A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: Autoboyography (Christina Lauren)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

”This is how we reveal ourselves: these tiny flashes of discomfort, the reactions we can’t hide.”

“Autoboyography” was one of those books I wanted to read ever since I read the blurb. I mean there was the mention of a bisexual character that’s forced to stay in the closet because he moved to Utha and truth be told that alone was already enough to pique my interest! *lol*

Still, when I picked up the book I didn’t expect to go through so many feels and to say it touched my heart is certainly putting it mildly! I was so worried for those two boys and their feelings and thoughts left me so raw and broken.

There were scenes that made me laugh and another few pages in I’d suddenly feel angry and frustrated, just to burst into tears as soon as I turned the next page! ARGH!! It’s almost impossible to describe what I felt while I read this book.
Once I began to really read it, I couldn’t put it down anymore though. I felt a need to know how it would continue and if something bad would happen and that aforementioned need almost killed me and made me nervous as hell! XD

I swear there were moments when I bit my nails, snorted in disbelief or nervously began to chew my bottom lip. Yes, “Autoboyography” really put me on edge!!! (And it once again was a book that earned me one of my husbands disapproving looks. *lol*)

I can’t even put into words how much I actually dreaded the end!!! For me the foreboding and anticipation was almost unbearable, it was really intense… and when I finally reached the ending….

Oh well I guess you’ll just have to read the book! ;-P *lol*
(I know I’m mean, you can thank me later. XD)

The plot:

”As he faces the class from the front now, his eyes flash when they meet mine – for a tiny flicker of a second, and then again, like a prism catching light, because he does a double take.”

Tanner Scott is a bisexual boy who had been out in California but was kind of forced back into the closet when his mother got a job offer in Utha. Three years ago their entire family moved into Mormon territory and all this time Tann never outed himself, mostly because there actually was no need to. His plan was to make it into an out-of-state college and to never look back, but as plans go this one turned out to be more difficult than he had initially anticipated. To finish school and to get a good grade in Mr. Fujita’s class might be impossible, especially because everything Tanner can think about is Sebastian Brother, the bishop’s son who’s supposed to help him write a story but somehow ended up stealing his heart instead.

The characters:

Spoiler warning!!! If you don’t want to be spoiled you better stop now! XD Proceed at your own risk! 😉

”Kissing boys feels good. Kissing girls feels good. But something tells me kissing Sebastian would be like a sparkler falling in the middle of a field of dry grass.”

Tanner:

”I was in the neighborhood.” I take a bite, chewing, swallowing through my smile. “Came over to campus to dance and sing some songs.”
His eyes twinkle. He doesn’t seem to mind that I’m not LDS, let alone mocking it a little. “Cool.”

I just loved and adored Tanner!!! This boy was so honest and straightforward and his humour was just amazing! *lol* I swear everyone needs a Tanner in their life!!! XD I really liked how he tried to understand Sebastian’s beliefs and didn’t judge him for it! And I also appreciated that he stayed true to himself! He never let others influence his decisions and I think it needs a lot of inner strength to follow your own path and to accept that you need to make your own mistakes, especially if you have so nice and caring parents like Tanner had. *lol* Still, when he told Sebastian that he loves him and didn’t even get a proper reaction from him, my heart just hurt!!! It was so painful to watch them break up and I swear, no matter what I did, I really couldn’t stop to worry about him! XD

He wants to go on a mission? He wants to leave here and commit two of his best, hottest, wildest, most adventurous years to the church? He wants to give his life to this – really give his life?
I stare at my hands and wonder what the hell I’m actually doing here. Glitter-heart Paige has nothing on me. I am the King of Naïve.”

”You know Mom would murder you for that, for your semi-unintentional blessing that I deflower the bishop’s son.”

”I don’t actually care if you break my heart, Sebastian. I went into this knowing it could happen and I gave it to you anyway. But I don’t want you to break your own. You have so much space in your heart for your church, but does it have space for you?”

Sebastian:

”I went to a movie by myself and ate an entire box of Red Vines.” He leans in, eyes full of that teasing shine. “I had a Coke.”
My brain is tangled: Cannot compute. Which emotion to drop into the bloodstream? Fondness or bewilderment? For the love of God, this is Sebastian at his naughtiest.

