Date Completed: 3/17/16
Boyfriends with Girlfriends was the best worst book I think I’ve ever read. I read it out loud to my roommate, and we had the best time. However, if this is winning awards for LGBTQIA literature, I’m a little sad.
The premise of Boyfriends with Girlfriends is two guys who start dating. One is gay, and one is bi. The gay guy, Lance, is constantly questioning Sergio’s sexuality, believing that bisexuality is illegitimate and simply means that Sergio is not fully out to his friends, family, or himself. Meanwhile, Lance’s best friend Allie has a boyfriend, but begins to question her sexuality, believing that she may in fact be bi. Sergio’s best friend, Kimiko, is a lesbian, out to her friends but not to her family, and has never been in a relationship. You can kind of guess where all of this goes.
The writing was boring. The author inserted abbreviations into the plain text, not even in conversation, and it was so awkward. Reading it aloud made it even worse. I hated that the entire book showed the questioning of bisexuality, and that Lance only really accepted it towards the end, and barely. Lance’s constant commentary went like this, “At least Sergio was admitting he liked guys. That was a move up from Darrell [his ex]. But why didn’t he just take the next step and say he was gay? Maybe he wasn’t as mature as Lance had hoped.” Despite being written supposedly for gay people and people questioning their sexuality, it was surprisingly hetero-normative.
Why this book, published in 2011, kept referencing old concepts and pop-culture from the 90’s is beyond me. This does not lend itself to the book whatsoever, and instead makes it feel so dated. Why has Lance never had a mango smoothie before? He comes from money, and takes trips to the mall/smoothie shop often, so why has he never had mango? Why does Allie wear lipgloss? NOBODY wears lipgloss. Allie is supposed to be a popular girl with style.
The most likeable characters were actually Elton, Sergio’s guinea pig, and Rufus, Lance’s dog. Sergio became a little more likeable over time, but I just couldn’t keep myself from thinking the other three main characters were just so ridiculous. Their drama didn’t feel like any drama I’ve ever been interested in.
Alex Sanchez, a gay latino, is the author of several LGBT YA novels. He has a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling. Rainbow Boys was his first novel.