Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Size: 320 pages
Publisher: Mariner Books
Release Date: June 10, 2014
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Amazon Vine
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
I got a copy of this book to review through Amazon Vine. I had heard a lot about this book and occasionally read and enjoy GLBT contemporary fiction. So I was curious to see what this book was about. It was a decent book, very engaging and it gives interesting insight into trans-male communities.
Adam hangs with the popular crowd by virtue of his best friend, who is kind of a jerk. Adam knows he is hanging onto popularity by the tips of his fingers and when his mom offers him the chance to spend the summer in New York with his sister (who is in college) he jumps at the chance. Adam knows his sister is a lesbian (his parents don’t). His sister is very involved in the GLBT scene and Adam finds himself immersed in this scene for the summer and dealing with all sorts of grey areas between gender.
Well done book about a teenage boy who spends the summer with his sister. There is a lot in here about the lesbian community and the trans-male community. Also a lot about the pains of going through your late-teenage years and early 20’s.
There is, as you might expect, a lot of talking about sex…a lot a lot. That’s pretty much what the story is about. Adam’s number one goal on arriving to New York is to find his dream girl and have sex with her. However, this is also a coming of age story…Adam grows and learns a lot from his experiences in New York.
I am a bit conflicted about saying this appropriate for YA. There is a lot about sex toys, sex operations, and even some very graphic bondage scenes. The sex scenes are very graphic as well. Although Adam is seventeen, all of the other surrounding characters are in their 20’s. So I guess I would say older YA or new adult might be the more appropriate audience for this book.
I applaud Schrag for really delving into the dirty details of the GLBT and trans-male crowd. The story is well written and engaging. However, there was sooo much sex in here that it actually got a bit numbing and boring to read about. There were a couple times where I was like…”Oh great another scene with girls doing it with a strap-on…yawn”. Maybe that is the point, Adam is inundated with sooo much that he becomes a bit numb to some of it…
My only complaint about the above is I think it portrays the lesbian and trans-male community in this very sex-hungry and promiscuous light. I am going to go out on a limb here (being sarcastic) and say that there are lesbians and trans-males that like their sex life private (as in not having sex in public places or in front of lots of people) and monogamous…just like there are heteros who span all sides of the arena. I wish that we had gotten to interact with some young people who were in a loving relationship for the long haul no matter what their gender or non-gender was. What is portrayed here is mainly a group of sex-hungry individuals who are struggling to define their identities…it’s just something I had trouble relating to. I wasn’t like that and my GLBT friends weren’t like that at that age either.
Anyway, it’s an interesting read. Just beware of the content if you are disturbed or offended by graphic sex scenes or bondage. The whole story ends kind of abruptly and without much closure, but that mimics real life fairly well.
Overall this is an engaging read that I enjoyed for the most part. It gives an interesting look into the lesbian and trans-male cultures of New York City and is also an interesting coming of age story about a boy finding his way. The sexual content is pretty graphic so I would recommend for older teen and new adult readers.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
– You Read How Many Books? Reading Challenge