Sunday 8 September 2013

Book Review-Boyfriends with Girlfriends by Alex Sanchez

Title: Boyfriends with Girlfriends

 Author: Alex Sanchez
Series:  N/A
Published:  April 2011 by Simon and Schuster
Length:  219 pagesSource: bought
Other info: Alex has written The Rainbow Boys trilogy (which I was going to review for Rainbow Reads but gave up after three pages so I'm not) and many other prominant LGBT books.
Summary : Lance has always known he was gay, but he's never had a real boyfriend. Sergio is bisexual, but his only real relationship was with a girl. When the two of them meet, they have an instant connection--but will it be enough to overcome their differences? Allie's been in a relationship with a guy for the last two years--but when she meets Kimiko, she can't get her out of her mind. Does this mean she's gay? Does it mean she's bi? Kimiko, falling hard for Allie, and finding it impossible to believe that a gorgeous girl like Allie would be into her, is willing to stick around and help Allie figure it out.
Boyfriends with Girlfriends is Alex Sanchez at his best, writing with a sensitive hand to portray four very real teens striving to find their places in the world--and with each other.

Review:Sergio is bisexual, Lance and Kimiko are gay, Allie's not entirely sure. A meet up with Sergio and Lance leads to them getting together, and to Kimiko and Allie maybe getting together. There's a lot of differences in between them, and lots of questions to be answered.

I added this to my wishlist because there's just not that many books with prominent bisexual characters (at least, I can't think of many), and I feel like I should know about what representation we do have.  

Boyfriends with Girlfriends is a very character  book. centering around two sets of romantic relationships and the relevant friendships involved. Both romantic relationships start at the start of the novel and develop very differently over the course of the novel.

I like the racial diversity (Sergio is Latino, I think, and Kimiko is Japanese). Sorry, in literature (most media really) there's not that many non-white queer characters, which is something I'd really like to see change over time.

The characters, I felt, were very stock-y. Three secure in their sexuality, one not, the lesbian being your standard cut out of cardboard uber dyke, many stereotypes for all of them, not much more than that to them. I kind of related to Sergio and Kimiko, Allie was nice enough, and Lance pissed me off to no end in the first half of the book.

The writing isn’t very good. It’s immature at times, and simple, and it didn’t make me want to keep reading.

Boyfriends with Girlfriends approaches bisexuality from opposite ends of the spectrum-the one confident and secure with his, and the one starting to discover hers. 
I very much like the fact that Sergio constantly challenges Lance’s opinion that bisexuals are closeted homosexuals. Thank you someone for making that clear!

There’s some nice scenes with  Kimiko’s family and Sergio’s family regarding acceptance, but these seemed to take a backseat which is sad, cos these were interesting.

I like the fact that not everything ends amazingly. With the way the relationships were going, it didn’t seem likely that they would, but still. This is kind of realistic.

Overall:  Strength 2.5, slightly more a 3, to a book that looks at bisexuality well, but doesn’t do very well in terms of plot and character.

PS- datassguardian has very eloquently voiced the thoughts I have on this book. Posted with permission.

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Thanks for taking time to read this!
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Nina xxx

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