Sebastian Brother broke my freaking heart!!! OH GOD, I CAN’T EVEN!!! This boy… this wonderful, precious, amazing, righteous, brilliant and lovable boy!!! ARGH!!! He was almost too good to be true and all I wanted to do was to give him a big hug, wrap him in a blanket and tell him that everything would be alright!! I hated to see his struggle, to read how he thought that something was wrong with him just because he’s gay! It made me sooo damn sad to know that his parents would never accept him the way he is and it almost physically hurt to see his pain!!! T_T He tried so hard to please his parents, to be the way they wanted him to be, but this made him so unhappy it was hard to watch… And that moment when he signed the book for Tanner? It was so damn heart-breaking!!! *sobs*

”I’m not even attracted to girls. I envy you that. I keep praying I will be at some point.” He puffs out a breath. “I’ve never said that out loud.” When he blinks, the tears slide down his cheeks. Sebastian tilts his face up, looking at the clouds and letting out a sad laugh. “I can’t tell if this feels good or terrible.”

”I mean,” he says, flustered, trying again. “I’m attracted to guys, and I’m with you right now, but I’m not gay. That’s a different choice, and I’m not choosing that path.”

”We’re supposed to pray, and listen – so I do. But then, when I turn to others, it’s like…” He shakes his head. “It feels like I’m pushing through the dark and I know what’s ahead is safe, but no one is following me there.”

”Being gay isn’t wrong, but it’s not God’s plan either.” He shakes his head, and I think this moment, right here, is when it really hits me that Sebastian’s identity isn’t queer. It’s not gay. It’s not even soccer player or boyfriend or son.
It’s Mormon.”

Autumn:

”Sometimes I get the weird feeling that I wouldn’t be enough for you. I love you, but only a little.”

I think Autumn was a really good friend, not just for Tanner but also for Sebastian and this even though she barely even knew him. I liked the easy banter between her and Tanner and they gave me the impression that they were really good and close friends. Sure, Autumn had her flaws and I wasn’t always happy about the way she dealt with things, for some incomprehensible reason this only made her human and relatable though. *lol*

”They’re upset, but at some point they’ll figure out you can be right, or you can be loved. Only a handful get both at the same time.”

Sensitive issues:

The bi-representation:

”I’ve always liked whoever,” I tell him. “I really am bi. It’s about the person, not the parts, I guess.”

I LOVED the bi-representation in this book! For me it was spot on!!! Yes, I know a lot of people will disagree and say that it only pointed out the prejudices and kind of reinforced them by giving them space, but the bitter truth is that we actually have to deal with them each and every single day!!! They don’t vanish just because we don’t mention them! I totally agree with Tanner when he says that it’s nothing you get to choose! To be bisexual means to be attracted to both sexes and if you’re a bisexual girl and end up with a boy this doesn’t automatically make you straight! Same goes for being with a girl, just because you fall in love with a girl you’re not a lesbian! AND yes you can be faithful to your partner and still think that Milla Jovovich and Eva Green are damn hot! (which they actually are!!! *lol*) Oh well, *cough* back to the review! XD

”Why wouldn’t you just be with a girl, then?” he asks quietly. “If you were attracted to them? Wouldn’t it be so much easier?“
“That’s not something you get to choose.”

The Mormon/LDS representation:

”It’s completely different. Among a hundred other reasons, going to church is a choice. Being bisexual is simply who you are. I’m protecting you from the toxic messages of the church.”
I actually laugh at this. “And his parents are doing it to protect him from hell.”

I can’t say an awful lot about the LDS representation because I actually don’t know anything about it. So in some way this book was even kind of educational. *lol* I think I understand their beliefs and I got what they are talking about, but I guess I’ll never be able to truly fathom why religion is so important to so many people. I think I’m a lot like Tanner when it comes to that. I was raised a Roman-Catholic but I’m neither an active part of the church nor do I go to mass and I guess the reasons for that are pretty obvious. 😉

”I assume his family doesn’t know he’s gay?”
“I don’t even know if he’s gay.”
“Well for argument’s sake, let’s assume he is and your feelings are reciprocated. You know the church thinks it’s okay to have same-sex attraction but you aren’t allowed to act on it?”
“Yeah, I know.”
“Would you be able to be with him without touching him?”

”I’ve never had someone over before who wasn’t a member,” he says. The mind reader. “I’m just watching you take it all in.”
I decide to go for pure honesty: “It’s hard to understand.”

Tanner’s slip with Autumn:

I think it wasn’t necessary for the plot but then again things like that just happen. I know some people will say that Tanner was acting irresponsible and shouldn’t have slept with Autumn especially because she was still a virgin, but please keep in mind that she said she wanted him to be her first!!! He didn’t take advantage of her! He was broken and sad and completely devastated and yes, he might have known that Autumn had a crush on him, but let’s face the truth: Autumn also knew that he was heartbroken and completely vulnerable when she slept with him!!! If anything they both took advantage of each other and their understanding was mutual! They made that mistake together and in the end they dealt with it like adults. 😉

Their families:

Tanner’s family:

Mom can’t help herself. “Does he know about you?”
“About how I turn into a troll at sunset?” I shake my head. “I don’t think so.”
“Tanner,” she says gently. “You know what I mean.”
I do. Unfortunately. “Please calm down. It’s not like I have a tail.”
“Honey,” Mom starts, horrified.

