1:00 pm EDT, August 4, 2017

‘Autoboyography’ by Christina Lauren book review: An essential YA novel about discovery, love, and acceptance

Prepare to fall in love with Autoboyography by Christina Lauren. The incredible YA novel will make you emotional, but you’ll be all the better for having read it.

Related: Exclusive: Autoboyography by Christina Lauren: Cover reveal and excerpt

About ‘Autoboyography’ by Christina Lauren:

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.

‘Autoboyography’ by Christina Lauren review:

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren is so beautiful, and so important, that I’m worried this review won’t adequately describe just how amazing it is — but I’ll do my best.

For readers that are familiar with Christina Lauren, the author duo describes this book as their greatest project to date. They’re sincerely passionate about the story and the issues tackled within and it definitely comes across to the reader. Every word and sentence in the novel is written with care and consciously tells a love story that defies all the odds.

Tanner is the main protagonist of the story, and despite being raised in a loving and supportive family — he’s had to go back into the closet when his family moves to Utah. Because of his mother’s past experience with the Mormon church, which heavily populates Utah, Tanner promises his family that his sexuality will remain a secret until he’s safely back in California for college.

This means that even though Tanner has friends, and even a best friend named Autumn, most of the people around him don’t really know him. He’s not exactly hiding who he is, but he’s not exactly being his full self either.

That is, until he meets Sebastian and everything changes. No longer can Tanner keep his secrets inside when they’re bursting to get out. Tanner doesn’t even expect Sebastian to have the same feelings. He’s a big part of the Mormon community, so even just being friends is questionable, usually they like to keep to members within their own church. But the Seminar brings them together when Tanner struggles to get started on his book’s draft.

Autoboyography starts off quite adorable, with feelings left unsaid, sneaky eye contact, and boy blushes. Once feelings start to get deeper, and admissions are made, the boys relationship becomes more important and also riskier.

One the one hand, if Tanner’s secret gets out he’s likely to be shunned by those in the town that don’t agree with same sex relationships, even those he once considered friends could turn on him. On the other hand, Sebastian is risking being excommunicated by his family and his religion which has defined him his entire life. Sebastian’s family has big plans for him, including marrying a Mormon girl.

Both Tanner and Sebastian have to decide if they’re okay with being each other’s secrets. For Tanner his time being in the closet is on a time limit. Sebastian has to decide what he wants in the future, where his place is in the church, and learn how to accept that sometimes people will hate you for what you’re doing even if it’s not wrong.

Autoboyography is a roller coaster ride of emotions as the boys discover how to navigate love and others expectations of them. Keep some tissues handy, because Tanner and Sebastian’s story is sure to bring tears to reader’s eyes.

The novel is hard to put down once you start, and even harder to stop thinking about once you’ve finished reading it. In my opinion, Autoboyography is one of the best young adult novels to be published in our time. And I sincerely hope that it makes it in the hands of anyone trying to learn who they are, and trying to love themselves when others don’t.

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren goes on-sale September 12! The book is available for pre-order through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Indie Bound, and Books-A-Million.

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