ALRIGHT YA’LL. Let’s kick it. I’m about to introduce you to the next Ari and Dante- and that is a title I don’t take lightly (on an unrealted note, did you know you could hear the entire Ari and Dante book on youtube read by Lin Manuel Miranda?)
A little background on how I came to discover this book. I’m chilling, walking hrough the Union Square Barnes and Nobles minding my own business when I took a gander at some new teen books. And here this book was. Not under ‘LGBT lit’ or ‘gay’ or any specialized title you could think of- just under ‘Teen Love’. So my ass was blown to China when I opened this beautiful cover to discover that it was about two teenage boys. So ofcourse I took this baby on up to a hidden corner and read about a hundred pages before i was like “yup, this bitch is getting bought, let’s go.”
Here’s the official summary:
Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.
But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.
It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.
This book was so sweet guys. It had the brilliance of a first love, but there was a little somethin’ spicy here and there, if you know what I mean ;). Bless Tanner, he was a little pervy SOB and genuinely read as a true high schooler with the language he used and jokes he made. And his family read so authentic. Both of his parents are very supportive of him (behind closed doors), but there were valid reasons for that as well. One thing I thought was very ballsy was that this book took on the LDS Church. And Lauren takes it on in a way that shows both the positive attributes of the Mormon faith- it’s very family and service oriented, but it also takes the church to task for the way it treats its LGBT brothers and sisters. It also takes on the very real problem of immediately stereotyping churches and how parental influence can make you bias either for or against the church.
And now to the main event: the romance. Tanner and Sebastian were very sweet. There was genuine build-up and plenty of Tanner’s inner monologue ‘is this fucker gay or not’ ‘does he like me?’ ‘damn him, he looks amazing in those jeans’— you know, the things we all ask ourselves when we have a crush. Sebastian was trying man… you could see he was working hard to allow himself to love Tanner in the way he knew Tanner deserved to be loved. Saying that, there were times I lost patience with him and I do think that Tanner let him off the hook one too many times. But he redeems himself at the end. He finally grew a pair and the epilogue was A+.
There were a few unnecessary elements in the book and everyone who’s read it knows exactly what I’m talking about. Like I understood that a certain chapter had to be closed, but the way it got done was cringe worthy on all accounts. But I got over it just as easily as the characters.
In conclusion, read the book. Go to a B&N and pop a squat in the bullshit Starbucks, and try it out. Phrases like “it was six degrees of second base” will win you over. And come chat with me about it if you’re curious!