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Each ride on the bucking bull is a lesson in pain Each landing on the packed dirt is a jarring reminder of reality Rodeo camp is a tough way to spend a summer, but John is having the time of his life No clingy girlfriends, no nagging moms, no annoying sisters Just him and the guys and the biggest bulls he s ever seen All he has to do is stay on a bull for eight seconds It may feel like an eternity to his aching body, but for once John feels in control of his own fate Then he learns his new rodeo buddy Kit is gay Shaken by the news, he tries to deal with the other guys reactions and his own self doubtsSuddenly, riding a bull seems easy A realistic look at lifeno sugar coating or expected results It was almost a new concept that people reap the benefits of their actions Very often in young adult literature that is not the case During the summer before his senior year, John who lives on a Texas ranch goes to a rodeo school and learns to become a bull rider There he meets Kit a 19 year old college student who happens to be a politically active Gay guy, unknown to John and his friends John and Kit click in a friendship in a way John has never experienced before This all sets John into an intense personal re examination and self discovery This conflict drives the novel which becomes evenintense when John and his During the summer before his senior year, John who lives on a Texas ranch goes to a rodeo school and learns to become a bull rider There he meets Kit a 19 year old college student who happens to be a politically active Gay guy, unknown to John and his friends John and Kit click in a friendship in a way John has never experienced before This all sets John into an intense personal re examination and self discovery This conflict drives the novel which becomes evenintense when John and his friends learn Kit is Gay John can t deal and explodes, damaging friendships What I find special about this book is that it seems so real and not idealized There is an open ending which allows readers to put themselves into the interpretation of the story and its continuance I quite identified with John through events in my own life While it is promoted as a YA novel, it is muchI think It had meaning and remembrances for me 5 decades after my own coming of age Highly recommended for YA s and adults of any age A solid 8 of 10 stars, I wanted to give this book 4 stars originally just because it didn t have the ending I wanted, but in the end I couldn t justify that I loved this book It may not have had the happy ending I love, but it was so realistic because of that Both Kit and John were excellent characters and I was able to connect with both Some of the things Kit said made me stop to think, and I really felt for what John was going through on his journey to discover himself Really a great read. John thinks that when he had open heart surgery as a child, maybe the doctors forget to replace an essential piece, because he doesn t want to marry Kelsey, his girlfriend who is pushing for an after graduation commitment Eager to escape, John is thrilled when his dad signs him up for rodeo camp, where he discovers an odd and deep kinship with Kit.Upon his return home, John is stunned to learn that the confident and poised young man is openly gay at his college John is forced to make fast and John thinks that when he had open heart surgery as a child, maybe the doctors forget to replace an essential piece, because he doesn t want to marry Kelsey, his girlfriend who is pushing for an after graduation commitment Eager to escape, John is thrilled when his dad signs him up for rodeo camp, where he discovers an odd and deep kinship with Kit.Upon his return home, John is stunned to learn that the confident and poised young man is openly gay at his college John is forced to make fast and tough choices about his views on homosexuality as the news spreads The local bully, Russ, begins tormenting Kit at local rodeos and then finds John guilty by association In a startling climax, John blames Kit for his confusion and scapegoathood and attacks him, pushed over the edge by Russ s comments.It takes a little too long for the protagonist to realize what the reader already suspects that John too may be gay His inner turmoil is only beginning when the book ends To give her credit, Ferris doesn t take the easy way out, and the ending is not what most readers will be rooting for, but it is a fitting one that will hopefully tug at heartstrings and increase awareness and tolerance.The book is a step in the right direction for teaching tolerance and breaking down stereotypes The cover art is a bit juvenile The cowboy on the cover looks like a scrawny kid in a too big hat, and may be a turnoff to teens, and they will miss out on a wonderful story about the things you can t control and the things you can Eight Seconds is definitely another contender for best books for young adults from Ferris, and the subject matter itself demands purchase libraries with small budget may want to wait for the paperback in the hopes of aattractive cover