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A Gandy Girl

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End of the Innocence

End of the Innocence - John  Goode

Final Q&A with Haley:

Well, unfortunately our schedule did not allow us to complete this read in as timely a manner as we would have hoped. But after a review of our updates we offer the following Q&A.  Similar to Tales of Foster High, I have compiled the following list of questions (this time with the assistance of Paul Monroe) and left Haley to respond to these in her own words.  These are unedited responses. *Please note…some of these questions and responses are spoilerish…beware!*

For those of you new to The Haley Experiment...Haley is my 14 year old daughter. We are making our way through this unbelievable series together. 

Question 1: While this ends with quite a difficult outcome, I was surprised by how much humor there was in this book.  What were some of your favorite scenes and why?

Response: One of my favorite scenes with a lot of humor was when we first meet Robbie. I mean I was dying in the car laughing. He’s hilarious. I also loved when Brad joined the D & D group. That was so nerdy, funny, and cute.


Question 2: We were introduced to some new characters and got more on some characters that previously we did not know as well.  Who was your favorite character aside from Brad and Kyle and why?

Response: It was probably Jennifer. She was so nice and understanding. I loved how they started a new friend group and she was always there to help.


Question 3: If you were in Jennifer’s shoes, could you forgive Brad for lying to you all this time and even try to become friends with him?

Response: I think I would. There are different circumstances where I would be mad at the guy. Like, for example, if the guy cheated on another girl, I definitely wouldn’t be okay about that. This is something totally different. I imagine it is really hard for Brad to “come out” while in the most popular group, so I would definitely forgive him.


Question 4: Were you surprised about all the different rules in the bible and how people like to misinterpret / only use the passages to their advantage?

Response: I was very surprised, but some people interpret some of these religious things different than other people. I don’t think it’s okay, but people have different opinions. I wish we all thought of it the same way, but that’s just not how it works.


Question 5:  What are your thoughts on Jeremy?

Response: UGH!!! He makes me mad. I know that Kelly was mean to Jeremy, but that doesn’t mean you should post something like that. It’s just not right. Big X on Jeremy!


Question 6: Have you observed bullying towards a fellow gay or straight student before?  How would you react to such hatred?

Response: I have never experienced it in real life, but I have experienced it on Glee (THE BEST SHOW EVA!!!). I would definitely try to do something about it because it’s not okay.


Question 7: Did you ever think Kelly might kill himself reading the book? What was your reaction?

Response: I definitely thought once it was out that he was gay he may try to commit suicide, but after Kyle and him became friends I thought he would have changed his mind. I was very shocked and sad because he had people there who were trying to help.


Question 8: Did reading the Foster High Series so far change your POV on gay teenagers/people?

Response: It did. I realized that it’s really hard for gay teenagers to come out. I have theater friends who I think are gay, but they don’t say it. I realized that it’s probably really hard to state that fact to friends.


Question 9: Have you recommended this book to any of your friends (gay or straight)?

Response: I haven’t actually. I feel like it would be a great book for some of my friends though (gay and straight.)


Question 10: What was your favorite scene between Kyle and Brad?

Response: Definitely when they were thinking about having sex but they just talked. I thought that was an amazing interaction between the both of them.


And finally…the Author’s Note…any final thoughts for John?

Response: I was very surprised that John considered suicide but thought the entire note was so great.  Love for John’s personal God…Thor. J


Great, great book! I love you John!!!

Refer to our updates below for our journey through this amazing book.


My original review, from August 2014:

This book continues on the emotional and heartfelt journey of Brad and Kyle. These boys are just altogether wonderful and not only beautiful on the outside but equally so on the inside. And John Goode's visual images could not be more perfect.



While the beauty of their love is an important aspect of the book, I completely loved the relationships they shared with several other characters. Jennifer, in particular, absolutely shined for me in this.

“But I can see when he smiles at you how much he loves you. The first time I saw it, I sat there and thought to myself, ‘Oh, that’s real emotion. Why didn’t I see that before?’ It was like seeing a whole other person.”

She became such an accepting force based on the love she saw expressed between these two people. How could anyone be denied such love??

Gayle was an absolute rock star!!

"This diner is a place couples have come and eaten since before most of you were born. I have never once stopped a couple from stealing a kiss now and then, and I am not going to start now."

