Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction, Realistic Fiction, LGBTQ, Multicultural Fiction, Family, Romance
Published: May 27th, 2014 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Hardcover, 255 pages
How I Got This Book: Checked it out from the library
Why I Picked It Up?: Hello?! Look at that cover! 😉
Book Jacket Blurb: “A heartfelt, laugh-out-loud-funny story of romance, family, and self-discovery.
Alek Khederian should have guessed something was wrong when his parents took him to a restaurant. Everyone knows that Armenians never eat out. Between bouts of interrogating the waitress and criticizing the menu, Alek’s parents announce that he’ll be attending summer school in order to bring up his grades. Alek is sure this experience will be the perfect hellish end to his hellish freshman year of high school. He never could’ve predicted that he’d meet someone like Ethan.
Ethan is everything Alek wishes he were: confident, free-spirited, and irreverent. He can’t believe a guy this cool wants to be his friend. And before long, it seems like Ethan wants to be more than friends. Alek has never thought about having a boyfriend—he’s barely ever had a girlfriend—but maybe it’s time to think again.”
This book is as precious and adorable as the cover suggests! That’s honestly why I picked it up in the first place! It just seemed like a story that screamed ADORABLE! And it definitely was.
Here are the reasons why I liked this book! (Bullet point style, this time! Short and sweet!)
- Alek’s story is approachable and relatable in many ways.
Alek is a character I immediately connected with, not because I have personal experience with his story, but because I knew friends who grew up with a headstrong family. And who hasn’t felt pressure about grades? From the very first page, we meet Alek in a restaurant with his family, and I immediately felt for him during that embarrassing scene. Michael Barakiva takes us on a character journey of self-discovery through Alek’s summer school adventures, and that story is told in a very approachable way. Immediately I was taken into the story with Alek, and I felt for Alek. And that really allowed me to enjoy this story.
- Alek and Ethan are absolutely precious.
When Alek meets Ethan, he is smitten, and it is just adorable. I really enjoyed watching their relationship develop and seeing how Alek grew as a character because of it. As their friendship grows into a romantic relationship, you just can’t help but smile. Ethan is sweet and kind to Alek, and Alek learns to let go just enjoy his company. And it is just precious to read!
- I loved the strong cultural family influences on this story.
Diversity and multiculturalism in literature is a huge campaign right now, and this book delivers on both! Before reading this book, I was vaguely aware of Armenian culture (meaning, I knew it existed). But this book delves into the Armenian history and culture through conversations between Ethan and Alek, situations happening with Alek’s family, and food! I really enjoyed how this story centered around an Armenian family who celebrates their culture and heritage in full-force! It really added depth to the story both in character development and general interest in the story.
Overall, I really liked how this story developed from beginning to end. Each character, both main and minor, has his or her own development arc, and I really loved that. The overall story is one that is familiar for readers, but Michael Barakiva brings a freshness to it that makes it stand out.
Here’s the skinny: this book is a cute gay romance that will just make you smile. It’s light, but not so light that there isn’t depth to the story. This was truly a fun read!
My Bookshelf Rating:
This story is just as cute as the cover! This book explores so many things, and it does so in a manageable and enjoyable way! Alek is a high school freshman from a VERY Armenian family, and I love how Michael Barakiva really incorporated that family culture into the story. When he meets Ethan in summer school, he begins to learn more about himself as an individual, more than just him from an Armenian family. A coming of age story, a journey of self-discovery, and just an adorable romance. Precious.
Love and New Planners,