The Arizona Kid

Front Cover
Candlewick Press, 2005 - Juvenile Fiction - 283 pages
2 Reviews
A trip out West to work at a racetrack — and a sojourn with a sophisticated gay uncle — bring unexpected discoveries in this quick-witted coming-of-age novel by the author of STONER & SPAZ and MARGAUX WITH AN X.

I was in the West. The Old West. The Wild West! A whole summer in a new place: a place away from my parents, a place so hot the girls probably wore bikinis to church, a place where I'd take a giant step toward my dream: becoming a vet. A place where — who knows? — anything might happen.

From the moment sixteen-year-old Billy steps off the train in Tucson, he knows this will be a summer unlike any he's seen in small-town Bradleyville, Missouri. For starters, he's staying with his cool gay uncle, who has managed to get him a job at the racetrack caring for horses. Still, Billy doesn't expect the horseracing world to be quite as rough and tumble as this — toiling side by side with a macho survivalist and falling hard for the feisty, romance-shy "exercise girl" Cara Mae. With his trademark fast-paced dialogue filled with wit and compassion, Ron Koertge tells the tale of an insecure teen who discovers that gaining stature involves more than Stetsons and boots — and that lessons on love and manhood come from the places you least expect.

What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

This is a book about a 16 year old who moves to Arizona to live with his uncle, who happens to be gay. The primary character, Billy, is actually straight, and this book is about his relationships with a girl, and with his uncle. Billy's father has always been accepting of his uncle, and understanding of everything he has gone through and continues to go through. The uncle is a supporting character, but one of great inner strength and compassion, and the most memorable character from the book. This would be a great book to use in a classroom to discuss relationships, life choices and changes, and homosexuality. 

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

This book is fantastic, It explains everything about teenage hormones and becoming a man. I recommend this book to anyone that that is ready to experience pure humor and learning about becoming a man.

Selected pages


Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 9
Section 10
Section 11
Section 12
Section 13
Section 14
Section 15

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2005)

Ron Koertge is the author of many prizewinning novels for teens, including STONER & SPAZ, winner of the PEN Literary Award. He says, "THE ARIZONA KID is one of my favorite novels. It combines Tucson and horseracing, and also serves as a memorial to a friend who passed away." Ron Koertge teaches in the MFA in Writing for Children Program at Vermont College.

Bibliographic information