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Author: Craig Laurance Gidney
ISBN: 978-0984914647
Original Region: United States
Original Language: English
Publication Date: 2013
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At 14, Rafael “Rafe” Fannen has won a minority scholarship to Our Lady of the Woods, an all-male Catholic college preparatory school. Rafe lives with his mother, who used to be his best friend and now seems distant and a little off, talking about angels and dark energy, and dragging Rafe to church, where even the most devout parishioners whisper about her. Rafe withdraws into books and sometimes into his own fantasy world.

Things are rough at home, but even more difficult at school. Rafe becomes a target almost immediately—he’s one of the only students of color, along with his friends Rahul and Tomás. When the school is vandalized, Rafe becomes an immediate suspect.

But Rafe is already suspect—as gay. An incident after gym class pits him against Toby, the class golden boy. The school chaplain, Vicar Angus O’Connell, befriends Rafe after Toby starts a fight that lands both of them in the vice principal’s office. But the vicar’s attentions make Rafe uncomfortable. And yet..

Bereft is a haunting and deeply moving story of one teen’s struggle with racism, bullying, and homophobia.


“Gidney has crafted a beautifully assured and insightful debut novel detailing the heightened surreality and emotionalism of teenage life. This book is full of heartbreak, humor and, most importantly, a deep and humane sense of empathy.”

—William Johnson, editor of Lambda Literary Review and publisher of Mary Literary Quarterly

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