Standalone emotional YA/MM coming of age romance
Fangirl meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this funny and poignant coming-of-age novel from New York Times bestselling author Christina Lauren about two boys who fall in love in a writing class—one from a progressive family and the other from a conservative religious community.
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.
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Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny
4.5 beautiful stars
‘I’m just a bisexual half-Jewish kid who’s falling in love with an LDS guy. The path for me isn’t as clear.’
This is our first book by Christina Lauren and we loved their flawless and stunning writing style. We were captivated by the storyline which was written with such intelligence and passion whilst having incredible depth. The struggles our characters face are quite apt in a society that has progressed immensely yet still has pockets of societal beliefs -be they religion based or not as the case may be- where acceptance comes with conditions and is dependent of a will bent to shape or fit a mould. For us it was difficult to come to terms with the fundamental ideologies that shaped the idiosyncrasies of a religion with which we just couldn’t relate.
‘In summary: love and respect, but only if you’re willing to live by their rules…then exclusion is the only answer.’
Tanner is blessed with a family who are nothing but supportive and protective of their son; the protectiveness increasing when the family moves to a Mormon town where they know he will not be looked at with kind eyes. Tanner is a laid-back boy who loves life yet cannot wait to leave the confines of Mormon scrutiny and be free to love without repercussions, be open with those he cares for and not have to hide who he is, outside his front door.
“Are you willing to be a secret? Maybe you are for now. But this is your life, and it will stretch out before you, and you are the only person who can make it whatever you want it to be.”
Everything changes when he meets Sebastian; the son of a prominent Mormon family who is assisting in a prestigious writing class which saw Sebastian’s book being picked up by a publisher. Tanner immediately knows that Sebastian is someone special who he has to know and get close to. What begins as a crush soon turns into so much more as tension ensues with Tanner unable to stop writing their story day by day – moment by moment, wishing for his love to be returned.
“I don’t know what to do about how I feel or how to stop feeling this way about you…..Also why my book is basically about how it feels to fall for you.”
Sebastian’s life is planned and is meticulously following the Mormon way of life, ritual and tradition. He did not plan for Tanner nor did his family and his community. He is the quieter and more resigned of the two, leading a life that belies his heart. How long can he live a life that’s not what‘s meant to be? Two boys leading two very different lives under completely different circumstances. At what point and at what personal cost do you decide if your love and heart can withstand the weight of society’s pressure and family religion which may ultimately tear you apart?
‘He wants to read my book, the book about falling in love with him. But how can I send my heart to him when he’s just said, in no uncertain terms, that he doesn’t speak its language?’
Poignant, heart-breaking, inspirational, beautiful, funny and extremely relevant; Tanner and Sebastian’s story will move you to tears as well as smile whilst wanting to throw your kindle at other times at the nonsensical struggle people still face –to just be– and live their lives free from ramifications and ill judgements. Some find acceptance, support and loyalty; some are not so lucky. Where one struggles another does not. However, the world we live in is not an easy one –still- no matter the progress we seem to make. Love is love and love is fundamentally what we all want the world to run on.
‘This moment, and the quieter moments afterward, can’t be edited. They can’t be rewritten. They can’t be erased.’