I am not exactly the young adult fiction type, least of all the rom-com type. And yet, I picked this one. And I am not sorry.
There are tropes chewed to death in any genre dealing with fiction related to the LGBTQ community. I was relieved this book has none of it. In fact, it triumphs in that- it is exactly a love story. The ‘coming out’ trope is addressed with such practicality. Sample this line: ‘Straight people should have to come out too. The more awkward it is, the better.’
Simon, a seventeen-year-old gay boy falls for the mysterious ‘Blue’ over emails. The story oscillates between the witty emails going to and fro and Simon’s point of view.
This is not the tale of a gay teenager struggling with his identity- He is pretty comfortable in his skin. As much as a teenager could be.
This is also not a tale of the fight for societal acceptance. No sir! Society is supportive, in a very adorable sort of way, bullies notwithstanding. And here, it gains the enviable status of a must-read book. Because I feel a good piece of fiction not only holds up a mirror for the reader to introspect, it also shows a possible solution, a direction. And this, the story does with markedly good humour. The reaction of the family members of our protag, the friends’ support, the drama teacher going out of her way to ensure justice- This book shows how it should be don
The characters are beautifully etched as well- the overenthusiastically supportive parents, the quiet and smart sister, Nora; the rivalries in friendships, the beautiful bond between the siblings…and a teenage blackmailer who evolves. This book manages to portray teenagers in a more realistic manner- beyond the bag of hormones, rebellious tattoo-sporting ungrateful offspring stereotype. And a bonus, all the girls are self-sufficient, kickass females. Even the cheerleader!
The book begins to drag towards the end though. I grew a little sick of the constant reference to Oreos, of the constant pining of the protag. The ending seems a little too perfect and happily ever after too! Had I written a review halfway through, I would have rated this book even higher.
But read it for the point it drives home without preaching. That we do not need to expand the boundaries of the society in the name of inclusivity. Love of the unconventional type is embedded right in the middle of everyday life with regular, ordinary people.
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