From Publishers Weekly
Teens in a psych ward populate a novel that overcomes a predictable beginning to make a powerful emotional impact. Regaining consciousness after an aborted suicide attempt, the 15-year-old narrator thinks his parents have "overreacted" by placing him in a 45-day program in the "nuthouse" ("you know, where they keep the people who have sixteen imaginary friends living in their heads"). Readers might need patience as Jeff, the protagonist, goes through a period of denial, delivering sarcastic answers to his shrink, Dr. Katzrupus (Jeff refers to him as "Cat Poop") and holding himself aloof from the four other patients. But as Jeff begins to form relationships with these teens, Ford's (Alec Baldwin Doesn't Love Me) own strengths emerge: his characterizations run deep, and without too much contrivance the teens' interactions slowly dislodge clues about what triggered Jeff's suicide attempt. That Jeff's recovery depends on realizing and accepting that he's gay isn't explicit until the novel is almost over, that this novel goes beyond gay issues to address broader questions of identity is clear all along.
After Jeff, 15, wakes up in a psychiatric ward, he won’t talk about why he slit his wrists. He lies to the therapist (whom he names “Cat Poop”) and refuses to relate to the other teens in group therapy. He feels that he is not nutty like them, his parents are fine, nothing is bothering him, and he is “normal”; he just had one bad day. The therapy talk sometimes gets to be too much, but there is rising tension in Jeff's fast, irreverent, frank, first-person narrative: what is he holding back? He bonds with another patient, Sadie, and tells her about his best friend, Allie, and about Allie’s cute boyfriend. When Jeff sees a jock masturbating in the shower, he feels attraction that is returned, and the two teens have sex. Long before Jeff confronts the truth, readers will realize that he is gay, and his denial is part of the humor and sadness many readers will recognize.