AUTHOR: Christina Lauren
PAGES: 416 (9hrs, 19mins)
NARRATORS: Deacon Lee and Kyle Mason
PUBLISHED: September 12th, 2017 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
BLURB: 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.
I was disappointed. There is so many 5-stars for this book, but it was barely a 3-star for me.
I found Tanner to be a bit self-centered and immature. But he was 18 years old, so that should be par for the course, right? Fine. I will cut him slack. But what I had the biggest gripe about was his lack of empathy for others. His parents went out of their way to make sure he was protected or at least his secret. He knew his best friend had feelings for him but he sort of used her as a cover. Was he really afraid she wouldn’t be his friend if she knew he was bisexual or gay? I don’t believe that at all. She kept his lazy butt on course and also kept people from asking him about his dating life. Even his parent mentioned that Autumn had romantic feelings for him. It’s a good thing his bestie didn’t get pregnant. I don’t think he really gave a really deep consideration to what he put her through.
On the other hand, I thought Sebastian’s indecision felt real and was similar to what my Uncle had to consider coming from a deeply religious family. For him, the label of bisexual or gay meant a loss of identity, loss of his parents love, loss of the church community which held him in esteemed and possible loss of his salvation. That’s a lot and Tanner never seemed to get that pain and respect the process of coming to terms of what loving another man cost Sebastian (at least in Sebastian’s thoughts).
I admit it irked me that others were putting creative works of writing and Tanner basically wrote about kissing, hiking etc. He had a diary while others were creating a world of fiction. That was only added to my side eye of Tanner.
I do give him super props for continuing with his plan to college and not letting heartache deter him from trying to live his best life. That showed inner resolve and also respect for the man he loved, that he let him go to figure himself out.
This book would have been much better if the author did a dual PV throughout the whole book. I wouldn’t have minded being in Autumn’s head as well. Those two characters were compelling to me because they are they ones who were struggling with what was versus what they wanted to be. I liked their journey and it felt more authentic than Tanner who seemed to just enough to skate by.