Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 12th 2017
Fangirl meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this funny and poignant coming-of-age novel from New York Times bestselling author Christina Lauren about two boys who fall in love in a writing class—one from a progressive family and the other from a conservative religious community.
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.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
It’s Tanner’s last semester before he can leave Utah for college, can have the freedom to leave the closet his families move three years ago shoved him into, and he plans to coast through his classes until his best friend suggests he takes the Seminar. Tanner thinks writing a book in four months will be easy but when he lays eyes on the TA, a Mormon who sold his own Seminar novel the year before, he falls and he falls hard.
I heard so much about Autoboyography before I picked it up, everyone seemed to love it and there was so much hype going around for this book. It probably comes as no surprise that I loved it as well. Autoboyography follows Tanner over the course of his four months Seminar course, as he writes his story and as he falls in love with Sebastian Brother, in spite of the heartache Tanner knows the relationship will likely cause.
Tanner is inspired. As Sebastian tutors him one-on-one to help him catch up Tanner starts writing the story of their relationship, from the beginning through all its ups and downs. Tanner knows he can’t hand in what he’s written though, as a Mormon Sebastian will lose everything if he comes out but he can’t stay away from Tanner and despite knowing he can never be more than a secret Tanner can’t resist Sebastian.
Autoboyography was an incredibly moving story with plenty of diversity. It follows Tanner and Sebastian’s relationship over the course of four months and highlights the struggles of being LGBT+ and closeted in a very religious community. Neither Tanner or Sebastian are free to be who they truly are, which made their relationship heartbreaking though one you can’t help but root for.
Tanner seems very happy-go-lucky. He isn’t concerned with his last semester of high school, and doesn’t seem worried about the courses he’ll be taking. Tanner was out as a bisexual before his family’s move to Utah forced him back into the closet, and he clearly struggled with the weight of this secret he now has to keep from the world. He can’t even share this huge part of himself with his best friend fearing how she’ll react.
The relationship Tanner has with his parents is incredible. They support him no matter what, they know Tanner can’t be himself outside of their house so they’ve made sure he’s free to be whoever he is when he’s at home. However in spite of their support they can’t hide their fears over Tanner’s relationship with Sebastian. They allow him to make his own choices and mistakes, but worry over how much of himself he’s giving away to someone who can never be himself with him in return.
Sebastian is a devoted Mormon. He wholly believes in his religion, in God, and he clearly sees the path he is supposed to walk down as a Mormon. Sebastian knows what his religion says about being gay but the feelings he has for Tanner don’t seem wrong in his eyes, or feel like something he should feel guilty for when he’s praying to God. Sebastian will lose everything if he is outted, and he fears what will happen if someone discovers his relationship with Tanner.
While reading I wanted so badly for both Tanner and Sebastian to get their happy ending, but I knew there would be heartbreak in their future. They can’t be together out in the open because both are still in the closet and because of Sebastian’s religion. Another incredible relationship was the friendship between Tanner and his best friend August. The two are incredibly close, they support one another no matter what and share everything, but there’s still a big part of Tanner he can’t share no matter how much he may want to.
Whatever amazing things you’ve heard about Autoboyography are true. It’s a beautiful story with incredibly diverse characters and a moving relationship that will stay with you for a long time. Neither Tanner or Sebastian are perfect, they each make mistakes, but I was rooting for them both from the beginning.
What did you think of Autoboyography? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.