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.
|Publisher:||Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers|
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.20(d)|
|Age Range:||14 - 17 Years|
About the Author
Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of longtime writing partners and best friends Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, the New York Times, USA TODAY, and #1 internationally bestselling authors of the Beautiful and Wild Seasons series, Dating You / Hating You, Autoboyography, Love and Other Words, Roomies, Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, My Favorite Half-Night Stand, and The Unhoneymooners. You can find them online at ChristinaLaurenBooks.com, @ChristinaLauren on Instagram, or @ChristinaLauren on Twitter.
Read an Excerpt
The end of our final winter break seems almost like the beginning of a victory lap. We’re seven semesters into our high school career, with one last—token, honestly—semester to go. I want to celebrate like your average guy: with some private time and a few mindless hours down the YouTube rabbit hole. Unfortunately, neither of those things is going to happen.
Because, from across her bed, Autumn is glaring at me, waiting for me to explain myself.
My schedule isn’t complete and classes start up in two days and the good ones fill up fast and This is just so like you, Tanner.
It’s not that she’s wrong. It is just like me. But I can’t help it if she’s the ant and I’m the grasshopper in this relationship. That’s the way it’s always been.
“Everything’s fine,” she repeats, tossing her pencil down. “You should have that printed on a T-shirt.”
Autumn is my rock, my safe place, the best of my best—but when it comes to school, she is unbelievably anal-retentive. I roll onto my back, staring up at her ceiling from her bed. For her birthday sophomore year—right after I moved here and she took me under her wing—I gave her a poster of a kitten diving into a tub of fuzzy balls. To this day, the poster remains sturdily taped there. It’s a super-cute cat, but by junior year I think the innocent sweetness of it had been slowly sullied by its inherent weirdness. So, over the motivational phrase DIVE RIGHT IN, KITTY! I taped four Post-it notes with what I think the creator of the poster might have intended it to say: DON’T BE A PUSSY!
She must agree with the edit because she’s left it up there.
I turn my head to gaze over at her. “Why are you worried? It’s my schedule.”
“I’m not worried,” she says, crunching down on a stack of crackers. “But you know how fast things fill up. I don’t want you to end up with Hoye for O Chem because he gives twice as much homework and that will cut into my social life.”
This is a half-truth. Getting Hoye for chem would cut into her social life—I’m the one with the car; I chauffer her around most of the time—but what Autumn really hates is that I leave things to the last minute and then manage to get what I want anyway. We’re both good students in our own way. We’re both high honor roll, and we both killed our ACTs. But where Autumn with homework is a dog with a bone, I’m more like a cat lying in a sunny window; if the homework is within reach and doing something interesting, I’ll happily charm it.
“Well, your social life is our priority.” I shift my weight, brushing away a trail of cracker crumbs stuck to my forearm. They’ve left a mark there, tiny red indentations in the skin, the same way gravel might. She could stand to spread some of her obsessiveness to room cleaning. “Autumn, my God. You’re a pig. Look at this bed.”
She responds to this by shoving another stack of Ritz in her mouth, crumbling another trail onto her Wonder Woman sheets. Her reddish hair is in a messy pile on her head, and she’s wearing the same Scooby-Doo pajamas she’s had since she was fourteen. They still fit . . . mostly.
“If you ever get Eric in here,” I say, “he’ll be horrified.”
Eric is another one of our friends and one of only a handful of non-Mormon kids in our grade. I guess technically Eric is Mormon, or at least his parents are. They’re what most people would call “Jack Mormon.” They drink (both alcohol and caffeine) but are still reasonably involved in the church. Best of both worlds, he says—although it’s easy to see that the other Latter-day Saints students at Provo High don’t agree. When it comes to social circles, Jack Mormon is the same as not Mormon at all. Like me.
A few dry flecks of cracker fly out when Autumn coughs at this, feigning repulsion. “I don’t want Eric anywhere near my bed.”
And yet here I am, lying on her bed. It’s a testament to how much her mother trusts me that I’m allowed in her room at all. But maybe Mrs. Green senses already that nothing will happen in here between me and Auddy.
We did that once, over winter break our sophomore year. I’d lived in Provo for only five months by that point, but there was an immediate chemistry between us—driven by a lot of classes in common and a comfort from our shared defector status with the Mormon kids at school. Unfortunately, the chemistry dissolved for me when things got physical, and by some miracle we dodged the post-make-out awkward bullet. I am not willing to risk it again.
