The two boys kissing are Craig and Harry. They’re hoping to set the world record for the longest kiss. They’re not a couple, but they used to be. Peter and Neil are a couple. Their kisses are different. Avery and Ryan have only just met and are trying to figure out what happens next. Cooper is alone. He’s not sure how he feels. As the marathon progresses, these boys, their friends and family evaluate the changing nature of feelings, behavior and this crazy thing called love.”
Publication Date: 27th March 2014
Published by Egmont UK.
239 pages long.
National Book Award for Young People’s Literature (2013)
Stonewall Book Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature (2014)
Milwaukee County Teen Book Award (2014)
Lambda Literacy Award for LGBT Children’s/Young Adult (2014)
The Inky Awards for Silver Inky (2014)
I want to start of by saying I am not a male attracted to other males so I obviously was not the target audience for this book. I am also no longer a teenager and I’m not struggling with my sexual identity either (I am bisexual and asexual), which is what this book strongly focuses on. I’ve heard a lot of people have had issues with the writing style as well, but personally I finished the whole book in one day (impressive for me, I’m quite a slow reader) and the writing style was one of my favourite things about it.
This book focuses on the different perspectives of multiple boys attracted to other boys. I’m going to start with the two boys this book centres around, Craig and Harry, a story I found to be particularly interesting (although each story is snappy and short and isn’t in any detail which is something I also like). They’re broken up but decide they want to complete the world record for kissing to show the world that it’s okay for two boys to kiss. It was just one representation of the kind of relationship you’d have: where one boy still loves and cares deeply about the other, while the second boy see’s their relationship has nothing more than platonic and how emotionally draining that can be.
The second two characters here are Avery, who is a trans male, and Ryan. What I really loved about these two is how their relationship was developing. They had just met and wanted something to come of it, were getting to know each other, and having these elements of pure sweetness in with all the other areas which…aren’t so sweet was uplifting. They were adorable and I loved seeing where their relationship was going. I also loved how Avery has pink hair and Ryan has blue. That was just an adorable little add on for me.
Then there was Neil and Peter, a relationship that felt so comfortable and relaxed as they had been dating for a year now. It showed an honest account of what really goes on in long term relationships that isn’t always just like the start of one.
Cooper, though, was my favourite. His was also the most raw, the most painful, the struggle so many people who aren’t straight in the world also face (as well as the aro and ace community). His identity was not accepted by his parents. His journey follows his downward spiral, how each event plunges him further into darkness and how he has to get himself out of it.
So, to summarize, a list of the good points
- A small little collection of different experiences being (what I think is) gay.
- A lovely writing style, it gets to the point and switches up enough for me to stay interested.
- The characters were not in depth enough to make the story run from them alone, but they had something to them and you felt things for them
- The relationships were adorable
The bad points:
- Mental illness was used as a plot device more than something genuinely helpful to the readers as it was sort of thrown in there without any real information about it
- There are no chapters, but I also quite liked this at the same time
- There wasn’t really any story, it was all very character based (which I quite like, too, but I did feel like the story wasn’t enough)
- There was no other representations of m/m relationships such as bisexual, poly, pansexual, etc. (although I do understand that the author is gay and perhaps just wanted to represent teenagers like him)
Overall, I gave this book a four out of five stars. Please try to get through it if you don’t like it at the start, I almost gave up on it too (especially when I saw there were no chapters!) but it was completely worth it in the end. I hope this gets into the hands of plenty of people who are male/non-binary and are attracted to other males.