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So, Mike Might Be Gay

S.J. Goslee’s Whatever.: or how junior year became totally [email protected] could be a lot more serious about the serious topic of sexual identity.

So, Mike Might Be Gay

BOOK REPORT for Whatever.: or how junior year became totally [email protected] by S.J. Goslee

Cover Story: Head in the Clouds Words
BFF Charm: Roger Murtaugh
Swoonworthy Scale: 3
Talky Talk: Unappealing Narrator
Anti-Bonus Factor: Making Light of a Heavy Situation
Relationship Status: Get Off My Lawn

Cover Story: Head in the Clouds Words

Stock photography is way overused on YA covers, but this juxtaposition of a random dude in front of a cloudy sky is actually more interesting than most. I’d have left off the tagline to give the cover more intrigue, but that’s just me.

The Deal:

At the start of his junior year, Mike thinks it’s going to be the best year yet. He and his friends play in a band, they get drunk or high whenever they want, and he has a hot girlfriend. But then his girlfriend breaks up with him—and he realizes that he might not be as into girls as he thought.

It’s not that he’s against the idea, mind you, but the fact that he never thought about it before is causing all sorts of stress, and totally messing with the chill vibe he had planned for the year.

BFF Charm: Roger Murtaugh

I feel for Mike’s internal turmoil, I really do. Discovering that you’re not who you thought you were is a lot to deal with. I tried really hard to give him the benefit of the doubt—he is a teenage boy, after all, and therefore inherently terrible. But man … he’s pretty awful. And definitely someone I would have avoided while in high school, and not only because of the number of times he attends school hung over or wakes up on the floor of a friends room and doesn’t bother showering before he goes on with his day. I do appreciate that he goes out of his way to make friends with and stand up for people who are on the fringe, but that doesn’t completely make up for his other sub-par traits.

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

After realizing that he’s not completely straight, Mike finds himself “dating” a guy who’s also struggling to figure himself out. And although their relationship progresses past the kissing stage, it’s sadly not all that hot. I feel like the scene is a pretty accurate of two teenage boys and their raging hormones, but I would have appreciated more swoon between the two, rather than one-sided animosity which awkwardly morphs into attraction.

Talky Talk: Unappealing Narrator

Whatever. is told in third-person present tense, which can be clunky at the best of times. In the case of this novel, it’s even more awkward because of how closely the narration matches Mike’s personality; the entire book reads a little like Mike’s talking about himself in third-person, which, to be honest, I wouldn’t put past him.

I do appreciate S.J. Goslee’s characters, however. They’re all extremely real—in some cases, too real—and fallibly human. Mike and his friends seem like people I knew or knew of in high school. They don’t shy away from awkwardness (even if they wish they could) and can be total assholes to each other, even when they mean best.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Making Light of a Heavy Situation

Although I’ve never had to come to terms with a discovery like Mike’s, Whatever. treats him realizing that he’s bisexual too much like a joke. I believe Goslee might have been trying to show that sexuality shouldn’t be such a big deal, but it came off as callous and undermining of the true impact of such self-discovery.

Casting Call:

Brenton Thwaites—with this hair, but minus the pedo ‘stache—as Mike

Relationship Status: Get Off My Lawn

I hate to say it, Book, as I never try to judge like this, but … you’re just too young for me. I appreciate the gravity of what you’re going through, and I appreciate a high school revist as much as the next YA fan, but I like to connect with my books, and you just made me feel old and crabby.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Roaring Book Press, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Whatever. is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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