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Can Anybody Find Me Somebody To Love?

Forever Young Adult Presents: A review of Boyfriends with Girlfriends by Alex Sanchez

Can Anybody Find Me Somebody To Love?

BOOK REPORT for Boyfriends with Girlfriends by Alex Sanchez

Cover Story: Not Bad
BFF Charm: Maybe
Swoonworthy Scale: 6
Talky Talk: Dissection Overload
Bonus Factors: LGBTQ, Diversity, Tiny Cooper Lite
Relationship Status: I Know This Kid You Should Totally Meet

Cover Story: Not Bad

There're a lot of body parts in this picture, but everyone has a head, so that's good. Also, half of the parts aren't white -- getting better. The Sharpie tattoo thing is kind of cute, and is repeated in the rest of the book design, and overall the cover's not too bad.

The Deal:

So Lance is totally gay -- his parents knew before he did -- and he's got a date with a hot guy he met online. Sergio's totally bi, and his last serious relationship was with a girl. His BFF is Kimiko, who's a totally adorable butch lesbian (the kind of girl a college roommate of mine used to squeal over and call a "baby dyke" and immediately befriend and try to protect from the crazy drama of our uni's lesbian scene), has the hots for Allie, Lance's BFF. Allie's one of those perfect, blonde hotties with a perfect, hot boyfriend who Kimiko KNOWS never falls for girls -- but Allie starts to fall for Kimiko anyway. Got that? Anybody need a program?

BFF Charm: Maybe

I really liked all the kids -- they were funny and caring and kind, but I don't feel like I got to know them very well (more on that in a minute). They're the kinds of kids I'd love to have hanging out at my library, the kind of kids every teacher wants in class. They work hard and love their mamas, but they're very definitely kids. And before you give me that look that says, "Duh, it's a YA book," what I MEAN is, the central drama in the book revolves around the early days of their relationships -- like COMPLETELY around the early days of their relationships -- and while I loved hanging at the mall and talking on the phone and driving around aimlessly as a teenager, I need a little more in my relationships as an adult. But they're sweet and adorable, and definitely the kind of kid I hope my son is and is friends with when he's in high school.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

There's a lot of chemistry between Lance and Sergio, and things get pretty smokin' as they figure out what to do with their different sexualities and dramatically different levels of experience in a relationship. Allie and Kimiko are totally adorable, all butterflies and anxiety and almost-kisses. All this should have a higher swoon worthy scale, but the undiluted nature of the story makes it lose potency after a while -- without any contrast to other parts of their lives, the sexual tension between the characters grew less effective.

Talky Talk: Dissection Overload

Sanchez perfectly captured the near-painful hyperanalysis stage of a relationship, where you call your BFF on the way home from a date to go over every single detail and try to figure out what every word, expression, intonation, and gesture meant, then second (and third) guess your conclusions. And he does it for both sides of two relationships -- that's four characters. FOUR. And there's not much else in the book besides the dates, the awkward meet-the-parents, the misunderstandings, and the analysis. It was super fun at first to get to listen in on all the giddy, "OMG, he did what?!" and some of the experiences were a little sad even while they were sweet, like Lance's sexual awakening, but I wanted more. BUT. That's not the point of the book, and it's almost definitely a case of, "It's not you, it's me." There's actually a whole lot going on in the book -- see the bonus factors -- but the framework of meet-date-intense-relationship-convo was tiring to me, an old lady who's been with the same guy for 10 years, married for almost 8, and has been on exactly 2 dates with her partner in the last 2 years.

Bonus Factor: LGBTQ

This book is awesome because it stretches across a huge spectrum of LGBT experience -- totally gay, bi, questioning, lesbian -- and the different ways the kids identify themselves within the community. Lance has a really hard time accepting Sergio could really be bisexual, because he is so gay it's impossible for him to fathom liking both girls AND guys, and watching him open his mind to different types of sexuality was great. The kids all have different home lives, too, from totally open and accepting to semi-closeted and unsupportive, as well as different levels of sexual experience. It's great to see the real spectrum of teenagers' experience represented.

Bonus Factor: Diversity

And on that note, the kids aren't all white, either! Allie and Lance are white kids who go to a private school, but Kimiko is Japanese American (and actually terrible at math, despite her teachers' assumptions) and Sergio is Latino, and they go to public school. Allie's naive-white-girl obsession with Japanese pop culture made me cringe a little bit, but hey, if it didn't bother Kimiko, I guess it shouldn't bother me, and I can't say I didn't go through a naive-white-girl obsession with other cultures at one point or another in my youth.

Bonus Factor: Tiny Cooper Lite

Don't go rushing out to read the book on the strength of this bonus factor alone, but Lance is kind of a tiny Tiny Cooper. He doesn't have the magical PRESENCE of Tiny, but he's a gentle, show-tunes-loving guy with a huge heart who just wants to find somebody to love.

Casting Call:

Jonathan Lipnicki as Lance

YOU GUYS, THIS IS THE JERRY MAGUIRE KID ALL GROWN UP. Well, there are other pictures of him REALLY all grown up out there, but Lance would be too embarrassed if they got out, so you get this one.

Relationship Status: I Know This Kid You Should Totally Meet

While this book and I had a nice time, and I think it's adorable and sweet, we didn't hit it off in THAT way. We're not at the same stage in life, but I do think it's great and there are lots of people out there I'd love to fix it up with.

Meghan Miller's photo About the Author: Meghan is an erstwhile librarian in exile from Texas and writer for Forever Young Adult. She loves books, cooking and homey things like knitting and vintage cocktails. Although she’s around books all the time, she doesn’t get to read as much as she’d like.