Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Boyfriends with Girlfriends ~ Alex Sanchez eARC review

Boyfriends with Girlfriends
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
April 19, 2011
224 pages

Lance is an openly gay teen, someone who's always known he was gay. He has yet to be in a true relationship, though, and is hoping to change that with Sergio, a boy he found through a friend of a friend online.

Sergio is recovering from his break=up with his last girlfriend and not ready for a committed relationship. Comfortable dating both girls and guys and identifying himself and bisexual, Sergio hopes that dating Lance will be different enough from his past relationship to help him move on.

Lance, though, thinks 'bisexual' is a cop-out used by gays (and lesbians) who aren't ready to be fully out . . .

On their first date they each bring their best girl friends. Sergio brings Kimiko, his best friend who knows she's a lesbian but has never had any sort of a girlfriend. Lance brings Allie, his girly girl bestie since childhood. With the same boyfriend for years, Allie thought she knew who she was, but now she can't get Kimiko in her boy's jeans and baseball hat out her head. What does this mean about her? Anything? Everything?

Are they all willing to stick around long enough to help figure each other (and themselves, in the process) out?

Boyfriends with Girlfriends deserves so much credit for addressing or at least touching on so many issues that really are of importance to young people of all ages right now. From homosexuality to bisexuality, family acceptance, self acceptance, and not being a YA book with not only upper middle class white teens or only fill in the blank teens. Not enough books right now are doing any of that.

The story itself doesn't quite live up to all of that potential, however.

Things--especially between Lance and Sergio--jump around a lot. We rarely get full scenes with the characters. This may be the writer's style (I have yet to read another of his books, so I don't know), but it detracts from the reader developing a relationship with the characters. More often than not readers get quick exchange phone conversations or chats in the car--or recaps. Everything feels too short and stunted for there to really be enough emotion. The book leaves you wishing things had been fleshed out more (even if it had been a fraction of the scenes) so that you could really connect with the characters.

There are more actual scenes between Kimiko and Allie than Lance and Sergio (or that's the way it seems) and as a result their relationship comes off feeling more believable and one you care about. Readers are able to connect with them more and invest in what happens to and between them.

At some points readers are left feeling like nothing's happening, but, upon reflection, I think that's because we don't get as many full scenes (that's the best I can describe it) as in other novels, only the short conversation pieces.

I did enjoy the way the novel portrayed that everyone's relationships are complicated, no matter who's involved in them or what their sexual orientation. Some things seemed a little . .. convenient, however, (spoilery for me to say what), and the style just didn't work for me.


Thank you to Galley Grab for providing the eGalley of this for review

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