Saturday, April 26, 2014

One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva - Ashley's Review

*I received this book as an eARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group/Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (BYR) on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Title: One Man Guy
Author: Michael Barakiva
Publication Date: May 27, 2014

My Pre-Reading

Alek Khederian should have guessed something was wrong when his parents took him to a restaurant. Everyone knows that Armenians never eat out. Why bother, when their home cooking is far superior to anything "these Americans" could come up with? Between bouts of interrogating the waitress and criticizing the menu, Alek’s parents announce that he’ll be attending summer school in order to bring up his grades. Alek is sure this experience will be the perfect hellish end to his hellish freshmen year of high school. He never could’ve predicted that he’d meet someone like Ethan.

Ethan is everything Alek wishes he were: confident, free-spirited, and irreverent. When Ethan gets Alek to cut school and go to a Rufus Wainwright concert in New York City’s Central Park, Alek embarks on his first adventure outside the confines of his suburban New Jersey existence. He can’t believe a guy this cool wants to be his friend. And before long, it seems like Ethan wants to be more than friends. Alek has never thought about having a boyfriend—he’s barely ever had a girlfriend—but maybe it’s time to think again.

Michael Barakiva's One Man Guy is a romantic, moving, laugh-out-loud-funny story about what happens when one person cracks open your world and helps you see everything—and, most of all, yourself--like you never have before.


Review: This is a super cute summer romance that would be a good book to read while sitting out on the beach or in a hammock enjoying some gorgeous summer weather. It's a quick easy read, and it was fun to watch Alek rediscover himself. 

I think this book has really good intentions. I've never read another book about an Armenian main character, so I think that it was neat to be able to glimpse a part of the Armenian-American heritage. I also really enjoyed that, even though Alex hated parts of his Armenian upbringing, it was still so deeply ingrained within him that he could recall the stories and the manners without a second thought. Although he hates his parents for being so strict, he's really a good kid. 

Another thing I enjoyed about this book was how accepting everyone was. The D.O.s accept Ethan for who he is, and even the people you think might be the least likely people to accept Alek and Ethan are incredibly open and caring and loving. It's just really nice to see in a YA book, especially as it's becoming more common in every day life. Just because Alek starts to fall for a boy doesn't make him any different than any of his peers. 

There were some really good, strong things about this book, but as a whole it just wasn't anything spectacular. Even though it's a gay teen romance, it's still a teen romance, and I'm not sure that having "gay" stamped on it is enough to make it stand out from all of the other contemporary YA romances. It's cute, it's sweet, and it makes a lot of good points... but then again so do most other books in its genre. I would probably recommend it to anyone looking for a nice summer romance without much suspense, mystery, magic, or any of that jazz. I'd give One Man Guy a 3/5.


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