REVIEW: Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Posted September 16th, 2017 by in Blog, HJ Recommends, New Adult, Review, YA / 4 comments

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In Autoboyography by Christina Lauren, High school senior Tanner Scott has to admit he’s had it pretty easy so far in life. He’s got great parents, a bratty but still likable younger sister, and he grew up in California where it was relatively easy to come out as bisexual. But moving to Provo, Utah, the land of Latter Day Saints, a couple years ago means he has to hide who he is when he’s not at home. He hasn’t even told his best friend Autumn of his preferences, not wanting to cause problems in the community. And it works well until Tanner’s first day in a writing class called The Seminar. That’s when he sees Sebastian Brother for the first time and his heart simply melts.

‘A half-Jewish, half-nothing queer kid moves to an LDS-infested town. He can’t wait to leave…’
Reaching forward, he lets his index finger hover in front of the screen. “There’s a lot here in only two sentences. A lot of heart, and heartbreak.”

Sebastian is a freshman in college who wrote a novel in The Seminar the previous year that’s been bought by a publishing house. So when Tanner has a few issues getting his own manuscript started, teaching assistant Sebastian is assigned to help. The sparks fly immediately and honestly, Tanner has no idea what to do about it. I mean, could he have fallen for anyone more unattainable than the son of a bishop in the LDS Church? And while Tanner’s parents are super understanding and back him 100% in his lifestyle, even they’re worried about how badly this could end. But he doesn’t really have a choice, seeing how his heart already belongs to Sebastian. They’ll just have to see it through to the end. Whatever that may be.

“I don’t actually care if you break my heart, Sebastian. I went into this knowing it could happen and I gave it to you anyway. But I don’t want you to break your own. You have so much space in your heart for your Church, but does it have space for you?”

Laugh-out-loud funny and heartbreakingly honest, Autoboyography followed a brave young man at the end of his high school career as he fell in love with a college freshman. Who just happened to be the local Latter Day Saints bishop’s son, causing an uproar in their families as you might expect.

‘I think this moment, right here, is when it really hits me that Sebastian’s identity isn’t queer. It’s not gay. It’s not even soccer player or boyfriend or son.
It’s Mormon.’

Note: This is a Young Adult book, but to me, the complex adult themes (M/M relationship, the LGBQT community versus religion, brief details about sex, swearing) meant it read a bit more like a New Adult story. It’s probably more suited for readers mid-teens and up.

Super author duo Christina Lauren is known for their Romantic Comedies and smoking hot love scenes. So going into a Young Adult-themed book by them had me somewhat nervous. Although I should have known that CLo wouldn’t let me down. Autoboyography ended up being a story I couldn’t stop reading–even when I should have been sleeping. (lol) I was absolutely charmed by our main character Tanner. He had a very good head on his shoulders for an eighteen-year-old and had the coolest family ever. Seriously, all kids deserve parents who are so open-minded, proud and supportive of their children. Even Tanner’s friends Autumn and Manny were cool with him being who he was–once they figured it out–and were right there with him on his journey.

Now as I mentioned, this was an introspective time for Tanner (and Sebastian) as he struggled to reconcile his bisexuality with living in a town that was predominantly part of the LDS Church. So this story might not be for everyone and I respect that. My own personal thoughts are that *Love is Love* so I was more than okay with Tanner and Sebastian’s romance. And what a romance it was! They were SO sweet and it was just completely adorable to watch them fall for each other. There was some angst of course, given the age bracket, and some mistakes along the way. But I loved that Tanner stayed true to who he was and that he was there for Sebastian, even knowing that he was probably going to get his heart broken.

I’ll admit I don’t know a whole lot about the Latter Day Saints so this was an eye-opening experience for me. And the way CLo wrote this, it was easy to see both Tanner and Sebastian’s point-of-view on things. Tanner had grown up free to be who he wanted to be and with a family who proudly cheered him on, while Sebastian may have been devoted to his Church but it caused him to be conflicted over his feelings about Tanner. For me, it was sad to see how Sebastian was treated by his own family but in the end I do get that it was against their beliefs.

Superbly well-written, touching and heartwarming, Autoboyography brought out every emotion imaginable. Christina Lauren can do no wrong in my humble opinion and this was just one more reason why they are one of my favorite writing teams today.
 

Book Info:

Publication: September 12th 2017 | Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers |

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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