Contemporary

One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva

This is one of the titles I’ve wanted to read ever since before the hardback was published, but somehow never got around to. Perhaps because not enough people were talking about it online, which is a really not a good reason not to pick up a book I’m already interested in anyway! The reason I was interested is the title, which is also the title of one of my favourite Rufus Wainwright songs.

I started this book prepared to find a story that didn’t have anything to do with Rufus Wainwright, and was pleasantly surprised to find otherwise. The main character is Alek Khederian, an Armenian American who grew up in a very, very Armenian family. They remind me of My Big Fat Greek Wedding – only, you know, Armenian instead of Greek, and with a protagonist who happens to be gay. Alek knew he liked guys, but he had never talked about it with anyone other than his best friend Becky. He had never truly crushed on anyone, either, until his parents made him go to summer school just to bring up his (perfectly acceptable) grades so that he’d be good enough to stay on the honor track.

The other kids in his class were the ones stereotyped as “burn outs”, and one of them is Ethan, who is everything Alek wished he could be. Circumstances led to them being friends, and as Ethan helped Alek be more of the person he wants to be (as opposed to the person his parents told him he is), the two fall in love.

There’s barely any drama in this story – just adorable romance and lots of humour. Alek will have to face up to his family and reconcile the person he wants to be with his Armenian roots, but most of this are resolved easily enough as honesty was a big part of the person Alek would like to be. This is a super cute YA romance, but because of the other things going on with Alek, I’d also recommend this to anyone looking for a lighter coming-of-age story.

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