She seems to grow hyperaware of our proximity at the same moment I do, straightening and pulling her pajamas down her torso. I push up so I’m sitting, leaning against the headboard: a safer position. “Who do you have for first?”
Autumn looks down at her schedule. “Polo. Modern Lit.”
“Same.” I steal a cracker, and—like a civilized human—manage to eat it without dropping a crumb. Scanning down my paper with an index finger, I feel pretty good about this last term. “Honestly, my schedule isn’t too bad. I only need to add something for fourth.”
“Maybe you can add the Seminar.” Autumn claps joyfully.
Her eyes are flashlights, beaming their thrill into the dusky room: She has wanted to take this course since she was a freshman.
The Seminar—I’m serious; when the school references it in newsletters or announcements, they even capitalize it like that—is so pretentious it’s unreal. WRITE A BOOK IN A SEMESTER, the catalog cheerfully dares, as if that could happen only in this class. As if the average person couldn’t throw together enough words in four months. Four months is a lifetime.
Students who apply need to have completed at least one advanced placement English course and have a minimum of a 3.75 GPA for the previous term. Even if that includes seventy kids in our grade alone, the teacher only enrolls fourteen.
Two years ago, the New York Times wrote an article and called it “a brilliantly ambitious course, earnestly and diligently directed by the NYT-bestselling faculty member Tim Fujita.” (I know that direct quote because the piece was printed out, enlarged to about five thousand times the original size, and framed in the front office. My frequent gripe is the criminal overuse of adverbs, which Autumn thinks makes me petty.) Last year, a senior named Sebastian Brother took the Seminar, and some big publisher bought his manuscript. I don’t even know who he is and I’ve heard his story a hundred times: He’s a bishop’s son! He wrote a high fantasy novel! Apparently, it was amazing. Mr. Fujita sent it to an agent, who sent it to people in New York, and there was some sort of civilized warfare for it, and boom, now he’s across the street at BYU and apparently delaying his mission so that he can do a book tour and become the next Tolkien.
Or L. Ron Hubbard. Though I guess some Mormons might take issue with that comparison. They don’t like to be lumped in with cults like Scientology. Then again, neither do Scientologists.
Anyway, now—other than BYU football and the sea of Mormons—the Seminar is the only thing anyone ever talks about anymore when they mention Provo.
“You got in?” I confirm, not that I’m surprised. This class means everything to Autumn, and apart from already meeting the actual requirements, she’s been devouring novels nonstop in the hope that she’ll get a chance to write her own.
She nods. Her smile stretches from sea to shining sea.
“You could, too, if you talked to Mr. Fujita,” she says. “You have the grades. You’re a good writer. Plus, he loves your parents.”
“Nah.” I’m expecting acceptance letters to colleges anywhere but here—Mom begged me to only apply out of state—and a yes from any one of those schools will be conditional on my grades this last semester. Regardless of how easy I think this might be, this is not the time to be taking chances.
Autumn picks at a beleaguered fingernail. “Because then you’d have to, you know, finish something?”
“I finished your mom earlier. I think you know what I mean.”
She pulls my leg hair, and I screech out a surprisingly feminine sound.
“Tanner,” she says, sitting up, “I’m serious. It would be good for you. You should take this class with me.”
“You say that like I would want to.”
Glaring at me, she growls, “It’s the Seminar, asshole. Everyone wants to.”
See what I mean? She’s got this course on a pedestal, and it’s so nerdy it makes me a little protective of Future Autumn, when she’s out in the world, battling her Hermione Nerd Girl battles. I give her my best smile. “Okay.”
“Are you worried about coming up with something original?” she asks. “I could help you.”
“Come on. I moved here when I was fifteen—which I think we can agree is the worst time to move from Palo Alto, California, to Provo, Utah—with a mouth full of metal and no friends. I have stories.”
Not to mention I’m a half-Jewish queer kid in a straight and Mormon town.
I don’t say that last part, not even to Autumn. It wasn’t that big a deal in Palo Alto when, at thirteen, I realized I liked the idea of kissing guys as much as kissing girls. Here, it would be a huge deal. She’s the best of my best, yeah, but I don’t want to risk telling her and finding out she’s only progressive in theory and not when a queer kid is hanging out in her bedroom.
