Book Talk: Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Talk: Autoboyography by Christina LaurenAutoboyography by Christina Lauren
Published by Simon & Schuster BFYR on September 12, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 407
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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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.

Writing team Christina Lauren’s books never really looked like they would be my thing. Trusted friends like Katherine Locke recommended them, and I semi-grudgingly added the books to my to-read-someday-maybe list, because Beautiful Bastard is such a non-Christina title. But Autoboyography? Clever wordplay in the title and an m/m romance inside? Now that is some prime Christina-bait. Friends, I was caught, and I don’t mind one bit.

Bisexual MC Tanner Scott has lived in Utah for three years now, and all that time he’s been sort of, kind of back in the closet. It was just easier for the whole family if he wasn’t openly bi. Don’t get the wrong idea: his whole family is super liberal and incredibly supportive; his mom’s always slipping bumper stickers under his pillow reminding him how amazing and loved he is. But, Tanner’s mom grew up Mormon, and she’s aware just how unforgiving the faith can be to anyone who is different, like his Mom’s sister when she came out as a lesbian and got kicked out of the family. The only reason the Scotts moved to Provo was because Tanner’s mom got an amazing job (a CTO role at an up-and-coming tech company), one good enough to make up for the down-sides.

Tanner signs up for a writing class with his best friend Audrey, a super-prestigious one. In the prior year, a student’s submission ended up getting picked up by a publisher even, thanks to the teacher’s connections. Both Tanner and Audrey have misgivings about his commitment to the class, and he’s rapidly out of his depth, both with his attempt at a novel and his feelings for the class’ TA, the to-be-published Sebastian Brother, now in his first year at BYU.

I’m not really a forbidden romance person or a religion person, but Tanner and Sebastian totally got me. Of course, I spent the whole book being an anxious damn mess because there’s just no way that everything can run smoothly. It helps that Sebastian is genuinely the sweetest person. He’s a hufflepuff cinnamon roll trying to figure out why the faith he truly believes in has such a narrow view of the world.

The treatment of the Mormon/LDS faith really impressed me. Based on the fact that Lauren came from new adult, I expected Autoboyography to lean into the drama, but they didn’t. Autoboyography shows some of the dark sides of the faith, but it’s not a mocking portrayal. There’s also some respect there, and a highlighting of the fact that many of these people are trying their best and attempting to help their community. That doesn’t mean it can’t be super toxic, but I like the fact that the handling of this is nuanced and dynamic. Sebastian constantly wrestles with his faith, and Lauren does a great job showing how hard of a conflict this is for him, and for Tanner.

The one aspect I didn’t connect with so much was the writing stuff, ironically. For one thing, the prose of Autoboyography was a bit more simplistic than I prefer. Plus, I’m not a fan of the “you’re reading the story I’m writing in the story” trope. The one chapter from Sebastian’s POV was completely strange and not needed at all imo. But hey, in the end, it all got the job done, because I had massive feelings and I shipped a ship I normally would not ship (because that sort of set up has tragic written all over it).

With this as my first Lauren novel, I know I’ll need to be reading more of her books ASAP. I guess I should always listen to Katie.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

One response to “Book Talk: Autoboyography by Christina Lauren”

  1. Sam@WLABB says:

    I am so with you on how CL treated the church aspect of this book. It was done so well. I have read a bunch of the authors’ books, and I think they get better and better with each book I read. Love and Other Words was so good, and so was this one.

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