Fun! The fact that this is an LGBTQ story (with emphasis on bi-) is irrelevant. Mike Tate thinks he's got it all figured out in his junior year and, like any teen, finds that he's still a work in progress. He is fun, and awkward, and so very authentic. I smiled all the way through it.
I really wanted to like this book. As a fan of gay-themed YA fiction, this sounded like another hit. Unfortunately, there are too many characters, most of whom are half-fleshed out and at times feel extraneous. But the real issue I have about this book is the depiction of the main character; I like that Mike isn't a stereotype but at the same time, his character isn't much of anything. He's overdramatic and constantly whines that his life suuucks beyond all comprehension and although teenagers are bound to think like this, Mike doesn't feel authentic, but rather someone's idea of an adolescent male. Mike's belief that his life is the worst when figuring out his sexuality could at least be understood and empathized if the stakes were high, but unfortunately, this isn't the case. Being gay doesn't appear to be a big deal for Mike and his schoolmates so his thoughts come off as childish and unfounded rather than authentic.
The writing style also takes some getting used to as well, and I wasn't sure if I liked it or not. Whatever doesn't add anything to the plethora of ideas of what it means to be queer for young people these days. There are better gay teen novels out there.
This is a surprisingly fun and quick witted book. I have recently discovered the genre of LGBTQ romance novels, and have been ravenously consuming both the sophisticated fiction and erotic smut that brackets the spectrum (or at least what is available at HCL). Even though this story is geared towards teens and young adults, I felt moved by the authors ability to depict both the fun and fraught communication dynamics between young folk, especially when it comes to something as awkward/taboo as queer love. I remember high school as an incredibly violent space for visibly queer folks, so it's somewhat uplifting to be immersed in this novel where young people aren't immediately prosecuted or attacked by their peers for exploring diverse forms of love and kinship. I hope more HS stories like this, both fact and fiction, become more numerous in the years to come.
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