“We all had braces, and you had me.” She flops back on her bed. “Besides, everyone hates being fifteen, Tanner. It’s period emergencies and boners at the pool, zits and angst and unclear social protocol. I guarantee ten out of fifteen students in this class will write about the perils of high school for lack of deeper sources of fiction.”
A quick scan through the Rolodex of my past gives me a lurching, defensive feeling in my gut, like maybe she’s right. Maybe I couldn’t come up with something interesting and deep, and fiction must come from depth. I’ve got two supportive—maybe overly supportive—parents, a crazy but wonderful extended family, a not-too-terrible-although-dramatically-emo sister, my own car. I haven’t known a lot of turmoil.
So I balk, pinching the back of her thigh. “What makes you so deep?”
It’s a joke, of course. Autumn has plenty to write about. Her dad died in Afghanistan when she was nine. Afterward, her mom—angry and heartbroken—cut ties with the Mormon Church, which, in this town, is a huge defection. More than 90 percent of the people who live here are LDS. Being anything else automatically leaves you on the outskirts of the social world. Add into the mix that on Mrs. Green’s salary alone, she and Autumn barely scrape by.
Autumn looks up at me flatly. “I can see why you wouldn’t want to do it, Tann. It’s a lot of work. And you’re lazy.”
• • •
She baited me into adding the stupid class, and now, as we drive to school together the Monday after winter break, she’s being brittle and clipped because I told her I got in.
I can feel her heated glare on the side of my face as I turn onto Bulldog Boulevard. “Fujita just signed your add card?” she says. “That’s it?”
“Auddy, you’re insane if you’re pissed about this. You get that, right?”
“And . . . what?” she says, ignoring my rhetorical and turning to face forward. “You’re going to do it?”
“Yeah, why not?” I pull into the student lot, scanning for a spot close to the door, but of course we’re running late and there’s nothing convenient here. I slip into a spot along the back side of the building.
“Tanner, do you realize what it is?”
“How could I attend this school and not know what the Seminar is?”
She gives me an aggressively patient look because I’ve just used my mocking voice and she hates it. “You’re going to have to write a book. An entire book.”
When the end of my fuse appears, it is predictably mild: a rougher than normal shove of my door open into the frigid air. “Auddy, what the hell? I thought you told me to add it.”
“Yeah, but you shouldn’t do it if you don’t want it.”
I pull out my best smile again, the one I know she likes. I know I shouldn’t, but hey, you use the tools you have. “Then you shouldn’t call me lazy.”
She lets out this savage growl I think I like. “You’re so lucky and you don’t even know it.”
I ignore her, grabbing my backpack from the trunk. She is confusing as hell.
“Do you see what I mean, though, that it was so easy for you?” She jogs after me. “I had to apply, and interview with him, and, like, grovel. You walked into his office and he signed your add slip.”
“It wasn’t exactly like that. I went to his office, chatted him up for a bit, updated him on my folks, and then he signed my add slip.”
I’m met with silence, and when I turn, I realize she’s walked in the other direction, toward a side entrance. “I’ll see you at lunch, best friend!” I call out. She raises her middle finger.
The warmth inside the hall is heaven, but it’s loud in here and the floors are soggy with dirty, melting snow knocked off boots. I squeak down the hall to my locker, sandwiched between Sasha Sanderson and Jack Thorne, two of the best-looking—and nicest—people at Provo High.
Socially, things here are mixed. Even two and a half years later, I still feel like the new kid, and it’s probably because most of the students here have gone to school together since kindergarten and live within a handful of wards—meaning, they’re in the same congregation and see each other for about a million church activities outside of school. I essentially have Auddy, Eric, and a few other friends who happen to be LDS, but cool, so they don’t drive us too crazy and their parents don’t worry we’re corrupting them. Back in Palo Alto, my freshman year, I was sort of dating another guy for a few months and had a whole group of friends I’d known since kindergarten who didn’t blink when they saw me holding Gabe’s hand. I wish I’d appreciated that freedom more at the time.
