Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Book Review: Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend

Come on, just look at the title of this and tell me you wouldn't at least pick it up. And that's pretty much why I picked it up and was pretty interested when the inside cover confirmed that this is a book with at least one LGBTQ side character and, as several authors have pointed out, it's not enough to have LGBTQ main characters but you need them as side characters as well to truly flesh out a world (same for POC). I was worried at how everyone was going to be portrayed in the book but there was no way but to read and find out.

Tips on Having a Gay (Ex) Boyfriend by Carrie Jones
It's an interesting cover, it certainly fits the book very well, but I don't quite like it. There's a bit too much going on, maybe if they took out the details around the author's name it would flow better.

Summary: Breaking up is always a hard thing to go through but when Bella's boyfriend Dylan breaks up with her because he's gay, well, it certainly makes everything more confusing. In a small town where some of the people aren't as nice as they first seem Bella is trying to figure out if the relationship she just had was real or not and just what to do next.

The Good: The characters here felt pretty darn real to me. Often you get plenty of minority haters as background characters and that always makes me feel confused since that's not like any of my friends and we don't seem that abnormal. Here a great many of the characters take the news that Dylan is gay in a stride and are just fine with it. That's not to say that there aren't any bullies or that everyone takes the situation well (I had never even thought that a former girlfriend/boyfriend of someone who just came out with be bullied as well) but there were enough characters on each side to make it feel more realistic.

The Bad: I do have to raise my eyebrows at the fact that, as soon as she's dumped, Bella has another guy waiting in the wings to catch her when she falls (literally too as she does occasionally get seizures which felt like an extra plot point that I think the story could've done without). That honestly sounds like something out of a bad shojo, especially when Bella looks back at notes she wrote as a freshman where she didn't care about having a boyfriend, she would've come off as stronger if she was able to say that having a boyfriend was nice but she didn't need to have one.

My main concern with this book was is this a good portrayal of someone coming out of the closet, how they and the people around them would act? It felt pretty good to me but I'm not sure and I couldn't find any reviews where someone said yay or nay on the topic. So, it was an okay book and I've found out it has a sequel as well. I don't feel really strongly about reading a sequel, the book seemed fairly self-contained so I may grab it someday but otherwise I've got plenty of books to read.