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Bland Like Me

They always say you should fall in love with your best friend. But in Will Walton's debut novel, a boy falls in love with his straight buddy. Hey, Anything Could Happen, right?

Bland Like Me

BOOK REPORT for Anything Could Happen by Will Walton

Cover Story: Wingardium Leviosa
Drinking Buddy: No
Testosterone Level: Negative
Talky Talk: Four Subplots in Search of a Character
Bonus Factor: Cute Nerd Girl
Bromance Status: The Kid the Teacher Made Me Be Friends With

 Cover Story: Wingardium Leviosa

To be said in that snooty Hermione Granger voice.

Not only do we have a giant teen face, we have a a scene that didn't occur in the book.

The Deal:

Fifteen-year-old Tretch has never been a popular kid. Kind of nerdy and wimpy, he's a target for bullies. Fortunately, there's Matt, his best friend and protector. His buddy. His bro. Tall, popular, and handsome. So very, very handsome.

Yeah, Tretch realizes what's going on here. He's in love with his best friend. Which would be a great thing if Matt were gay. But, despite Matt's two fathers, he's totally straight. And Tretch is still closeted. Does he risk everything and tell Matt how he feels? Or does he hide his feelings and pretend everything's hunky dory?

Drinking Buddy: No

Tretch reacts to a crisis in one of three ways: He cries, he faints, or he vomits.

I kept waiting for the brave public coming out, the slug the bully redemption, or the hot hookup with a secondary character, but it never happened.

Testosterone Level: Negative

Tretch is closeted, so Matt has no qualms about undressing in front of him in locker rooms or during sleep overs. This, of course, does not make things easy on Tretch. And there's Bobby, the kid who keeps making fun of Tretch and Matt. He calls them gay, not realizing he's half right, and sometimes pushes Tretch.

But there's not a lot of sexual smolder, and the bully is kind of just phoning it in. The few people Tretch comes out to are more or less totally accepting. I never once worried about him, nor did I cheer.

Talky Talk: Four Subplots in Search of a Character

This was a short (under 300 pages) book, yet there were a lot of subplots. None of them went anywhere. Sickness in Tretch's family. Matt's new girlfriend. Matt's two fathers. The problems Tretch's father is having at work. Tretch secretly training himself to dance. Bobby the bully. Everything just kind of petered out with no resolution.

I didn't like dislike Tretch, but I didn't like him. There was not a lot at stake in the book, so I had a hard time getting into it. And then it sort of ended.

Bonus Factor: Cute Nerd Girl

And then there's Lana, Tretch's friend who is totally and absolutely crushing on him. A geeky Jewish girl, she works in a book store, buys Tretch books, and constantly flirts with him in that joking matter people do when they're terrified of rejection. Tretch's parents love Lana and keep badgering him to take her out. This would be the perfect set up, if it weren't for one tiny little complication.

Lana was a truly likeable character. Except she liked A Separate Peace, which is grounds for dumping anyone.

Bromance Status: The Kid the Teacher Made Me Be Friends With

It's a shame people don't understand LGBTQ books and I'm glad Mrs. Pund made us be partners on that that assignment. But I don't really want to hang out. Oh, c'mon, don't cry...

Full disclosure: I received neither money nor liquor for writing this review.

Brian Katcher's photo About the Author: Brian Katcher wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.