Here, girls flirt with me, sure, but most of them are Mormon and would never, not in a million years, be allowed to date me. Most LDS parents hope their children will marry in their Temple, and that just can’t happen with someone like me, a nonmember. Unless I converted, which . . . is never going to happen. Take Sasha for example. I feel something brewing between us; she’s super flirty and touchy, but Autumn insists it could never go anywhere. To an even greater extent, the same is true of my chances here with guys, LDS or otherwise; I don’t get to test those waters in Provo. I’ve had a crush on Jack Thorne since tenth grade, but he’s off-limits for three important reasons: (1) male, (2) Mormon, (3) Provo.
Before she got pissed at me this morning, Auddy handed me, without comment, a sheet of sparkly dinosaur stickers. So, without question, I pocketed them; Autumn is known to hand me things that will be of use at some unknown point in time, and I roll with it. As I open my locker, I realize her motive: I am notoriously bad about remembering my A and B day schedule—we practice an alternating-day class schedule here, with periods one through four on some days and periods five through eight on others. Each term I need to tape my schedule to my locker, and each term I find myself without any tape.
“You’re brilliant,” Sasha says, coming up behind me to better see what I’m doing. “And ohmygod, you’re so cute. Dinosaurs! Tanner, are you eight?”
“I got them from Autumn.”
I hear Sasha’s reaction to this in her silence, the unspoken, Are they, or aren’t they? Everyone wonders whether Autumn and I are casually banging.
As ever, I leave it unanswered. Her suspicion is a good thing. Unwittingly, Autumn has been my shield.
“Nice boots,” I tell her. They reach a suggestive height: just past her knees. I wonder whose attention she’s aiming for the most here: the guys at school, or her parents at home. I give her a dinosaur sticker and a kiss on the cheek as I slip past her down the hall with my books.
Provo High is not by any means a religious school, but sometimes it feels that way. And if there’s one thing you learn quickly about Mormons, it’s that they focus on the positive: positive feelings, positive actions, happy, happy, joy, joy. So Modern Lit with Mrs. Polo starts out with an unexpected and decidedly unhappy bang: The first book we’re reading is The Bell Jar.
I feel a faint murmur around the room as students shift in their seats to make surreptitious eye contact in such dramatic unison that their covert efforts are wasted. Mrs. Polo—wild hair, flowy skirts, rings on thumbs, you know the deal—ignores the commotion. In fact, I think she’s sort of enjoying it. She rocks back on her heels, waiting for us to return to the syllabus and see what else she has in store for us.
Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible, Elie Wiesel’s Night, Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Jeannette Walls’s The Glass Castle, and on and on into Toni Morrison’s Sula, and even James Goddamn Frey’s fake memoir. Perhaps most shocking is Sinclair Lewis’s Elmer Gantry, a novel dealing with fanatical religion and a tent-revival-style creepy preacher. It’s pretty on the nose. Mrs. Polo is ballsy, and I for one like seeing their cages rattled.
At my side, and still giving me the silent treatment, Autumn is sitting up, eyes wide. She’s read almost every book on this list, and if I know her, I know what she’s thinking: Is there time to transfer to Shakespeare with Mr. Geiser?
She turns and looks at me, her eyes narrowing as she reads my mind right back. She growls again, and I can’t help the laugh it pulls from me.
I’ve read almost all these books too. Autumn insisted.
I lean back, lacing my fingers behind my head and giving her another good smile.
