Saturday, May 12, 2018

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Narrated by
Deacon Lee & Kyle Mason
Synopsis (via Goodreads):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.
But how can I send my heart to him when he's just said, in no uncertain terms, that he doesn't speak its language?
All the smiling hurt my cheeks! I loved being inside Tanner's head and hearing his thoughts. He was adorable, funny, and I thoroughly enjoyed his story.

I cannot imagine being an open bisexual and suddenly having to pretend that I'm not. I understand his parents were worried about him living in a very religious community, but he shouldn't have to hide himself away until it's safe for him to be who he is. Speaking of his parents, I loved how overly supportive they were of their children. When they found out he was bisexual, they told him nothing had changed, and he was free to be himself no matter what (until they moved to Utah and didn't want things to be harder for him). Tanner repeatedly mentions how lucky he is, because most children don't get that unconditional love from their parents, and it was a joy to read about a family that supported rather than condemned. 

Sebastian's parents are not as accepting, and it frustrated the hell out of me when they said or did something that was judgmental of others. I'm not familiar with the Mormon church or their beliefs, but I think the authors (Christina and Lauren are two separate people), did a wonderful job of conveying their ideology. In reality, it's not much different from the religion I grew up with, and it makes me wonder about a lot of things, but that's a conversation for another time.

Sebastian is confused and conflicted about himself, and Tanner is blissfully uncomplicated. I thought the two of them were fun to watch, and it was easy to see how Tanner wrote a book based on his thoughts alone. At times they were poetic and funny, but others had a sadness to them that was hard to hear. The audiobook for this was outstanding! I really wanted more of this story as soon as it ended, but it left me with a smile.

Autumn was an amazing best friend! I wish Tanner had confided in her sooner, but their relationship had its own complications. They haven't known each other very long, but the ease of their friendship was beautiful. You know they're going to stay in touch no matter where they are in life.

Autoboyography had a lot of highs and just as many lows. The ending was a tad confusing because the perspective changes without any warning. We've been in Tanner's head for the majority of the book, but then suddenly Sebastian is getting his thoughts out there. Even when Tanner does pop back up, it's weird. I wasn't in his head anymore, but viewing things from another perspective. I wish the authors had kept things the same, because changing everything really messed up the flow for me.

Overall, this was an incredible story that I loved listening to. Tanner and Sebastian are so very different, but they share something important. It was easy to fall in love with them and wish for the best. A person's identity is important and shouldn't be a secret, but that's hard when your family (the people that are supposed to love you the most) cannot accept the truth of who you are. 

18 comments:

  1. I wish I liked romance now...🙂

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    1. I wouldn't call this a romance! There was a relationship, but that was in no way the focus of this book. Tanner has a brilliant mind, and I enjoyed viewing the world through his perspective. He's compassionate and loves his family. He also adores Autumn and would do anything for her. The thing with Sebastian was hard for Tanner for so many reasons, but it was also easy in the ways that mattered.

      The issues Sebastian faced were more of a focal point, I think. Tanner struggling to understand the mindset of a LDS family. Their struggles and triumphs were important, but this book was so much more than their feelings. I think it shows a lot of important aspects of the world we live in today, and how someone's identity isn't always accepted. Children shouldn't be afraid to be who they are.

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  2. I keep hearing about this one and it's been released in French as well. I need to try one day.

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    1. Nice! Do you prefer reading your books in French?

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  3. Sounds like an emotional story. I’d be so torn while reading it I bet.

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    1. It was hard to watch someone struggle with their identity because they were afraid of how they would be perceived within the community. I also wish Tanner had been able to be himself from the start, but I can understand his parent's hesitancy. SO MANY GOOD THINGS about this book! I think it makes a lot of valid points about the world we live in today.

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  4. That sounds interesting and emotional.

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    1. It was both! I enjoyed it a lot.

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  5. Wow that is...yeah not the best place to move then

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    1. His mom was offered her dream job, so they decided to take it. It wasn't done lightly or without a lot of discussion, but I do think it hurt their son. They may have loved and accepted him, but they also didn't want him to be out in their new community. They were afraid of how people would treat him, but he shouldn't have to hide who he is.

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  6. I've had this book since it came out but I've not had the chance to read it. I'm so looking forward to reading it, though. I can only imagine the kind of frustration Sebastian went through. Hoping it worked out in the end.

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    1. It was a wonderful reading experience! I listened to the audiobook, but I plan on purchasing a physical copy in the near future! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. :)

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  7. This one is sitting on my favorites shelf, because I absolutely loved it! Other than that Autumn blip, it was perfection for me. A+ parents for Tanner, an adorable romance, and I really liked the way the authors dealt with the church portion of the story.

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    1. Yes to everything you just said! The Autumn blip was weird and really surprised me. Afterwards, their explanations and justifications were a little too nonchalant. I feel like I would be embarrassed and mortified, but I guess they had a pretty solid friendship.

      The romance was so sweet! I loved watching it progress from infatuation to something more. I agree that the authors handled the religion well! They didn't bash the idea or try to make the group seem evil, but simply showed how the community might react to certain things.

      It's a favorite for me, too!

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  8. This is such a great book--I'm glad you enjoyed it too! The romance is so sweet while also tackling some tough topics, and I agree that Autumn is BFF goals. I also agree that the ending was a bit weird, but nothing I can't forgive. :)

    (P.S. Thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog, and sorry for taking so long to return the favor--this semester was brutal, but it's over!)

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    1. No worries! Yay to the semester being over! I remember those days and relishing the few weeks when I wasn't in school. FREEDOM. Haha!

      I do think the authors discussed some very sensitive topics without creating a villain. It's important for people to understand that different doesn't mean bad, so we should try to be accepting of other beliefs. However, that didn't make Sebastian's situation any easier, or the one Tanner's mom and aunt had to go through.

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  9. Yay! So glad you enjoyed this one! I am *super* stingy with my 5 star ratings but this one got 5 stars when I read it back in January. I just adored Tanner. He was so precious and so open and loving. And while there were times I was frustrated with Sebastian, my heart also hurt for him and when it came to scene between him and Tanner’s mom... I just sobbed for him. Now I’m curious about the audio version so I might have to do an audio re-read!

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    1. The audiobook was great! I feel like the narrator really captured Tanner's feelings and adorable personality. Like you said, he was so open and loving! I really enjoyed him as a character.

      The ending is the only reason I didn't give this one 5 stars. I didn't like how the perspective/POV changed at the end. It was one way for the entire book, and then it wasn't. I understand they wanted the reader to know what Sebastian was thinking/feeling, but it really messed up the flow for me.

      That scene was heartbreaking! I think it's the first time he felt accepted for everything and not just what he showed the world.

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