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.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ (4.25/5)
Yes. I know. That’s a really weird rating that is quite obscure, but hey I’ve never rated a book that either so let’s see where that opinion came from.
First off, I really enjoyed this book. It would not have made into the 4-star category had it not been something I wouldn’t mind maybe reading again sometime in the future. The first word to describe this novel is that it’s hella CUTE. There was so much cuteness at one point it was hard to breathe and it was beautiful in that way.
The Exploration of Religion & Sexuality
This book was quite diverse and explored many important themes in that the main character is a bisexual guy falling in love with a potentially queer guy who unfortunately happens to be the bishop’s son in their very Mormon filled town. The way the authors handled religion was absolutely amazing and I learnt so much about this religion I had never known before (not that I knew much, to begin with). I loved that the authors weren’t bashing the religion or glorifying it either, but instead taking a wonderful neutral approach that showed the benefits and positives of the Mormon community, and of course as well as the unfortunate negatives.
The exploration of religion was particularly potent because The Church of Latter Day Saints does not approve same-sex interactions, so when Tanner (main boy) falls in love with super Mormon Sebastian, it brings up so many questions to do with God, family, the pressure and expectations of the religion, what one values most and how living in a Mormon community affects your image and reputation. I think the authors did a pretty good job, especially in their efforts to make it realistic.
Sexuality wasn’t a taboo subject in this book either. The protagonist was clear in defining and being confident with his sexuality but it again clashed with the context of where he lived and who he was friends with. I feel like the authors could’ve done better with this subject, because while I understand how the authors tried to make these characters realistic especially with Sebastion being raised in such a strict Mormon family and environment BUT, it was so uncomfortable reading certain pieces of dialogue that show such ignorance or misunderstanding, or just pure indecisiveness for a matter that seemed quite obvious (can you see me dodging spoilers I am flying). I will say though that some of dialogue Tanner sprouted made me cry with pride and happiness like this one right here:
“”My opinion?” I say carefully. “A God worthy of your eternal love wouldn’t judge you for who you love while you’re here.””
AWWWW do you see me getting me all mushy when these quotes are so beautiful???
The sad thing about this book is that it is so sad. Both characters stand to lose something important and the restrictions from the religion had me balling my eyes out from feeling just as torn as the characters in their situation.
This is where things start to sour a little bit for me. A trope that I really don’t enjoy reading and that very very few books have managed to pull off for me is instalove. Sadly, this book was definitely an instalove story. It felt unrealistic that Tanner can suddenly just fall in love with Sebastian as he strides into the classroom (Bella style in Twilight anyone?), I would’ve loved it way more if we got to see their friendship slowly become more and more as they worked on Tanner’s novel together.
Friendships & Family
The emphasis on family, especially Tanner’s family being so open and welcoming with his sexuality is a serious contrast to Sebastian’s situation. I admired how much effort was put in to highlight the importance of family and friendships in this book but some things did seem a little cliché and also were not as well developped.
Friendships were also another aspect that could’ve been developped way more. I didn’t feel as connected with any other characters really except for the two main leads. It felt more like I was being told ‘so and so are best friends’, or ‘I have such a great friendship with -‘ than shown the nature of those friendships, how they occurred and how they live and breathe now.
The writing was gorgeous in this book. The style was easy to read, flowed well from one chapter to another, which weren’t too long or short either. There was a little lack of consistency in terms of point of views, I wish they had been more evenly alternated throughout the book instead of the random point of view just showing towards the end. However, it was a hard book to put down and it was such a quick read too! I absolutely adored all the cuteness and the adorable crush feels Tanner had. The descriptions were so great in terms of that! When Tanner blushed, I felt like I was blushing from cuteness (although I don’t really blush irl, I’m too yellow for that unless it involves alcohol or a fever). It was just so CUTE. It was also incredibly sad and devastating. I cried quite a few times getting through this book, and it just shows the quality of writing this book has to bring about such strong emotions in a reader. I’d recommend this as a cute summer romance book if it didn’t have so many depressing parts too!
Definitely enjoyed reading it. It was one hell of a roller coaster ride, to say the least. It was emotional, sad, cute and educating within all the themes this book explored. I look forward to reading more from Christina and Lauren in the future.
That’s it for my review! Have you read Autoboyography? What did you think? Let me know down below 🙂