Title: Being True
Author: Jacob Z. Flores
Genre: YA M/M (Gay Romance)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I was seeking a good YA novel in gay romance, and Flores really delivered beyond my expectations in Being True. This book has everything that a good young adult novel should include–the awkwardness of growing up, the heady feelings of first love, and the difficult choices that a gay youth must make to survive in a place where everyone just wants to fit in. High school.
I think what I liked most about the book was that feeling of first love, that giddiness of finding happiness out of a past of loneliness and sadness. That’s something that appeals to everyone, but I know it can be particularly poignant to gay teens who just want to fit in. Who want people to like them, and to have a true friend (even beyond a date or anything like that.)
Something else that made the book different than most of the YA fiction out there (gay or straight) was that the main character, Truman, isn’t attractive. The author makes a point to notice his faults, including buck teeth, big ears, and an overall “donkeyish” appearance. That doesn’t matter in the end, however. The plot flowed well, with enough teenaged angst to keep things interesting without going overboard, enough sweetness to make me smile (but not kill me off) and a satisfying climax and ending. There is sex, which makes this book more appropriate for older teens. (Who am I kidding? I know I read worse stuff at a younger age.)
I’m pretty stingy with my stars, so the only reason this didn’t make five stars is that I didn’t find it groundbreaking in any way. Some of the plot was predictable. But overall, I thought this was an excellent book and would satisfy any reader in search of a good young adult gay coming of age/romance novel.