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Fangirl meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this funny and poignant coming-of-age novel from New York Times bestselling author Christina Lauren about two boys who fall in love in a writing class—one from a progressive family and the other from a conservative religious community.
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.
ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Christina Lauren are a wildly popular duo in the romance community, and with Autoboyography, no doubt the YA community will also go wild for this talented pair. Autoboyography is a lovely, heart-felt book about sexual identity, religion, love and family that teens and adults alike will fall in love with.
Tanner and Sebastian could not be more different from each other, but somehow the two meet, and fall in love with each other. The book is predominantly told through the voice of Tanner, a proud bisexual boy who is only out to his family in his new Utah town. He is a total sweetheart, who captured my heart with his easy-going personality and kind soul. He is outgoing, smart, level-headed, and loves like nobody’s business. Sebastian on the other hand is more quiet, and very devoted to his Mormon religion. Tanner and Sebastian meet in Tanner’s seminar class where Sebastian is the teaching assistant. Somehow the book that they have to write in the class turns out to be an autobiographical love declaration for Tanner. The two start a super sweet romance that will absolute charm readers with the shyness, the stolen glances and the blushes. Their relationship had me squealing in happiness, and had my heart swelling because I was filled with so much joy while reading their interactions. Of course, there are obstacles that abound, largely due to Sebastian’s Mormonism, a religion that’s not accepting of same sex relationships. The secrecy of their relationship will bring about feelings of melancholy occasionally, but the innocence and the absolute pure love between them keep you on cloud nine. When reality does catch up to them, it’s heartbreaking, and Christina Lauren make you feel all the emotions they experience, so much so that I shed a tear here and there.
Autoboyography not only explores sexuality, but it also tackles themes of family, friendship and acceptance. Tanner’s beautifully supportive family will have you sobbing silently. His mom, in particular, a former LDS who left the church after the way they treated her gay sister, was amazing. She is loving, supportive and cares so deeply for her son. Their bond is the sweetest, and I loved watching them interact. Though his parents are wary of the relationship between Tanner and Sebastian, because they fear it will end in heartbreak for Tanner, they are nothing but supportive of him. Their priority is at all times Tanner’s happiness. It’s refreshing to finally see parents who are deeply involved in the lives of their children in YA. Tanner’s relationship with his best friend, Autumn, who also happens to have a crush on her, is also explored with a lot of nuance. It’s not a straightforward friendship, and the authors do a great job at showing all the complexities of that relationship. Christina Lauren also makes Autoboyography a knowledgeable book through the depiction of Mormonism here. Tackling religion is always a hard task for a writer, in my opinion, because it needs to be done with a lot of respect, which is exactly what Christina Lauren did here. They give you a peek at the lifestyle and beliefs of Mormons, and though the religion is an obvious deterrent to the romance, it’s not portrayed as evil or cultist, which I very much appreciated.
Autoboyography feels like the apple of Christina Lauren’s eyes, and I urge you to check out this sweet book that’s more than just a romance. It will make you laugh, cry and in the end, smile.