Boyfriends with Girlfriends Review

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Title: Boyfriends with Girlfriends
Author: Alex Sanchez
Publisher: S & S Childrens
Published: April 19, 2011
Genre: YA, Contemps, LGBT
Pages: 224
Source: Galley Grab

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.
Lance, Sergio, Allie and Kimiko are the teens next door living and loving in suburbia, doing their best to navigate high school, relationships and their identities all at the same time. Lance has been out for a while, Sergio swings both ways and has been comfortable with it, Kimiko can't believe a girl like Allie might be in her league after all. These four friends are on a collision course that will, inevitably, bring them together as friends or tear them apart based on stereotypes and prejudices in society. All the while though, the four must learn and come to terms with who they really are inside and what that means for those around them.

I'll just say this outright - Boyfriends with Girlfriends is far from my comfort zone in YA literature, but when I made the decision to read more contemporary fiction this year, I meant that in its entirety. I have no qualms with LGBT storylines and, in fact, find them to be some of the most poignant within the genre of YA fiction. Alex Sanchez takes a decidedly upfront approach in Boyfriends with Girlfriends, never mincing his words or hiding behind hidden agendas. Preaching tolerance, growth and the overwhelming need for everyone to be comfortable with who they are, Boyfriends with Girlfriends is brimming with a message that is powerful and needed in society today.

There are two sides to what I just said though. Some books take a delicate tone when directing a reader towards a message. Boyfriends with Girlfriends was not one of these books. It was extremely direct from page one, illustrating very vividly that whether one is bi, gay, curious or straight, we are who we are. None if it is a cop-out and none if it is a lie. In a book like Boyfriends with Girlfriends, I think this approach works, and though it's not my favourite take on literature, I got what I was supposed to get from the book. The characters were likable and approachable (especially Sergio - his confusion was accessible and believable), the relationships between families and friends were honest and true to form, but I have to say that it was all a bit overshadowed by the prominence of the message. It's not a bad thing, but I prefer subtleties, if you know what I mean.

All in all, Boyfriends with Girlfriends was a good book. No, it wasn't my favourite by a long shot, but it had a strong message that I think is often lacking in YA fiction. I give it a 3 out of 5, and I'd recommend it to those who enjoy the YA genre, especially those who enjoy contemporary fiction and LGBT storylines.

I received this eARC free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.


  1. Well I haven't been sure about reading this one or not...i'm still not. I like the idea and the message but the reviews have left me uncertain. Maybe i'll still check it out though :)

    Stop by to see Today's Answer and enter my Stand for Japan Giveaway :

  2. Great review! I love reading your reviews- they're always so great :)
    The new blog layout/deign you have is lovely btw.

  3. So, what you're saying is it hit you over the head with the message in a very upfront way more like an in your face kind of way and if we read it we need to be comfortable with that? You were very nice in your review but I get what you were trying to say. I like my messages/lessons whatever more subtle too. You did a nice job though. Better than I could have done. I'm coming to you next time I stuck.


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  5. Great review! I read this book a while ago, and while it was out of my comfort zone as well, I did and still do find it to be an important book based on the topic alone. Though, I have to agree that a bit was overshadowed by the prominence of the messages.

  6. Wonderful review, Melissa!
    Books like these are very important, but I like the messages to be a little less direct and more subtle. I feel that has more impact.

    Btw, I love your new layout!

  7. I love Alex Sanchez's straight froward manner of presenting issue that are real and often gritty too, When I first saw this title I knew it would be a must read for me, and I am glad that you found it to a great message. This is one book I will be getting as soon as it is released. Great review.

  8. I enjoyed your review. I've seen this book around quite a lot over the last few weeks and was wondering what it was about.

    I don't think it would be my cup of tea. Not because of the LGBT storyline, but just because it seems to be all about relationships and 'finding oneself'. I like a bit more action in my books at the moment.

  9. First of all.. LOVE your new layout! It looks like something I'd put together :-) very fresh & clean. Awesome new look for you M!

    I passed on this book when I was offered to read it for review. I have nothing against bi or gay relationships, I have friends IRL that are. But for some reason when I am reading YA lit, I just don't care for it. I prefer my straight relationships more. Tell me I'm small minded, but it's how I feel. I think you gave your honest opinion about this book & I always admire you for that. Great job!

  10. I've been wondering about this one for awhile. I'm like Ginger, I feel more comfortable reading straight relationships, but a lot of people who are close to me are gay/bi. I suppose I shall try it.
    PS I LOVE your new layout, it's gorgeous!

  11. I agree the message is not subtle enough (reminds me of Ernest Hemingway with the rainbow kites and the big red As, lol), but I really did love the book, the themes, and the characters-- especially Kimiko. Awesome review. :)

  12. Great review! I've been wondering about this one, too. Glad to hear that the characters are good, but the overwhelming insistence of the message seems a bit off-putting (I have no qualms about homosexual relationships, but if the message is pushed too hard, the book just feels fake.)

    PS: Gorg new layout! Love it! :)

  13. Great review, Melissa! this is the first I've seen of this one.

  14. I may not want to read this book, but I do like what it is about, and you are right. There should be more YA books like this. But perhaps a little more subtle then

  15. Ahhhhhh!!!! Clearly I haven't checked up on your blog in a few Melissa... The changes look amazing! I love the swirly curly flowers bordering the sides! Well that is a bummer that you only rated the book 3 out of 5 stars, I was really looking forward to it/ thinking that it was going to be the end all be all. Guess I will put it towards the bottom of my TBR list!

    Thanks for the great review Melissa! And have a good weekend!


  16. I quite like the sound of this. Sounds different which is always a welcomed change!

  17. This one does sound interesting and like you, I do prefer the subtle approach more. I like it when you have to think about things. However, not everyone is like me, so I think this is a good book for others who like the more upfront approach. Thanks for the review!

  18. I also prefer the more subtle approach when it comes to them and message, but if it works in they book...hey more power to the book and author! Very cool cover! Thanks for your honest review!

  19. I haven't read very many LGBT books, and that's not because I don't enjoy them, but they are far less accessible. That being said, Boyfriends With Girlfriends sounds interesting and compelling enough, but I prefer subtleties as well. I'll keep this in mind though, when I'm looking for a very honest, coming-of-age contemporary story.

  20. I read an Alex Sanchex book a while back and it definitely left me thinking. I resonate with what you are saying about his writing style, for sure.


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