THE PIZZA CHRONICLES is a YA series that follows the main character, RV, through his high school years at demanding Boston Latin School, as he tries to answer his many questions about life, God, prayer, sexuality, being the son of immigrants, and staying loyal to his heritage while carving out his own life and tentative tries at relationships. www.thepizzachronicles.com
As RV enters sophomore year, his friendships and relationships create more questions than answers. RV still cares for Bobby, but Bobby seems a different, more distant person. RV’s best friend Carole is distracted by the ups and downs in her relationships with her French boyfriends, while RV’s new friend Mark is more focused on his family’s troubles. School is a mixed bag. RV enjoys the Spanish club he has joined, which is run by his beautiful Spanish teacher, Señorita Sanchez. But he struggles with other subjects and annoying teachers and always has to watch out for the school bullies who seem to know how to stay under the detention radar.
As always, RV’s former teacher and mentor, Mr. Aniso, is there for advice, especially when near-tragedy strikes and RV needs Mr. Aniso’s counsel to stay strong and provide help where it’s needed most.
Bobby’s teammates ordered slices and sat down at a nearby booth. “C’mon, join us,” said Bobby.
I hesitated for a second, and then shook my head. “Ah, thanks, but I really have to study. Have my first Chemistry quiz tomorrow, and these stupid equations still don’t make sense to me.”
“Are you sure?” asked Bobby, though he was already making his way over to the booth where his teammates were sitting.
“Yeah, I’m sure. Thanks again,” I said. “If I’m finished, maybe I can come over then,” I added, though I knew that was lie. If by some miracle I would finally figure out all those equations, it would take so long that Bobby and his teammates would be long gone.
So I put my head down and tried to concentrate on my homework. But l couldn’t help overhearing Bobby and his teammates. They talked about practice routines, other teams they would be playing against this fall, other players, and what they liked or didn’t like about their coaches. I could make out Bobby’s voice among the others, laughing and adding his opinion.
I did glance up a couple of times, not being able to stop myself. Bobby was sitting facing me, so I could see how happy he was. No, not just happy. What’s the word I’m looking for? He was glowing, looking like he’d never been happier. Like that’s where he belonged. Forever. With his teammates, in the world of football, not with me. I don’t think I existed for him at that point. He certainly never looked my way or gave any indication he was thinking about me.
He had promised me that last time we sat in the woods that the gay stuff wouldn’t come between us. That he didn’t care if people saw me with Mr. Aniso, who doesn’t particularly try hard to hide his sexuality. Not that he could successfully, since he’s so swishy. I thought Bobby was feeling better about his own gay feelings, too. That I still mattered a lot to him. And that he wanted to be with me. That he CARED. It’s not the feeling I get since sophomore year started.
Like today. If practice was canceled, he could have called me up. Makes me wonder how many other times Bobby did have some free time but didn’t call me.
I’m not being unreasonable, am I? I don’t come on too strong, do I? I don’t act gay, whatever that means. And It’s not like I have figured everything out. I have more questions than anything else. Sometimes I even wonder if I really am gay. Since Bobby has some of the same questions, you would think he’d want to spend more time with me.
I was thinking about all those things sitting in that booth. It was impossible to concentrate anymore. I gathered up my stuff even though those equations still didn’t make much more sense to me. It was time to leave. I got up and did walk up to Bobby and his teammates and said good bye. Everybody was friendly enough, but I still felt awkward, knowing I don’t belong in their world. And Bobby didn’t act any differently from his teammates or say anything that indicated we were friends or that he wanted to see me later.
So after a few more awkward moments, I turned around and left Joe’s.
And here I sit now, in front of my computer, for the zillionth time, trying to figure out my life. Does it ever change or get easier? Mr. Aniso keeps assuring me it does, but sometimes I wonder. Maybe he’s just saying that to make me feel better. After all, when we’re talking, I sometimes see that sadness that comes over his face. So he’s got stuff going on his life, too. He did seem happy when he introduced me to his new friend, Ben. Hope it lasts. For his sake. And mine.
RV, having successfully completed his freshman year at the demanding Boston Latin School, is hoping for a great summer. He’s now fifteen years old and looking forward to sharing many languid summer days with his friend Bobby, who’s told him he has gay feelings too. But life and family and duties for a son of immigrant parents makes it difficult to steal time away with Bobby.
Bobby, too, has pressures. He spends part of the summer away at football camp, and his father pushes him to work a summer job at a friend’s accounting firm. Bobby takes the job grudgingly, wanting to spend any extra time practicing the necessary skills to make Latin’s varsity football team.
On top of everything, RV’s best friend Carole goes away for the summer, jumping at an opportunity to spend it with her father in Paris. Luckily, there is always Mr. Aniso, RV’s Latin teacher, to talk to whenever RV is lonely. He’s also there for RV when he inadvertently spills one of Bobby’s secrets, and Bobby is so angry RV is afraid he is ready to cut off the friendship.
RV is a good kid, starting his freshman year at the demanding Boston Latin School. Though his genes didn’t give him a lot of good things, they did give him a decent brain. So he’s doing his best to keep up in high school, despite all the additional pressures he’s facing: His immigrant parents, who don’t want him to forget his roots and insist on other rules. Some tough kids at school who bully teachers as well as students. His puny muscles. His mean gym teacher. The Guy Upstairs who doesn’t answer his prayers. And the most confusing fact of all—that he might be gay. Luckily, RV develops a friendship with Mr. Aniso, his Latin teacher, who is gay and always there to talk to. RV thinks his problems are solved when he starts going out with Carole. But things only get more complicated when RV develops a crush on Bobby, the football player in his class. And to RV’s surprise, Bobby admits he may have gay feelings, too.
Andy V. Roamer grew up in the Boston area and moved to New York City after college. He worked in trade book publishing for many years, starting out in the children’s and YA books divisions and then working in adult Editorial and Production of various houses. To relax, Andy loves to ride his bike, read, watch foreign and independent movies, and travel.
The first two books of The Pizza Chronicles (Why Can’t Life Be Like Pizza? and Why Can’t Freshman Summer Be Like Pizza? ) were published in 2020. His adult novel, Confessions of a Gay Curmudgeon was published in 2019 under the pen name Andy V. Ambrose.