One Man Guy

272p. Farrar. May 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780374356453; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780374356460.
Gr 6–10—Fourteen-year-old Alek Khederian is horrified when his parents announce that he will be going to summer school in order to get him on the Honors track. This change of plans means no relaxation, no time with friends, no tennis camp, and no family vacation. He starts summer school grudgingly, only to have his spirits lifted when he meets Ethan, who is different from anyone Alek has ever known, and Alek is shocked when Ethan wants to be friends. Before long, their friendship deepens into a romance Alek definitely didn't see coming. The events in this coming-of-age novel move a little too quickly to be fully realized, and some of the secondary characters are two-dimensional. However, Alek's character is well developed. He's a likable teen who remains true to himself throughout; he stands up for what he believes in, even if it means upsetting the people he cares about. The story will appeal to both young people who are just discovering their own sexuality and readers who enjoy a good budding romance.—Sarah Allen, Judson High School, Converse, TX
In this mellow coming-out story, Alek struggles more with his imperious Armenian parents than he does with his first homosexual romance. Cultural traditions clash with modern teenage life, raising fascinating questions about family and identity. For such a sweet book so focused on confronting prejudices and correcting biased language, its discussion of gender is confused, with numerous unchecked female stereotypes and gender slurs.

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