Time Out / Sean Hayes, Todd Milliner, & Carlyn Greenwald / Book Review

Barclay Elliot has everything going for him. Basketball hero, captain of the team, a championship season in front of him: in his small Alabama town, Barclay is a hero. But he hasn't been honest. He hasn't shared all of his truth, and he's tired of hiding himself away. That's why he decides to come out at the opening pep rally. It's what his grandfather, former basketball star and star basketball coach, would have wanted. Barclay just wants to be free to live his life out in the open finally.

But Barclay might have overestimated just how far stardom would take him. Because everything changes with that pep rally. Former fans won't look at him. Friends can't seem to make time for him. And his teammates, the guys he relies on, aren't so much cold as hostile. When they run Barclay off the team, everyone wants to blame him for the losing streak that comes next. 

Only his friend Amy remains on his side, but Amy has bigger fish to fry. Homophobia isn't the only major issue in this small town, and Amy knows that change doesn't start on a national level. Now that Barclay no longer has basketball practice on his plate, he finds himself roped into her local voting initiative. After everything he's gone through... Somehow, this feels right. This feels like things could change. 


I didn't come into this one expecting much, and I was pleasantly surprised. This book is everything is claims to be, a struggle for identity and acceptance with a fair bit of (very welcome) self-confidence. Plus, any YA book that's light on the romance side of things is a breath of fresh air, so it has that going for it, too. 


  • Self-Confidence: The first thing I loved in this book was Barclay's pure confidence. Often, in books about coming out of the closet, there's an immediate sense of unease, dread, and trepidation -- for good reason, of course. We don't get that here. Barclay's intentions are noble (and perhaps a little too hopeful). He wants to pave a path for other kids like him. He's nervous to make the declaration, but those nerves are trumped by his eagerness to have it all out there. And I appreciate that starting point because it is different. It is refreshing, even if things don't pan out the way Barclay wants. 
  • Small Town Change: I also love the really unexpected passion this book has for local voting. I've always been an advocate for voting local. Change starts close to home. Change at a local level is very real, very achievable, and it really does pave the way for bigger, more national changes. I love that this book focuses on what we can do, and I especially love that its set in Georgia. Because if any state has shown us that local populations can be heard, it is Georgia, right? 
  • Hard Conversations: This book doesn't shy away from hard conversations, especially conversations that need to be had. Barclay is so, so confident in coming out. He doesn't see that even the people closest to him might be wary about this declaration. He doesn't see that this part of himself won't be as important to others as to himself. His mom, his sister, his former friends... They all have choice words, even if they're still "on his side." This book is about all the aggressions someone who doesn't fit the mold can feel, both big and small, and that's important representation--especially when those aggressions come from trusted sources close to home. 


  • Teammate Troubles: You know what most of Barclay's teammates were to me? A jumble of names. Of course, there were a few that stuck out -- you know, the ones that actually influenced the plot. The rest, especially early on, made absolutely no impression to me. Which is kind of a problem when Barclay says "even so-and-so won't look at me." Because XYZ person means nothing to me. So many names and so little personal connection!
  • Bland: The story is important. The message is great! The writing is bland. There's nothing to get excited about here, which is kind of disappointing with so many names on this cover. With the writing so simple, the emotion doesn't always shine through, making is hard to get excited about and for the characters and their development. 
  • Self-Sabotage: While Barclay's emotional lashing-out comes at varying levels of understandable, it was still highly annoying! Especially when it comes to his best friend Zack, Barclay is more likely to jump at his throat than hear him out. Zack makes some mistakes, but none that warrant what he gets from Barclay. This interpersonal self-sabotage felt more like it was serving the plot and less like it was related to the characters.



Fans of Alyson Derrick's Forget Me Not will enjoy this new snapshot of coming out in rural America. Those who enjoyed Kevin Christopher Snipes's Milo and Marcos at the End of the World will like this new quasi-clandestine couple. 


Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Date: May 30, 2023
Series: N/A
Add to Goodreads

Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.


  1. I haven’t heard of this before, you have shared a well written review! Thank you for sharing your review.

    Lauren - bournemouthgirl

  2. It sounds like the book had some great messaging! Too bad the writing was disappointing. Wonderful review!

  3. Wonderful review! It's always great when a book has a strong message, but it's a shame it didn't come through as much with the simple writing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. It's always amazing when a book is pleasantly surprising!

    Corinne x

  5. I haven't heard of this book before, but it does sound interesting especially with the great message behind it. However, it is a shame that the writing is bland even though there were 3 authors!

  6. I haven't heard of this book before, but it does sound interesting especially with the great message. However, it is a shame that the writing is bland even though there were 3 authors!


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