Hey all, Dani here.
I was going to post up my review of Invictus today, but I started reading this book and I felt a desperate need to get my review up ASAP…which means pushing the ARC review back to Thursday.
So, I guess I was craving a cutesy contemporary romance read. Or maybe the concept of this book just intrigued me. Or I was just obsessed with this cover and so I had to know if the inside was as wonderful as the outside. Whatever the reasoning, I devoured this book so quickly. Whenever I put it down I just wanted to pick it right back up and keep going.
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.
Rating: 5 stars
I guess I’ll start off by saying that a lot of this book deals with the LDS church, and I know very little about Mormon views and teachings, so I can’t speak to how factual all the details are in the book. All I know is that in my opinion it felt as if it was handled in a realistic yet respectful manner. Yes, a lot of this book revolves around the LDS not exactly being pro-homosexuality, but I feel as if I understood the positions of the various characters as they discussed this.
I was entranced by Tanner from the very beginning, and I always seem to enjoy books where the main character is writing a book. They just make me happy…though they also remind me that I have been in a horrible writing slump and really should get back to writing soon.
Reading the story from Tanner’s point of view, I loved how he described when he first saw Sebastian; it was exactly the kind of tidal wave of feelings you basically expect from young adults, when everything just feels so new and raw and overwhelming.
But I admit that I found myself a bit perplexed when the book mostly focused on the building relationship of Tann and Seb…at least until near the end, when I realized why. I don’t really think it is a spoiler, but in case you don’t want to know, I’ll change the text color to white for a minute. You’ll have to highlight it if you want to read it. As it turns out, we are reading Tanner’s manuscript, which is why it glosses over those bits. I thought that was a clever way to format this book, so I am definitely a fan.
Now let’s talk about Tanner’s bisexuality. Again, I myself am not bi so I can’t really speak to the authenticity of the representation, but as one of the authors of this book, Lauren, actually is bisexual, I believe it is fine. Besides, Tanner was fond of saying that he was into a person, not their parts.
I just have to talk about one of my favorite aspects of the book: Tanner’s family. His parents are so wonderfully understanding and accepting of his queer identity, and make sure to celebrate that fact, even if now they can only do that within the confines of their home. I also so loved hearing Tanner’s dad talk about his romance with Tanner’s mom all those years ago. Having a nice, healthy, supportive, and stable relationship in a YA novel is fantastic. All so often in YA it seems like the parents are barely present or one or both of them are already gone.
Basically, I adored this book, and I am so glad that it kept calling out to me to read it. I devoured it in only two sittings and I think this will definitely be on my Top Ten Reads of July-Dec 2017.