Review: This book wasn't exactly what I expected. I had just finished reading Geography Club, which was a very fast read, and I was looking for more LGBT coming-of-age high school stories. This novel was all that and more. This novel takes place over 6 years, following the protagonist from middle school to high school. Throughout the book, the reader is given an up close and personal view of the protagonist's thoughts and opinions. The characters were very well written. Each character felt like a real person. I liked how the characters changed throughout the 6 years, as well. There were so many characters in this book, too, that it felt like a real person was telling you his life story. When some characters were brought up later in the book I had to think back about what they had done in past years.
At first, this book is overwhelming and slightly off putting because of the vast amount of information, but once I got into it and knew the characters I was hooked. Some of the scenes have so much raw emotion. The inner thoughts of the protagonist really add to the realness of these scenes.
There are a lot of 80's pop culture references. I was born in 1988. The protagonist graduates high school in 1988. So, I didn't know some of the references. But, I googled a lot of them to understand what the characters were talking about and it really added to the story. I liked the way they were used. It made the book feel even more autobiographical. One reference I didn't get was the use of "dah-dah, dah-dah". At one point I thought it might be the Jaws song, but I am still unsure. I'm looking forward to reading Polito's Lost in the 90's because I won't need as much google assistance.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I want to read Drama Queers! eventually, but I think I'll have to be in the right mood for it. This is an extensive novel, that is definitely worth a read. If you were in high school in the late 80's, you will probably enjoy this book even more. I give it a 4/5.