Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.
But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.
It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.
Okay, I expected to like this book. I didn’t expect to love it. This has been on my shelves for a long time and I’m so glad I picked it up out of my TBR jar recently because it finally forced me to read, and thoroughly enjoy, this story.
This book has very similar vibes to Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit, which I liked but didn’t love. The gripes I had with that book luckily didn’t appear in Autoboyography, and I really loved the story. I was absolutely addicted to this book and read it in a couple of days, even though I was reading it alongside two others. Once I hit the 200 page mark, I was hooked. I became so invested in these characters and I just wanted to know what was going to happen, and found I couldn’t put it down until I’d finished the book.
Tanner and Sebastian were just so adorable. Neither are perfect, and both definitely have their own issues. But they are both teenage boys figuring out their sexualities, their religions and their place in the world. Of course they are going to make mistakes and decisions that are not always the right one’s, and I love how this book worked out these mistakes with the support of the side characters.
I don’t actually care if you break my heart, Sebastian. I went into this knowing it could happen and I gave it to you anyway.
I really liked how both ends of the scale are portrayed here – Tanner is secure in his sexuality and his identity and is supported by his family in that. Also, his family is not deeply religious. Sebastian is Mormon, largely influenced by the church and his family, who are very closed in their viewpoints and would not be happy to find out Sebastian is, in fact, attracted to guys. This book is told largely from the point of view of Tanner, but in no means overshadows what Sebastian is going through in terms of figuring out his sexuality.
I also really enjoyed the cast of side characters, including siblings, parents and even teachers. They all have different outlooks on the world and nothing is shied away from – the discussion of religion in this book is particularly heavy and hard to read about at times. Some of the discussions among Sebastian’s family are particularly painful to read later in the story. If I did have any small complains about this book, it’s about how Mormonism is portrayed, however I am not educated enough on the topic to discuss any further! I also found that coming from outside any religion, I did have to search a few terms from this book, as I didn’t even know what LDS stood for.
But I don’t want you to break your own. You have so much space in your heart for your church, but does it have space for you?
Overall, there was just so much I adored about this book. The two main characters really carried this story in a way I didn’t expect and I found myself rooting for them so much that I had tears rolling down my cheeks as the story ended. The side characters were also brilliantly written and diverse, and I did for the most part love the friendship Tanner had with Autumn. The plot was fast paced and I could never completely guess where it was going, which is why I couldn’t put it down! Bar a few small plot holes and discussions that didn’t sit quite right with me, I absolutely loved this book and I will definitely be recommending it to friends.
CW: heavy discussion of religion, homophobia, sex (not particularly graphic/mentioned before or after)
4.5 out of 5 stars
May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