Can I just say that I adored his family!?!? They were so awesome and supportive!!! Seriously, I really wish everyone would have parents like that! Yes, Tanner’s mom could be annoying with her bumper stickers and her reservations about Sebastian, but she was just worried about her son and that’s the most important thing!!! She just wanted him to be happy and accepted him the way he is!! Oh and the conversations with his dad?! I LOVED THEM!!! They were priceless!!! <333 Seriously, Tanner’s dad was so wise!! XD

“My parents know I’ve had crushes on guys before, but it’s never been a reality like this. Now there’s a guy, with a name and a phone. We’ve all been so cool about it, but I realize, sitting here at this silent dinner table, that there are layers to their acceptance.”

”He tucks a finger under my chin, lifting my face to his. “Are you willing to be a secret? Maybe you are for now. But this is your life, and it will stretch out before you, and you are the only person who can make it whatever you want it to be.”

She claps a hand over her mouth when she sees Sebastian, and tears rise to the surface of her eyes nearly immediately. Mom pull us up, hugs me, and then wordlessly takes Sebastian into her arms – he gets the longer hug, the one with the soft Mom words spoken into his ear – and something breaks loose in me because it makes him cry harder.”

THIS SCENE, THIS MOMENT!! IT WAS MY UNDOING!!! I cried so hard when I read it!! I swear I was a sobbing and aching mess!!! This was so beautiful and raw and painful, so damn freaking bittersweet!!! Tanner’s mom comforting Sebastian, hugging him even though his own mother should have hugged him instead, telling him that he is wonderful and precious and that he is amazing just the way he is!!! TANNER’S MOM TELLING HIM EVERYTHING HE NEEDED TO HEAR!!! Tanner’s mom, not his own!!! OH GOD!!! My heart is breaking once again. That poor boy, that lost and broken soul!!! The reaction of Tanner’s mom moved me so much, I have no words…. <333

Sebastian’s family:

”He’s gay; he didn’t die. Nobody is wounded. I know Sebastian’s parents are good people, but holy hell, they just inadvertently made their son feel like there’s something about him that needs to be fixed.”

Never in my entire life will I ever be able to understand how you can disown your own child!!! I mean you’re supposed to love your kid, it’s your role to protect it from harm!!! YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT LITTLE LIFE!!!! I love my daughter so much, I love her unconditionally, I would do everything for her!! I would even die for her!!! And because of that I can’t understand how Sebastian’s family could be so cruel to him! Especially his mother!!! I mean he only asked them what would happen if one of them was gay and they didn’t speak to him for an ENTIRE WEEK!!!! How can you do something like that to your own child!!!???? And to blame him for being gay?! Like he could change it, like it would be his own choice to be gay or not?! Like it’s a disease he can grow out of!!! ARGH!!! I can’t even….

”This was a week ago,” he whispers. When he looks up at me with tears in his eyes, he adds, “No one has spoken to me in a week.”

”I don’t even know how we got here, Sebastian. This? What you’re going through?” She stabs the air with savagely curled finger quotes around the words “going through.” ”This is your own doing. Heavenly Father is not responsible for your decisions. It is your free will alone that deprives you of happiness.”

”Her apron says KEEP CALM AND SERVE ON, and all he can think about is Tanner’s mom and her rainbow apron that embarrassed her son, and what Sebastian would give to have a parent who accepted him for what he was, no matter what.”

The ending of the book was so hopeful and sweet it actually made me light-headed and happy! <333 It was so cute that Tanner fell to the ground when he saw Sebastian and I really hope that they will find their way!!! Together of course!!! XD

All told, this book was amazing and if possible I’d give it all the stars and even more! “Autoboyograph” deserves so much more attention than it got and I hope my review will help to spread the word!!! READ IT!!! LOVE IT!! FIND YOURSELF IN IT AND BE BRAVE AND STRONG!!! Have the courage to be who you truly are!!! <333

Well, if that isn’t a message I want to spread, I really don’t know. *lol*
To say it with Fujita’s words:

”My deepest gratitude, Sebastian, for your bravery. I wish you well. You are an exceptional human, with depth and heart. Don’t let anyone – or anything – dim that light inside you.”