Right now I'm working on my first bona fide YA story. (The Zero Knot was, I guess, more NA, because it did contain explicit sex scenes.) Titled Ben Raphael's All-star Virgins, it features 16-year-old protagonists. There's a Big Sad in it too.
So here's the blurb I promised.
Bad enough Elijah Colter’s life of comfort and privilege comes to an abrupt end when he’s 17 and his family discovers he’s gay. Bad enough he must live out of his car in a bar’s parking lot and turn tricks for money. But when his perfect boyfriend, Alonzo, is taken down in a drive-by shooting, Elijah plummets into suicidal depression. The concepts of trust and hope become more alien to him than ever.
All that keeps Elijah going is a promise he made on that bleak Chicago sidewalk: that he would look after Alonzo’s stepdad, a sixtyish black man named Dizzy who’s on the verge of losing his house.
Diz joins Elijah in Milwaukee, where they become companions in homelessness—until Elijah discovers a program for throwaway LGBT youth. Through Footbridge, the now-20-year-old gets his own apartment… then loses it after a year when he can't cover his living expenses. Elijah has kept his promise, though, and until he can get back on his feet, he’s resigned to joining Dizzy in the abandoned factory the older man calls home.
One September day, a pair of new presences in Elijah’s life promise to shape his future: Alonzo’s ghost and an outreach volunteer named Michael Hanlan. As the boundaries between reality and illusion, truth and deception begin to blur, the bright but naïve Elijah must decide which of his dreams to pursue and which to cast aside. And just how much he can dare to believe in himself again.