Books & More from the Teen Scene

Book reviews and other reflections from one of Oregon's young adult librarians

“The God Box” by Alex Sanchez November 7, 2011

Sanchez, Alex. The God Box. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007. 248 pp. ISBN: 1416908994


Paul is already struggling to resolve his growing passion for men with the anti-homosexual teachings of his church. When Manuel moves to town and enrolls in the local high school, Paul is confronted head-on with the idea of someone who is openly gay and a committed Christian.

(Original Animoto created by Sonja Somerville using photos from Microsoft Office.)

The God Box cover

Cover images courtesy of


Paul keeps a God Box on his desk. On the lid is the Serenity Prayer. Inside, he places his most fervent prayers, giving his problems over to the Lord.

“Please help me pass my math test tomorrow.”

“Give me strength for my cross-country race today.”

“Help my Abuelita as she goes into gallstone surgery. Don’t take her from me like you took my Mama.”

“Help my father’s sliced tendon heal. He needs to work and be strong so he won’t back to drinking.”

“Please find a job for my girlfriend’s father close to home. I don’t know what I’d do without her.”

But the prayer he has made most often – the prayer that God has never answered – begs God to take away his attraction to boys, to allow his real love for Angie to grow until it includes the kind of passion Paul feels when he kisses a boy in his dreams.

Enter Manuel, new to school in their senior year. He’s a devoted Christian. He’s a nice guy. And handsome. And openly, comfortably, joyfully gay.

Paul knows being gay is wrong. His church has taught him it is unnatural and a guarantee of an eternity in hell. Yet, he can’t stay away from Manuel. Through long talks about the same Bible verses that have always told Paul to run from his feelings, he become more and more confused about what may and may not fit inside “The God Box.”

Awards/Honors (source:

  • New York Public Library 2008 “Book for the Teen Age”

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