This book is painstakingly accurate to the point that honestly this could be a work of non-fiction. While there may be no actual Brad and Kyle in this small town in Texas, there are still Brads and Kyles all over this world experiencing similar issues. JG has brought forth situations and instances of cruelty and hatred that have happened and continue to happen. “Straight Camps” exist and even The Texas Republican Party (like other places in this world) have endorsed so called “reparative therapy” for gays…supporting psychological treatments that seek to turn gay people straight. What??? This is so wrong on so many levels. Sending your child off to cure them instead of loving and accepting them as the beautiful person God made them to be, is just so hard for me to understand. How cruelty and hatred mixed with quoting scripture can even be put in the same context, when Jesus himself was a loving compassionate person to all…he died for all of us. While there are still many areas in this country (and in this world) who will continue to see homosexuality as a plague and a sin, I have to believe that we are making great strides towards acceptance. There however will always be that person, that place or that belief that homosexuality is wrong. Hell, there are places in the south where the KKK still exists and yet we have a black president. No one could have imagined that to happen even 20 years ago, and yet it has happened. Baby steps. I just hope and pray that love will prevail and that kids get the support they need to live life free to love who they choose and find their own super hero/personal God to get them through another day. The future is brighter.

I will close with one of my favorite passages...

"My sorrow was now mixed with absolute and complete awe of the guy in front of me. There was Wayne's World "I am not worthy" and then there was actual truth that the person you are with is so out of your league, that every day with them is a fucking gift from God."

Reading Updates:

The Haley Experiment – Book 2/Post 1

We were finally able to begin…between school closing, others being in the car and studying…things got delayed more than we would have liked. So far so good…just a few highlights on two new characters Haley totally loved!

“You’re staring,” she said out of the corner of her mouth, still looking ahead at the blackboard. “How did you know?” I asked her in a whisper. A small smile. “You dye your hair bright blue, you start to get a sense for it.”
I looked down at my book. “Sorry, it’s just a very cool look.”
She looked over at me, and I could see her searching my face for signs of my mocking her.
I looked back at her to show I meant every word I had said. “Thanks,” she said after a few seconds of silence. “I’ve lived in Foster for seventeen years, and no one has ever said my hair looked cool.”
“Well, then the people around here are idiots,” I said firmly.
She shook her head and went back to looking at the board. I had the feeling I had just made a friend.


“You fucked them up with that little speech at the school board. If you don’t move now, by the time we come back from the break, no one will remember what you said and did. And you and Kyle go back to being second-class citizens.” Now she leaned across the desk toward me. “You want to change this town? Show up with Kyle on your arm and force them to accept it. And if you go, I promise you, you’ll have at least one person standing there with you.”
I was stunned.
“I… I did not deserve to be with you,” I stuttered as I tried to get my mind back into gear. “No,” she said, smiling. “That we can agree on.”


To be continued…

The Haley Experiment – Book 2/Post 2

Continuing with the fabulous Jennifer…

“Hi,” I said quietly. “Nice to meet you again.”
She held out her hand. “History whore, right?”
Oh my God, I am going to die.
I must have blushed, because she chuckled and shook her head. “I’m sorry. I just thought that was the funniest thing I’d ever heard. You’re Brad’s history whore, and I am Jennifer, formerly known as the beard.” Her smile was insane, and I found myself returning it automatically. “Pleased to finally meet you.”


“My problems with Brad had more to do with him lying than with his actual sexuality.” For the first time, Jennifer looked at me. “I have zero problems with you guys being gay, seriously. I think it takes a huge amount of courage to do what you did.”

“What did I miss?” Brad asked, setting the tray down.
Jennifer chortled as she opened her Pepsi. “Well, we learned that your boyfriend has a bigger package soft than Josh Walker does hard.”
Brad gave me a double take and then gaped back at her. “I was gone for like a minute. How did the topic of his junk come up?”

“And you think showing up to this stupid party will change minds?” I tried to match her tone, but it was hard because I was still kinda pissed.
“I think showing up proves you aren’t afraid of them.”
“And if they do try to kick our asses?”
“Then they have to kick my ass too.”
And damned if I didn’t believe her. “You’re serious?” I asked after a few seconds.
“Completely,” she shot back instantly. No hesitation, no thinking about it.
If we’d been playing poker, she would have just called my bluff.
“Fine, we’ll go,” I said with all the force I could muster.
“Good.” She nodded and smiled and held her hand out to me. I took it like we were making a business deal. “This is going to be fun.”
“Do I get a say?” Brad asked in a small voice.
“No,” we both said, looking at him and then laughing out loud.

Haley: I love her!

“But I can see when he smiles at you how much he loves you. The first time I saw it, I sat there and thought to myself, ‘Oh, that’s real emotion. Why didn’t I see that before?’ It was like seeing a whole other person.”

