the ride.

They head towards San Francisco because Beau believes life will be better for him there. Along the way they discover the delights of driving across America alongside discovering things about themselves.

Beau, Lee, the Bomb and Me is a classic coming of age story (which is one of my two favourite types of story and it is a classic road trip story (my other favourite kind). Combined, there was no way I was going to hate this novel. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I bloody loved it. I loved how McKinley created these characters that one the outside, to other people they seemed like a motley crew of misfits but actually it was just the narrow minded attitude of others that needed a reality check.

Beau, Lee, the Bomb and Me is a combination of great story telling, loveable characters and history lesson and I would and will recommend this book to anyone and everyone.

Beau, Lee, the Bomb and Me by Mary McKinley is available now.

For more information regarding Kensington Books (@KensingtonBooks) please visit

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