Piece of cake. I have an easy semester ahead.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This was such a fantastically happy book. I gave me all the warm and fuzzy feeling that I want from a contemporary romance. But there was a lot of heart and beautiful character moments as well. Autoboyography follows Tanner Smith, a bisexual main character who is back (temporarily) in the closet after moving from California to a majority Mormon three years earlier. Tanner is read to coast through his last semester of high school, but his best friend dares him to take the prestigious “Seminar” where students attempt to write a complete draft for a novel in 4 months. Tanner thinks it will be a breeze, but complications arise when he meets the class mentor Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before. Things I Liked I really loved Tanner, and related to him quite a bit personality wise. He’s a very go-with-the-flow kind of person and I can relate. He’s also a bit of a procrastinator, but he is smart and dedicated to school. I LOVED that we get explicit conversations about Tanner being bisexual, and what being bi means for him vs what other people’s expectations are for him being bi. Tanner’s parents were fantastic and so incredibly supportive. I appreciated that they weren’t absent parents, especially given they both have demanding jobs that could have kept them off page. Tanner has a fantastic conversation with his dad about balancing friendships and romantic relationships and it was one of my favorite moments in the entire book! I absolutely LOVED the romance in the story. Tanner and Sebastian are so cute and adorable and make me feel all the feels. Their relationship obviously isn’t smooth sailing and there are fights and frustrations, but I was completely invested in every minute of it - rooting for them & cheering them on. My heart went out to Sebastian for the entire book. While I may have related to Tanner more, Sebastian had my heart. His journey in the story is both heartbreaking and inspiring. Coming from a deeply religious background, where his church community doesn’t tolerate same sex relationships, Seb has to deal with some internalized homophobia in himself and his family. Following him on his journey and seeing his growth was amazing. I was just so proud of him and where he ended up. There was this pure jovial humor throughout the story that was really engaging and made connecting to the characters incredibly easy. And while the humor made the story really easy to read, it didn’t take meaning away from any of the more serious scenes. Things I Didn’t Like I would have liked to see more from Autumn and Tanner’s friendship. I feel like we didn’t really get much from them in the first half, and there’s some drama in the second half that made their interactions a little wonky. I feel like there were definitely some situations where Tanner could have used a friend and it would have developed their relationship, and Autumn as a character, further. This was just the one of the best contemporary books I’ve read in awhile. We get a very honest look at how sexuality and religion intersect in people’s lives, and the struggles of reconciling both identities. Autoboyography is pitched as Fangirl meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, and if like either of those books, you’ll probably like this as well. It’s a well crafted coming of age story, with heart and a swoon worthy romance you're guaranteed to love. I received a copy of the book from Simon Pulse in exchange for an honest review.
I’ll admit that it was the synopsis of this book that grabbed me. The first chapter captivated me. The story. The words? Absolutely blew me away. Eighteen year old Tanner Scott is quite comfortable with who he is. But his move to conservative Utah has him back in the shadows. That is until his move out of state for college. He decides on a dare to take class where he must write a book in a semester his senior year. Easy right? Four months is no time at all. But in those four months he falls in love with Sebastian. And his life is never the same. Autoboyography is an experience. One told in truth, with grace, and powerful poise. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, but I am one of the lucky ones to have lived through the eyes of these characters. I was moved beyond words. Their voices were loud, even in their silence. I know I am not giving much here, but everyone needs to read this book. Go in blind. The story will awaken you. Push and challenge your thoughts and beliefs. It’s a poignant story. Authentic. Inspiring. The beauty of the complexity of the story is manifested in the characters and everything they encounter. I was absolutely captivated. You feel their struggle, but most of all their love.
One of my favorite Christina Lauren books yet! A beautiful representation of a budding M/M romance with the added pressures of organized religion, family expectations and small town living. A great read with lots of swoons, heartichokes and sighs. I hope teens (and adults) in the LGBTQ community find themselves represented in the novel and thoroughly enjoy the read.
I have loved everything Lo and C put out, but I was exceptionally excited for this book. I loved loved loved Tanner and his family. His parents are so delightful, adorable, and supportive. I loved seeing their openness and the bickering with Hailey. It made them feel real to me. Sebastian was sweet and unsure and it really worked. And because it's a CLo book, you could cut the UST with a knife. Plot wise, it was exactly what I was expecting. This story is filled with sweet moments and secrets and heartbreak and several pages of WITAF and above all, hopefulness. I struggled to get to the end only because I didn't ever want it to end, but it unfolded in the most delicious slow burn. Every kid, no matter of their sexuality or identity, should have the experience of growing up with the bumper stickers, aprons, and open, accepting talks Tanner does. Sadly, I know this often doesn't happen and I hope hope hope that those who seek solace and need reassurance will be able to find it. Perhaps in this story. **Huge thanks to Simon and Schuster BFYR for providing the arc free of charge**
Honestly, it's definitely a new favorite! Provides some interesting commentary on the intersection/consequences of LGBTQ+ community and the Christian faith, specifically the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. But its creatively intertwined with a beautiful and exciting love story that you can't help but root for. It sucked me in and I couldn't stop reading... I spent 8+ hours reading because I was so excited to discover the ending. Give it a try, I promise, you won't regret it.
I bought this book for my sister, who doesn't tend to prefer to read physical books. But after she read this one, she told me I'd have to read it as well- which means she really liked it.
