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.
I’m honestly in awe of how phenomenal this novel was. Wow. Autoboyography is one of the best m/m books I’ve read all year, and I’m so pleased I decided to pick it up. The romance was adorable and realistic, the conversations about and implications of religion on these two boys’ relationship was heartbreaking and powerful, and the intertwining of the bittersweet and the heart-wrenching made this novel one that’s unforgettable. I’m officially in love with my two adorable queer munchkins, Sebastian and Tanner, and I love the way both their sexualities were explored against the backdrop of religion in an often small-minded community. This is the book I needed right now.
I haven’t read too many books about religion — one of the most memorable ones for me was The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord — and I loved how this novel explored the way some religions aren’t accepting of those in the LGBTQIA+ community. This aspect was so heartbreaking and difficult to read at times, but Autoboygraphy is a book that everyone should read, especially those in similar situations. It’s a book that can show you some of the worst reactions those who are religious can have to those that come out, but it also shows you that there’s always hope and there are people who will support you if you reach out to them.
But what was surprising about this novel was that it didn’t hate on religion or the Mormons, and it wasn’t overly preachy in saying that Religion Is Bad And Hates Gay People Full Stop. It was simply showing what it’s like for queer people in a religious community, and I feel that it accurately portrayed that. I learned a lot about what it means to be a Mormon — though I definitely feel watching The Book of Mormon before reading this helped me understand the basics of their religion, minus all the questionable parts of course — and what it means to come out in those spaces. It was confronting, and it made me realise just how lucky I am to feel supported and validated by my friends. There’s still a long way to go until young queer people feel respected and loved though.
The relationship between Seb and Tan was just so, so sweet. There was stargazing, and hand-holding, and I just loved getting to know both of them. It was especially pleasing to read about a bisexual boy protagonist, as I feel we’re definitely lacking in queer boys who identify in a way other than gay in YA and it was so heartwarming to see this bisexual representation. But their romance wasn’t always easy to read about, like the rest of the book. There were some tough moments filled with questioning what their relationship was, and if it could ever lead to something more or if they could ever be together in public, and it just stabbed me in the feels over and over again — but I loved it all the more for that. Tanner’s relationship with his parents was also so lovely to read about.
Ultimately, Autoboygraphy is a touching and heartbreaking novel about love, religion, and understanding yourself and coming to terms with your sexuality. While I felt that the ending was a tad rushed, the rest of the novel was absolutely exceptionally well-written. The characters were real and vibrant, and I fell in love with all of them and just wanted to hug those adorable queer munchkins. If you’re a fan of YA contemporary and need another gorgeous m/m story in your life (which you definitely do), then pick up Autoboygraphy.
Have you read Autoboygraphy yet? What are some of your favourite queer YA novels? Do you have a favourite m/m couple? Have you read many other books that discuss religion and sexuality? I’d love to hear your thoughts!