by Christina Lauren
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
Tanner’s family move to Provo, Utah, from Palo Alto, California, where Tanner had been an out and proud bisexual (and his parents possibly even more proud). His mom had left the LDS church years before when her parents kicked out her sister for being gay, and had never looked back, marrying Tanner’s dad, who is Jewish. For the past three years, Tanner has dated girls in Provo but never told a soul, including his best friend Autumn, about his bisexuality – just running down the clock until he could get out of there. But then Autumn challenges Tanner to take a book-writing seminar, TA’ed by Sebastian Brother, an LDS BYU student who had taken the same class the year before and had his book published and a big fuss made. It doesn’t hurt that Sebastian is HOT – and apparently into Tanner, too, which is obviously complicated.
I really liked this book but the one major detractor for me was how much it reminded me of Openly Straight (which was published four years earlier). It was distracting – super supportive liberal parents on one side, moving to a new town where the liberal kid has to be suddenly in the closet, down to nearly-identical scenes, like when a parent walks in on them. BUT. I loved it anyway. I would even love a sequel like Honestly Ben, told from the other boy’s point of view. I enjoyed the love story and the Mormon angle, even though the reader doesn’t get to see a lot of Sebastian’s struggle (hence being primed for a sequel), and actually I felt a bit jostled where the narrative skipped out. Tanner’s goth sister, Hailey, was an interesting source of comic relief, though.