I know I kinda already reviewed this book on Goodreads, but I feel like I should post one on here as well. I loved the book from the get go. I was drawn to the cover, the title and the synopsis alone was the big sales pitch. I read through this book quickly as I couldn't stand to not know the outcome of these two crossed lovers. At first I felt for Tanner, having to bare a secret and forcibly go back into the closet as he lives in conservative Utah. He falls for someone that he's not sure if he'll reciprocate the same sort of feelings. What I loved most about this book is how scary accurate it is to everyday life. I felt for Sebastian too as he struggles to love himself and find the courage to stand his ground while walking a line of faith and sexuality. Now, I'm no expert of the Latter Day Saints, but I can imagine it being difficult to be a gay man in that community. I just love how we get both sides of the coin with Tanner's family and Sebastian's. I love the ending though and I highly recommend everyone and their significant other to GO READ THIS BEAUTIFUL WORK!
I loved it and it broke my heart and it mad me happy and sad it was amazing and I would have changed some things but it was good
This book was one of the best I've read so far. You get emotionally thrown around, but in a good way!
So good! I highly recommend this book. It had some drama, some heartbreak, and some growing feelings that made me swoon. I’m giving this 5 out of 5 stars. The story is great. You can see the attraction growing, and unfolding, the farther we get into the book. The narrators (mostly just one) were amazing. I will definitely see what else they’ve narrated. A lot of characters were amazing: Tanner, Autumn, Tanner’s parents for the most part, the seminar teacher, and even Sebastian…although I feel like I need to have some words with him. The epilogue was adorable, and made the ups and downs seem worthwhile. I didn’t cry, but I felt myself get misty eyed a couple times. Read this book!
I highly enjoyed this book. It was an emotional rollercoaster. I read this in class and I did have trouble keeping in my emotions. If you read this book you will feel happy, sad, anxious, and excited for the characters. At one point, I yelled out "WHAT THE HECK?!" This is a great book for gay romance. Especially if you yourself are part of the LGBT community. I am bisexual myself, so I personally connected with this book and the teens' struggles with their identity and with the religious community around them. This book is amazing. I read it in two days. I hope you read this wonderful book. It is definitely worth your time!
Oh, my heart. I had so many feelings about this book, and these characters, and the struggles they faced while falling in love. I'm a sucker for books about writers--especially writers struggling with the writing process--and I loved how the source of Tanner's struggle wasn't in finishing a novel in a semester, but in knowing that he wouldn't be able to turn in his written account of his own love story without outing the boy he'd fallen for. AUTOBOYOGRAPHY is set in Provo, Utah, a city heavily influenced by Mormon history and culture, and although it has plenty to say about the ways in which religion and queerness intersect, and about the LDS attitude toward LGBT teens, it never sets out to attack the church. If anything, the authors do a remarkably fair job of presenting the different sides of Mormonism and how belonging to the church has both positive and negative impacts on gay and straight characters alike. I hoped for a happy ending the whole time I was reading, but I didn't expect to be so emotional about the resolution of Tanner and Sebastian's story, and I definitely didn't expect to devour the whole book in a weekend. Christina Lauren have really outdone themselves this time.
