Young Adult LGBT Romance
Fangirl meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this funny and poignant coming-of-age novel from New York Times bestselling author Christina Lauren about two boys who fall in love in a writing class—one from a progressive family and the other from a conservative religious community.
Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.
But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.
It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.
With an honest and unafraid portrayal of the obstacles a relationship can face when homosexuality and religion are the main components, Autoboyography excelled at capturing an inspiring coming-of-age love story. Top-notch writing and storytelling from this duo further allowed for this story and its characters to feel completely relatable, to open that door to show that anyone from any spectrum can find a piece of themselves in Tanner or Sebastian.
Its lack of bias or agenda and instead its true focus on these characters as real teens, real young men struggling with the pressures of sexuality, beliefs, societal pressures, and familial belonging, was a truly powerful element. In reading this story, it’s incredibly obvious that Christina Lauren took the time to accurately research and portray both a faith and sexual orientation that many readers will have no understanding of. With Tanner’s non-LDS status, his lack of knowledge and stereotypical beliefs of the Mormon faith will connect with many readers, but his journey to researching and understanding it on his own and through Sebastian was both very educational and key in understanding the main conflict of a relationship between the two.
Autoboyography read like a biopic of first-love with teenage awkwardness, exploration of self, and the pressures of society or religion to be like everyone else. Tanner felt far older than his age, confirming that hiding oneself in a crucial time of growth in ones’ life can force a maturity that wouldn’t possibly be there otherwise. But oh the big heart he had to opening himself up to the very real chance his feelings wouldn’t be returned was starkly vivid on the page. The supporting players were truly figures to emulate, all fully accepting and caring and the kind of cast that each teen in this world truly need surrounding them.
Christina Lauren tackled two sensitive subjects with grace and heart and, in their unique way of telling the story, made it very easy to instantly fall into it. Autoboyography told the tale of a messy, but brutally beautiful love story, and the ride as a reader in experiencing it was wonderfully exhilarating. This is storytelling at its best, at its most unputdownable, top-of-its-game best. Every parent, every teen, every adult needs to experience the sheer beauty behind the power of love and how strength comes from opening your heart rather than closing it off.
♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦
Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners/besties/soulmates Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. The #1 international bestselling coauthor duo writes both Young Adult and Adult Fiction, and together has produced fourteen New York Times bestselling novels. They are published in over 30 languages, have received multiple starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Library Journal, won both the Seal of Excellence and Book of the Year from RT Magazine, and have been featured in publications such as Forbes, The Washington Post, Time, Entertainment Weekly, O Magazine and more. Their third YA novel, Autoboyography will be released in September, followed by a contemporary romance, Roomies in December.