Rating: 4 stars out of 5: ★★★★
High school senior Kalin (Lennon) Macready knows several facts for certain: John Lennon is his hero. Beaumont Finley Danforth (Fin) is his best friend. And—this is the complicated one—he feels more for Fin than mere friendship.
For weeks, Lennon pesters Fin, who like Lennon admits to questioning his sexual orientation, for a commitment to spend twenty-four hours together exploring “the gay side of life.” Each boy will seek to answer the terrifying question, Am I gay? Fin reluctantly agrees. Lennon pre-plans the day, filling the hours with what he assumes “gay life” is all about: funky hairstyles, fancy coffee drinks, shopping for fashionable clothing, boogying to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”, and yes, listening to show tunes.
However, Lennon quickly realizes that in creating his plan he has succumbed to the most common and distorted gay stereotypes. Can he be gay and not fit them? And more importantly, is it possible that spending twenty-four hours together will convince Fin that he’s gay, too? If so, maybe Lennon has a shot at winning the heart of the boy of his dreams.
This book isn’t a huge revelation, but it doesn’t pretend to be, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The result is a charming book about charming – if occasionally annoying for the mere fact that they are still teenagers – characters. It’s a fun read, it sends a good message to teenagers that are likely to read a YA book, and it definitely offers some reassurance to LGBT teens who feel that they don’t necessarily fit into the boxes of their gender or sexuality. Even non-LGBT teens or even adults who might be reading the book will hopefully learn from the book to be more accepting and much less reliant on stereotypes to try to figure out someone else’s gender or sexuality.
With that being said, the book does a very good job of getting the message across in a very succinct way without seeming like an after school special. I had a fun time reading it, and although there were some things that weren’t exactly to my tastes, I would definitely recommend it. And as a lifelong fan of the Beatles, it was pretty interesting to read a book that takes place in our modern times and yet has a teenager who is such a fan of the Beatles. I’ve spent a lot of time around fellow teenagers, and it’s pretty difficult to find young people who are still interested in older pop culture.
I think, all in all, this book seems very real, it had an incredibly original concept behind it, and it has a good message without being too preachy. It was a fun read for me, and especially for people who prefer contemporary YAs to fantasy, I think they would really enjoy this book even more so than I did.
Louis C. Harris is the cover artist. For me, this cover was honestly a little much. It isn’t badly done or unappealing, exactly. But my personal preference is a more understated cover, and I will readily admit that I am a minimalist as far as that goes. But, that being said, I do think the cover is well matched to the actual tone of the book. I don’t think someone is going to pick up this book based on the cover and be in any way surprised by what they see. So, although it’s not exactly for me, the cover does its job.
Kindle Edition, 1st, 114 pages
Published September 1st 2015 by YoungDudes Publishing