To Be Published: April 2011 by Simon and Schuster
Pages: 224 (hardcover)
Recommended for: readers maybe 15 and up, teenage and adult
Lance has always known he was gay, but he's never had a real boyfriend. Sergio is bisexual, but his only real relationship was with a girl. When the two of them meet, they have an instant connection--but will it be enough to overcome their differences? Allie's been in a relationship with a guy for the last two years--but when she meets Kimiko, she can't get her out of her mind. Does this mean she's lesbian? Does it mean she's bi? Kimiko, falling hard for Allie, and finding it impossible to believe that a gorgeous girl like Allie would be into her, is willing to stick around and help Allie figure it out.
Boyfriends with Girlfriends is Alex Sanchez at his best, writing with a sensitive hand to portray four very real teens striving to find their places in the world--and with each other.
Officially the most fun book I've read in a long, long time. Not only are the characters are endearing, the friendships and romances sweet, and the 224 pages nowhere near enough-- Boyfriends with Girlfriends is just the kind of book that makes you smile. There are so many one-liners which, besides being funny, speak volumes of the characters' awkwardness and uncertainty. Gay, straight, bi, whatever-- this is a short contemporary novel of teenage love and 'maybe-love' which anyone 16 to 100 can enjoy.
The story is told from four different alternating, third-person points of view. It stars two pairs of friends: sensitive and easygoing gay guy Lance and his best friend, sweet, straight, beautiful Allie; confident and funny Sergio, who's bisexual, and his best friend Kimiko, a Japanese girl whose traditional family and 'Tiger' mother can't seem to accept that she's lesbian. The guys hit it off immediately and bring their respective female friends along to their first date at a restaurant. Allie, far from being the stereotypical, out-of-your-league preppy girl Kimiko first takes her for, turns out to be a total Japan-phile and Otaku, and the girls hit off as well, becoming great friends very quickly. I loved the girls' different references to manga and anime (being a bit of an Otaku nerd myself), and the way their friendship progresses from happy chatter and texting to the beginnings of a romance. Meanwhile Lance, doubts that Sergio is truly bisexual. (The whole on-one-side-of-the-fence-or-the-other theory.) The conflict eventually tears a rift in their fresh relationship, but I'll leave you with no doubt-- this book has a happy ending.
The story is very dialogue-driven, and that's fine, because the dialogue is great and feels absolutely natural. The characters' complexities and depth make them seem like flesh and blood, and I absolutely can't wait to check out some of Alex Sanchez's other books. I have to say my favorite character was Kimiko, but Boyfriends with Girlfriends is one of those rare novels where there is no weak link in the storytelling-- I loved all four characters' POVs, and would love nothing better than to see a sequel out sometime soon. (Well, not too soon, considering the book won't be released until April.) Anyway, definitely mark this one down on your ever-expanding to-be-released list!
Plot: 4/5Overall Rating: 5/5