Book Review: Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Title: Autoboyography
Author: @ChristinaLauren
Reviewer: Grace
Genre: Young Adult, M/M
Length: 416 pages
Rating: 5 Stars


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.

Grace Review

As a blogger, with many blogger friends, I get a lot of book recommendations and read a fair number of reviews. Given the sheer number of books out there and only so much time, I’m a lot more picky about the books I decide to purchase. However, all it takes is that one special review can sell me on a book, to take a chance of an author (authors in this case), who I stopped reading. And that’s what one blogger’s review did for me.

Not only did this book deliver on some high expectations, but is easily one of my favorite books I’ve read this year, and in my opinion, the best book this author duo has written. If you’ve read Christina Lauren’s books, you’ve come to expect that these ladies know how to write a sex scene, and some well-placed humor. It really surprised me that you’ll find none of that here in this book. I mean, it is YA and takes place in the land of Mormons, so I knew it would be clean. But the surprise was how when all the sex and laughs are stripped away, the authors built such a profound story. The plot is well structured and every moment had its purpose, drawing you closer to the two main characters.

This story focuses on a bisexual boy, Tanner Scott, living in the ultra-religious environment of Provo, Utah. Despite his surroundings, he has a good life. He has a family who love and support him, with his identity not being a secret under their roof. And while living in a religious area, he is not forced to follow the same rules as the LDS (Latter Day Saints, aka Mormons), as his father is Jewish, and his Mom does not enforce her Mormon upbringing upon him. But Tanner is aware how his lifestyle choices wouldn’t be welcome in his community, so he keeps his preferences a secret.

Things really begin to change for Tanner upon enrolling in his school’s class called The Seminar, where studies are expected to write their own book. Whether he was talked into joining the class due to his friend, Autumn’s, encouragement, or if he ever had writing aspirations, he is suddenly inspired when meeting the class TA, Sebastian Brother. Sebastian just so happens to be a Mormon prodigy with his life path already determined. Cue the teen angst.

What I loved about this book is the innocence of Tanner’s path to falling in love. Every moment felt real and relatable, young love and the agony of rejection are something nearly everyone experiences, and Tanner’s journey was something that was easy to connect to.
The glances.
The blushing.
The first accidental touch.

Many people in society believe that a same sex relationship is a sin. The Mormon church holds an extreme stance on this belief, shunning those who come out. That made this story more meaningful, as Sebastian begins to share that Tanner’s feelings aren’t one side

It isn’t his first kiss – I know that – but it’s his first real one.

My heart broke for both boys as they try to navigate through their new feelings, while keeping their secret from everyone. On top of that, you have Sebastian’s struggle with what his religion is telling him, and his upcoming mission.

He’s so far buried in his own dogma and his own world of shoulds that he can’t admit to himself that he’s into dudes, that’s he’ll always be into dudes, that it’s a piece of him, a perfect part of him, and it deserves admiration and respect and space the same way anything else about him does.

The only thing that I didn’t like in the story, was the authors inclusion of their formula with their plot twist. But in the grand scheme of things, it didn’t change my overall feelings on this amazing book.

I finished this book crying happy tears, grateful I took the chance on this story. While there is no way to have a perfect ending, this ending was perfect given the circumstances. My review likely hasn’t given this book the justice it deserves, conveying how special and different this book is. Just know that this is a story I’ll never forget and is worth reading. I can’t wait to share it with my daughter (hopefully in a couple years).

– Grace

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