Thursday, September 4, 2014

BBReview: "Adam" By Ariel Schrag

Genre: Young Adult - Contemporary/LGTBQ
Publishing Date: June 10th, 2014
Page Count: 302
Source: Sent to me by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: Paperback

Description from
When Adam Freedman -- a skinny, awkward, inexperienced teenager from Piedmont, California -- goes to stay with his older sister Casey in New York City, he is hopeful that his life is about to change. And it sure does.

It is the Summer of 2006. Gay marriage and transgender rights
are in the air, and Casey has thrust herself into a wild lesbian
subculture. Soon Adam is tagging along to underground clubs, where there are hot older women everywhere he turns. It takes some time for him to realize that many in this new crowd assume he is trans -- a boy who was born a girl. Why else would this baby-faced guy always be around?

Then Adam meets Gillian, the girl of his dreams -- but she couldn't possibly be interested in him. Unless passing as a trans guy might actually work in his favor...

Ariel Schrag's scathingly funny and poignant debut novel puts a fresh spin on questions of love, attraction, self-definition, and what it takes to be at home in your own skin.

I am very happy that I accepted Adam for review. I have to be honest and say that when I read the email asking if I would like to review this, I misread it and thought this was going to be a graphic novel. I don't read many graphic novels and I was pretty excited to be getting the chance to read one on such a different topic for me (as I have also not read a lot of books dealing with LGTBQ issues). When it came in the mail I was a tad confused when I saw that it was a novel, not a graphic novel, but I decided to still try it out anyways and I'm so happy, because I LOVED it!

I really bonded well with Adam, which was pretty surprising as I usually don't end up bonding with male MC's. I think one of the reasons I did was because we were both heterosexual people diving into this gay community together with very little knowledge about it. We went through this adventure together. I liked thatt this book didn't just touch on "key points" in the gay community, but dug deep on the topic and got into the knitty gritty details that one is usually too shy to ask about. It talked about things that people might not know about and other books might not talk about. Ariel really didn't hold back and just gave it to us. I also loved how we learn about things. Instead of there being this awkward reader awareness (where Adam steps out of character so he can address the audience and explain what something is) we learn through Adam. As he learns what something is or is told something, we see and hear it too.

The writing style was fantastic as well. It was very laid back and hilarious! I never felt like this story was heavy and I couldn't stop reading it. It was a very intriguing and inviting writing style that made you care about the characters and their outcomes. I could honestly hear Adam's voice, and not just some author trying to write like a teenage boy. It all felt very authentic. Some of the things that happen in this book I could not believe, and this story doesn't skip any details. It going into every painful, embarrassing, cringe worthy detail. There were definitely times when I wanted to kill Adam, because he ends up telling so many lies and I honestly just hurt for the people around him and what could happen to him when they all find out. I understand why he did it, but I just couldn't believe how long it took him before it was all too much for even him.

The only way I can describe the ending is that it was beautiful. I am sad with how it ended, but I am also glad. Everything naturally works itself out in the end and it doesn't feel forced. There definitely could have been a lot of other ways this book could have ended from tragic to just unbelievable, but I felt like Ariel ended it the right way. I'm happy with Adams future and I'm really happy who ends up being in his life in the end.

I am so happy I accepted this for review. I mistakenly thought this was going to be a graphic novel instead of a traditional novel, but in the end it was still wonderful. This story seriously bypassed any and all expectations that I had going into and I thought that this was such a perfect coming of age tale. I loved how easily I bonded with Adam, when I usually don't  find a connection with male MC's. I also loved the writing style and how funny and inviting it is. I am so glad that nothing was held back in this novel. Ariel was never scared to give too many details or make Adam too "weird" and I was thankful for that. I highly recommend everyone, who is mature enough, to check out this book.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 5/5

**The books cover, description, and info was all found on Goodreads. A link back has been provided. All other work and ideas are of my own creation. This book was sent to me by the publicity department at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in exchange for an honest review.**