A TOP 10 RAINBOW LIST BOOK
William C. Morris YA Debut Award nominee Carrie Mesrobian delivers a “raw, sympathetic coming-of-age story [that] uncovers the messy, painful, yet vitally important process of self-discovery” (Booklist, starred review) when a high school senior comes to terms with his attraction to both his girlfriend and his male best friend.
It took Will Caynes seventeen years to have his first kiss. He should be ecstatic…except that it was with his best friend, Angus, while they were both drunk and stoned. Will’s not gay, but he did sort of enjoy whatever it was he felt with Angus. Unsettled by his growing interest in Angus, Will avoids his friend and even starts dating a sophomore, Brandy. When he’s hooking up with her, he’s totally into it, so he must be straight, right? Then why does he secretly keep going back to Angus?
Confusing as Will’s feelings are, they’re a welcome distraction from his complicated home life. His father has started drinking earlier each day when he should be working on never-ending house renovations. And his mom—divorced and living in a McMansion with her new husband—isn’t much help, unless she’s buying Will a bunch of stuff he doesn’t need. Between the two of them, neither feels like much of a parent—which leaves Will on his own in figuring things out with his girlfriend and best friend. He loves them both, but deciding who to be with will ultimately hurt someone. Himself, probably the most.
Mesrobian specializes in boys: boys joining the military, boys realizing the costs of hookup culture, and now boys and sexuality. Seventeen-year-old Will is romantically inexperienced, but suddenly he is dating a girl and making out with his best friend. He doesn't think he is gay, but he likes what he's doing with Angus. Then again, he also likes what he's doing with Brandy, and he likes maybe loves both of them. Time with them offers a respite from the fact that he leads two lives one in a fancy suburb with his mother, another with his alcoholic father in Minneapolis. Will never imagines he is bi (an author's note says the book is, in part, about "bisexual erasure"); he's more worried that he's a cheater. Will's feelings for Angus and Brandy and his sense that he's more himself when he's with them come through clearly, and Mesrobian writes about sex what it feels like, its power to satisfy and confuse bluntly and effectively. At the end, nothing is settled, but Will has found some peace with that. Ages 14 up.
Far too short!
Following Will, Brandy and Angus through their trials and tribulations will have you screaming, jumping and shouting with joy, anger, fear and sadness. This book took me places and I’m glad I went. And while the ending was abrupt I desperately wished there was more written I can say that I’m happy with what I had l.