The Book: Autoboyography
Author: Christina Lauren (combined pen name of Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre & Themes: LGBTQ+, M/M romance, religion, YA contemporary
Recommend: YAAS, 5/5, pls read
I am SO SO excited to talk about this book today. I genuinely feel so blessed lately with the amount of books that are being published with diverse characters and excellent rep. It’s genuinely been weeks since I turned that final page, and I’m still thinking about the main characters. Right, let’s get on with it .. because you (yes, you) need to read this book immediately.
Autoboyography is based around Tanner, who has just relocated from California to Utah with his family. Tanner is bisexual, and was out in California, but the move to Utah pushed him back into the closet. The story starts when his best friend, Autumn, dares him to sign up for “The Seminar”, an infamous class at his high school where the challenge is to write a novel in four months. Needless to say, he takes this challenge, and ends up meeting Sebastian, a Mormon, who has just sold his own book he wrote during the seminar.
I completely devoured this book. Honestly. I turned the final page and then turned it back because I just wasn’t ready for it to be over, and to let go of these wonderful characters.
Tanner and Sebastian were absolutely beautiful. I enjoyed them both as characters – they were very different but came together in the best way possible. It was really nice to see a character so comfortable in his sexuality contrasted with one who had never considered that he could be anything other than straight.
This exploration of sexuality was just excellent. There were a few times where Tanner would have to explain bisexuality to someone and about what being bi means to him. These conversations were so open, honest, and reflective of real life conversations and really reiterated that bisexuality isn’t a choice (duh).
It was also super interesting to read about the Mormon church, and about Sebastian and his family. I’ve never read a book which talks about it, so I found it really interesting, but also heartbreaking to hear some of Sebastian’s family members talk about homosexuality.
His whole family believe homosexuality is a sin. Among other things, the book explores the facade or pretence of progression within the Mormon church. For example, the church say that it isn’t punishable to have ‘homosexual feelings’, but it’s unacceptable to act on those feelings.
The way this whole issue was explored was so interesting, and so important to see not just from a super liberal perspective, but also from the perspective of Sebastian who has been brought up to really and truly believes that who he is is wrong. The development of Sebastian as a character was especially poignant as we see his thoughts on his own sexuality change a lot throughout the novel.
Also, I fully loved the way Tanner’s parents were written! Both of his parents work in STEM which is rad. Also, the relationship Tanner has with his parents is just great. They are the definition of woke and are exactly the kind of parents you would want. They are fully supportive of his sexuality (in direct contrast with Sebastian’s family). The whole family dynamic felt very real. Whenever Tanner had a disagreement with his parents, as a reader, I could always see both sides of the argument. I really appreciated this, as so often in YA, it can really feel like ‘the teenanger vs the parents’. This made it feel much more mature, and just more reflective of life. Definitely a refreshing change!
Honestly, I could go on and on because it was so wonderful. Tanner and Sebastian’s relationship really hit me in the feels. It’s such an exploration of first love in a difficult situation, and the descriptions and dialogue were excellent. Do you think it’s a bit much to just re-read it again immediately??? Because that’s exactly what I want to do.
Recommend me some more LGBTQ books please, especially books which feature bi characters because I am fully here for such excellent bi rep. 💜💗