To be continued…

The Haley Experiment – Book 2/Post 3

Well…I believe squeals were heard around the globe as Haley was introduced to Robbie. From his first spoken words on page Haley was all smiles…

“Girl! You did not cut that hair!”


“Fuck off, Mean Girls Barbie.” He moved over to me with a hand extended. “I’m Robbie; pleased to meet you, Kyle.”
I shook it and mumbled a “Hi” under my breath.
“Oh, and he blushes!” he exclaimed, laughing.


As he buttoned the vest, he said in a quiet voice, “Look, you’re family, right?”
I just stared at him, dumbfounded.
“You’re gay, right?” he clarified. I nodded, my stomach cramping up I was so stressed. “And you’re from Foster, right?” Another nod. “Okay, then let me give you some advice. What I have been doing is called being nice. It can also be interpreted as flirting by some people. Flirting is, to most people, a compliment. Complimenting you makes me social and a pleasant guy to be around.” He buttoned the top button of the vest and then smoothed the front down. “What it doesn’t make me is some lecherous child molester who breaks into dressing rooms to cop a feel from a high school kid. I’d expect that from some of these hicks, but from a fellow Mo, it’s insulting.”
I felt like I was going to throw up. “So next time, take the compliment or tell me to fuck off. But don’t act like I have a windowless van out back with your name on it, okay?” He smiled at me, but I could tell he was pissed.
“I’m sorry,” I said quietly. “I know you are, and it’s adorable on you,” he replied, turning me around to face the mirror. “Now look Cinderella, you’re ready for the ball.”

Haley: Oh my god…I love him!!!

Me: Let me say that picturing this man has been the most difficult thing for me. We searched hundreds of pictures and while Haley has only seen glimpses thus far of the mystery of Robbie, she has not yet seen the many faces of this amazing character. His character for me is the most dynamic and intriguing of any of the characters in the Foster High story.
So finding an actor (as it turns out) that we both thought could pull off the many sides of Robbie while still having the image of how we see him in our head was difficult. I think this man comes closest…

Our Robbie…

To be continued…

The Haley Experiment – Book 2/Post 4

“You hate it, right?”
“I hate the clothes so much I want to rip them off your body,” I said, rushing toward him. “You look hot!”

Me (now): Haley really emphasized the word “hot” here. Should I be worried? :)


“And what can I start you two lovebirds out with?”

Me: Well…our introduction to the magnificent Gayle. She too is a hard one to get my arms around. But this waitress from a classic movie comes damn closest for us.

“This diner is a place couples have come and eaten since before most of you were born. In fact, looking at a few of you, I can tell you with some certainty if it wasn’t for this diner, you all wouldn’t be here to bitch. I have never once stopped a couple from stealing a kiss now and then, and I am not going to start now. So if you are like this idiot and have a small mind when it comes to what makes a couple, then start eating somewhere else.”



A little over an hour later, I heard the front door open and my mom talking to someone. I ignored it since her friends came over any time they felt like it. But as I listened, the voices got closer and closer to my room until the door came swinging open.
Robbie stood there in the door frame like a vampire waiting for permission to enter my room.

Haley: *grinning* “Yes!! Gawh, I love him.”


“Do you know Mr. Parker?” I asked, and his expression immediately went sour.
“Pick another question. I am not answering that one.” It was the first time I heard real anger in his voice.

Haley: “Oh, yikes…what’s that about?”

To be continued…

The Haley Experiment – Book 2/Post 5

“Look, dude, if you don’t start telling me what happened to Kyle, I will find a way to kick your ass. No joke.”
The girl was five-foot-nothing and maybe a buck-oh-five soaking wet, and still I believed she would find a way to hurt me. Luckily we didn’t need to find out because Jennifer walked up. “What’s going on?” she asked, concerned.
“Something happened with Kyle and this jackass won’t tell me if he’s okay,” Sammy replied, never taking her attention off me.
“Why didn’t you just tell her?” Jennifer snapped as she smacked me in the chest.
“What’d I do?” I sputtered.
“Come on,” Jennifer said, taking Sammy’s arm. “Let’s grab some food, and I’ll fill you in.” Both of them shot me a dirty look as they walked off.

Haley: Oh my god…I love them.


She looked over at Sammy. “Told you.” Then to me she added, “You are so his bitch.”



One second he was in front of me, the next he was gone. I looked around like an idiot before I realized he was on the ground with someone on top of him. It took me another second to realize that the someone was Kelly.