I saw this book at the library the other day and became curious about it. When I saw it tackled a romance between two boys, I really wanted to see how the representation was handled. In short, it was okay.
I enjoyed the writing. It's straight and to the point and I always enjoy when an author decides to be blunt about the topic they are writing about. One of the things I wasn't particularly fond about was how the characters referred to themselves. There's talk of homophobia and a lot of hateful slurs thrown throughout the book but that's the point, I suppose. It's showing the reality of what people in the Queer community must face daily just because of who they fall in love with; and that discriminatory behavior is wrong and people need to educate themselves and learn to accept that there are many different people out there who are amazing and incredible and shouldn't be treated any less for being who they are.
It's important to remember that we are all human, trying to live life the best we know how. And, yes, there are bad people out there. But there are also good people who want to live in peace and in happiness. We should let people be who they are and live life the way they want. As long as they are not hurting anyone, why should they be condemned for being themselves? I never understood the blatant hatred people who weren't straight, white, Christian, able-bodied men always have to endure. In the end, we're all human. Why hate someone for what they look like or who they fall in love in or what their beliefs are? It makes no sense to me.
Anyway, back to the review.
The book follows two perspectives. One is of Alex and the other is of his brother, James. Alex was always a delight to read about. I adore him. He's so sweet and caring. He has his own struggles that he had to face and overcome. In the beginning of the book, he suffers from depression and he does try to take his own life so be cautious about that going in. But his journey takes him from his low points to his highs and it's such a lovely journey to read about! I loved whenever the book took his perspective. However, I did not enjoy reading from James's perspective. He was, put plainly, a bully. I thought he was downright a disgusting character. He's a selfish, misogynistic, and even racist character. He only got better towards the end of the book... with only 40 pages left of the book... It's a shame that I hated reading from his POV so much because if the book only focused on Alex, I would have enjoyed it so much more.
All in all, it was a pretty good. I liked the writing and Alex was such a delight to read about. It's not without its flaws. James really makes this book slightly unbearable with his negativity. There's also homophobia and attempted suicide so if any of these may be triggering for you, please do not read this. I want everyone to be safe so please keep what I said in mind. If none of those things bother you, these I do think it's a solid read. It may even be eye opening to how some people are treated just because they are gay. Remember, education is key to understanding other people who live different lives from you.