This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Released on May 27, 2014
What an engaging heartwarming teen romance that offered so much more! Family, ethnicity, sexual orientation, self, friends, and love all rolled into one. I loved everything about this story from the writing style, the setting, the characters, the plot, the voice, and a strong story that was better than the sum of its parts.
Aleksandr Khederian is given the news by his parents that he is going to summer school because his average grades have dropped him down out of honors class status. His life is so different from his peers as he has grown up in an ethnically strong Armenian household though he longs to just be a normal American teen. His parents education expectations and plans for him and his near-perfect older brother, Nik, are everything.
Between hanging out with his best friend, Becky, and watching with envy, Ethan one of the wilder, cool guys at school, Aleks is resigned to his summer school fate. That is until he becomes friends with Ethan and Ethan offers him a chance to experience summer and life in NYC and explore feelings about sexual relationships that he didn’t even know he had. He hides this side of life from his family, but its only a matter of time before his lies catch up with him.
This story is told third person exclusively from Aleks’ point of view. His narrative voice was convincing of who he was. His actions, words and even thoughts reflected that of a guy his age. He is a typical teen in ways, but unique because of his upbringing too. I love that his story is not told in isolation. Scenes with parents, brother, friend, kids at school and Ethan are all nearly equal. The food! This is totally a foodie’s dream story. I cracked up at the sibling rivalry and arguing that went on and Aleks’ wry way of sharing his family life. Ethan’s history is interesting and he has grown up so differently from Aleks that they have to work to understand where the other is coming from. His best friend, Becky, is quite the personality too. No scene, activity or character is stinted on and all developed into a lovely rich tapestry.
Because he is only fourteen and just starting to explore the idea of a relationship let alone one with a guy, things are slow and don’t go full-on. I enjoyed what Ethan and Aleks have together. They are friends and not just boyfriends and I can’t tell you how refreshing this was to read after all the stories that leap straight for the passion and declarations especially in YA. Although, they have some poignant moments.
[quote]”This summer’s been a dream,” Ethan murmured.
“I just hate it that we only have one week left before it ends.”
“You’ve got it wrong Eth,” Aleks said, gently running his hand through Ethan’s surfer hair. “This summer’s not the dream. We are. You and Me. And it doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, as long as we’re together.”
“I like that, Polly-O,” Ethan smiled.
“We’ll wreck havoc, you and me,” Aleks told him.
“What does that mean?”
“It’s a Rufus-quote, dumb ass. It means, Watch out, world: we’ll do crazy things together.”
“We’ll wreck havoc, you and me,” Ethan repeated. p. 176 Aleks and Ethan from One Man Guy[/quote]
All in all, this was an especially engaging story and I look forward to more from the author. Those who appreciate stories that focus strong on character development and good storytelling with romance taking a lesser role might want to grab up this YA M/M Contemporary Romance.
My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this story in exchange for my honest review.
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