Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend by Carrie Jones: C+

From the inside flap:
Is it fair to be mad, mad, mad at your boyfriend for being gay? Anything but straight in small town Maine won’t exactly be a walk in the park, even for invincible Dylan. But can’t heartbroken Belle whine just a little? What’s a girl to do when her perfect soulmate says Goodbye Belle, Hello Bob?

For starters, she makes a list on how to deal.

I was tempted to stop reading this after about twenty-five pages because there were two things that were annoying me significantly. After I decided to make a couple of assumptions, however, I was able to continue on.

#1: Belle claims to be okay with the idea of breaking up with Dylan when it comes time to go to college. After learning he’s gay, she remembers a time when they shared a bathtub, she saw his soul, and had decided that this obviously was a sign they were meant to be together. Although it’s not expressly stated, I decided to assume that this contradiction was the result of the character not really believing that the break-up-for-college would be permanent.

#2: The writing style is pretentious. Just one of many possible examples: “My voice is strong guitar chords sounding across the parking lot and into his soul.” Since it’s written in first person, I decided to assume that this was an intentional choice to capture the voice of the angsty twelfth-grader protagonist.

There were also a couple of annoying editing mistakes: a you’re where it should’ve been your and a reference to Belle and her best friend as juniors instead of seniors.

Even with all this, though, it turned out to be pretty decent. It presents a fairly accurate depiction of adolescent breakup reactions, especially the urge to continue to write notes to someone even though you’re mad at them and the sorrow at realizing that you’re kind of breaking up with a whole family. There’s a lot about trying to be what other people expect you to be, and Belle is ultimately proud of and happy for Dylan that he’s finally able to stop pretending. In turn, she realizes she’d also been doing some pretending in their relationship, and begins to find her real self again.

Sometimes with books like these, the anti-gay reaction from fellow students is over the top, and this book’s no exception. There was also a lot of community and student support, though, so it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. What was bloody awful was the ending. I think I sprained something what with all the strenuous eyerolling.

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