From the moment you meet the main character, Sanchez has you feeling protective of him. He's the new kid in school. He's smaller than everyone else. Even the culture in the region of the country he now lives in is unfamiliar to him. He needs the reader to be on his side, ready to care for him, no matter what.
And I did care about this character, even though I thought some of the characteristics were stereotypical. Both the gay teens were neat freaks, well organized, and liked boy bands. (Alex, you should have seen my room growing up. Hell, you should see my house now. Does that mean I'm not gay?)
Of the two books I've read by Sanchez, I liked The God Box
better because of the debate on homosexuality and the Christian faith. However, the thing I liked better about this book is that the OTHER boy didn't play a guiding role in the main character's coming to terms with his sexuality. It was something he had to figure out on his own. It was then that he went to talk with the other gay boy.
I like the how easily Sanchez's books read, and I like the injection of Latino culture, but I would like to see more complex characters like in The Year of Ice