Autoboyography completely grabbed my attention and touched my soul. Tanner and Sebastian’s story was full of pain and hurt, but also full of young love, self discovery and the joys of coming into your own. The story is a young adult coming of age story about the pain of having to remain in the closet while wanting to scream to the world your love for the one person you aren’t supposed to fall for. ‘His voice is both low and quiet, and it has this hypnotic rhythm to it. I wonder whether someday he’ll give sermons with that voice, whether he’ll throw down judgment with that voice.‘ This book took me back years when I spent most weekends wrapped in blankets on the couch watching the movie, Latter Days, with my two best friends on repeat. Much like this book that movie touched something deep inside me. While the two stories are vastly different the subject matter is quite similar. This reminder of my past warmed my heart and had me in tears. Sadly over five years ago I lost one of those friends to depression. He was unable to deal with the pain that comes from being gay in a society that wants you to be straight. Reading this story in a day took me through a myriad of emotions. I laughed out loud, had tears streaming down my face, and a sense of joy when it all came to an end. I was left with an epic book hangover and it is going to take something special to pull me out of it. This was a top read for me and I highly recommend it. ~miranda
Tanner moved to a small town of Mormon majority in Utah a few years ago, even though he is bi and jalf-jewish. Because of that, despite giving full support about his sexuality, his family thinks it's best if he goes back into the closet. It had never been a problem until a semester before graduating he meets Sebastian, son of a bishop and an example of how a good Mormon should act. Sebastian is a TA, supposed to help him write a book as part of his grade of a class called The Seminar. But how can Tanner even hand in this paper if all he can write about is his feelings for his tutor? I was surprised by the length of the book, it's not colossal but from the plot I wouldn't have thought there was so much to write about. As I read, I understood. Christina Lauren took her time to explain the religious aspects of the matter, make us see both sides. I really appreciated her effort, since I didn't known much about them myself. The story didn't feel slow because of that but it did get repetitive, if not predictable at a point. So this is more like a 3.5 that deserved being rounded up. Still, this was a good book. Both Tanner and Sebastian are very cute boys, I could only wish he best for them. Tanner could be a little too pushy, forcing Sebastian to take a stand while the boy was still pretty much lost on who he was, but even that I easily forgave. It's not easy to hate Tanner. Also, I liked that the author managed to include Sebastian's flaws and still portray him as the perfect guy, that was an interesting effect. Both families play important roles and, different from so many YA's, they aren't a blur. Each parent and even the siblings were given personalities, reacting accordingly. Unfortunately, that works against the two, but they were still important pieces to the story. I think this book will appeal to those who liked Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda as well as Openly Straight. The way the plot moved actually reminded me a lot of the latter and its sequel Honestly Ben. I prefer the series but Autoboyography had a more serious and deeper take, especially since it dealt with a religion. This book will surely make you think as the issue goes far beyond what said religion preaches. Lauren explored very well all conflicts, giving me lots of food for thoughts. I'll probably still think about all this for a while. Honest review based on an ARC provided by Edelweiss. Many thanks to the publisher for this opportunity.
Such a great story! A MUST read for EVERYONE. Even if you don't read contemporary YA you still NEED to read this one. This should be added to reading lists for high schools across the country! I was so blown away by Christina Lauren’s Autoboyography that I emailed two of my former English professors to recommend the book to them for their YA Lit classes they have for teaching majors. I believe this book should be added to all high school reading lists across the world!! Why was I blown away? Book Hangover: Autoboyography is one of those novels I will be thinking about weeks after listening to it. This rarely happens to me. Sure I stay stuck on a book for a day or two maybe but weeks?! I can count on one hand how many books have stayed with me that long. This novel is so beautifully written. They layers to the story, romance and characters can be broken down into other stories or possibilities. Yes the core of the story is a romance between two teenagers. That in of itself has heighten emotions. That first crush or love is special, scary and in some case forbidden. We’ve all ready novels with a Romeo and Juliet, star-crossed lover thing. Maybe one person is from a wealthy family and the other isn’t so they are divided by their classes. Others are forbidden (not to the level as a few decades ago) because they are not of the same race. Maybe the couple is from different religious beliefs. Then there’s the issue of gender or sexual orientation. The latter two are the big issues Tanner and Sebastian face. Tanner is bi-sexual and his family is supportive of it. His parents had their own issues when they were dating (different religious backgrounds) so they know some of the issues that can tear a family apart. Sebastian is a ‘straight’ LDS (Latter-Day Saints, aka Mormon) guy who is heavy into his church and family. So these two young men have many issues to deal with internally and externally if they are going to be together. I know little to nothing about LDS, just the typical stereo-types and I feel like I learned a lot by listening to Autoboyography (yes it’s fiction but the authors did their research to get the details right and I love that they didn’t demonize the church. Which if you listen to the authors/narrator interview at the end of the audio book which I highly recommend (the audio version and the interview) then you will know that was one of their main goals.) If you’re not into audiobooks but can get your hands on a copy from the library you really should listen to the bonus interview at the end. In any case you NEED to read and/or listen to the masterpiece by Christina Lauren. I don’t care if Contemporary, YA and/or GLBT is not your “thing”. You will enjoy this book on a human level. This romance, much like Tanner’s story he writes in the novel, could be edited to be set on the moon with two other characters falling in love, it wouldn’t matter. The love and heart the author duo put into their writing and characters would still shine through and WOW you all the same.