I understand why some reviewers are offended, I get it. On the other hand, this is fiction. It is a light novel. Fiction is, of course, based on non-fiction, but it amazes me the amount of people nowadays that get offended by anything related race, gender, sexuality. No one can write, have an opinion or just write a silly book (a book intended to entertain) without someone getting upset. While I was reading it (or while I am reading anything that involved these taboo topics) I read it with the intention to enjoy and be entertained, and not over-analyzed everything (mind you, not always. There are some occasions when one HAS to analyzed SOMETHING).
Anyway, I liked this book for what it was, a YA about a gay young man in his final year at high school, and struggling to come out to his best friend, also first love. Taking aside the romance, it was good. Nothing angsty, just a chapter in a student's life, having classes, hanging out with his friends, taking care of the school's newspaper, meeting new friends (also in the closet... sort of).
As for the romance... it was MEH. It would have been better if Jamie and Mason haven't been friends since children. They did not seem that close. And for Jamie, it was a case of "huh, Mason is cute.. looks like Darren Criss", followed by "Ok, I shouldn't think my BFF is cute, but HE IS. He is EXACTLY like Darren Criss", followed by "eh? I have a crush on him, my own Darren Criss", followed by, "I love him". Like, in a chapter. (And really, it is kind of hard to NOT imagine Mason as Darren Criss... the author insisted that Mason looked like Darren).
The girls shipping for their classmates was weird. As in, do girls in real life ship for real life people? As in, making doujinshi of them? Of her friend and his friend?? I am not talking about idols and actors, but of close friends. Classmates. Girls imagining and creating stories of their classmates in romantic situations... weird. And awkward.
There isn't really much art in the book. Better said, it lacks art (there is one DJ... and two weird drawings of Mason and Jamie), and it lacks music (Jamie is supposed to be part of the school band, but he plays the trumpet only at the end of the book. Wouldn't it have been better if there was more about the band? Or if Jamie was more nerd? But wait, he was popular, played sport, was part of the band, of the newspaper... too bad the author did not focus on one extracurricular activity only, and wrote more about it, instead of making it all superficially).
The conclusion to Jamie's problems was a total "what? that's it??". For almost all the book he is having these inner conflicts to come out to Mason, fearing that he will lose his friend in the process. And it turns out to be all for nothing. It was really silly.
Two things that stood out for me, and that distracted me from the story:
- Eating habits in the life of an American teenager: specially if his/her parents work full time or if the student eats at school. All based on pizza, fries, soda, burgers...
- Girls shipping for Remus/Sirius (eww) and for Spike/Angel (double eww).