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Alek Khederian should have guessed something was wrong when his parents took him to a restaurant. Everyone knows that Armenians never eat out. 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 freshman 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. 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.
*I received a free ARC of One Man Guy from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*
What can I say? One Man Guy blew me away! Alek is a very young protagonist, but he is a great one all the same, as are the other characters in this story. I loved it all! From sibling rivalry to being confused about his sexuality, to living up to his parents expectations while at the same time wanting to be himself, I was taken on a beautiful journey with this book.
Told with such tenderness, One Man Guy is a coming of age novel, in which the main character, Alek, has to deal with what starts out as the worst summer of his life! His Armenian parents bring him to a restaurant to tell him that he has to go to summer school, that he won’t be able to do his tennis camp, nor come on vacation with them. His best friend Becka is free all summer, and he wants nothing more than to be free of school after a difficult first year in high-school.
Very well written, One Man Guy is also filled with attaching characters that I really enjoyed getting to know. Ethan showing Alek around in New York, introducing him to Rufus, and helping him shop for cooler clothes was like a little adventure, while at the same time it just showed the friendship and more growing between the two boys. And I have to admit that I’m going to try to find some places on my upcoming trip to New York – I hope not all of the places described are invented
While it is a relatively short story, One Man Guy has the perfect amount of everything needed to make an amazing story – the friendships, the culture in Alek’s family, the relationships within the family and the Armenian community, and, of course, Alek realizing he is gay, and that he is in love with Ethan. His coming out to his parents really doesn’t happen the way he would have planned it if he had the chance to plan it at all, but it was so believable, both his parents reaction, and how he reacted to that. And I loved Alek and how he always tried to live up to his own principles! I would stand up for things he believed in, and he would do his best to do what is right.
I really recommend One Man Guy to all who enjoy reading YA, the storyline is great, and the immersion into the Armenian culture made me quite hungry at times – but do not despair, there is a recipe at the end of the book.
The smell of onions and mustard slammed into Alek’s nostrils. This is what about to get beat up feels like, Alek realized. He just hoped that whatever happened, he would emerge without any visible marks so that his parents wouldn’t have a reason to ask any questions.
Before her mouth could land on his, Alek put up his hands. He knew he couldn’t kiss her again. “Don’t.” Becky pulled byck immediately, as if he’d shoved her. The excitement drained from her eyes and her body went rigid.
“So are you saying you don’t feel that way around him, or you do?” “I’m saying…” Alek started, then stopped himself. “I’m saying I really missed you, Becky. It’s good to be here with you. “That’s not what I’m talking about, dumb-ass.” “Becky, I think I’d know if I was gay,” Alek insisted. “Now, can we talk about something else.”
“All I’m saying is that it sounds to me like you have a crush on Ethan. I don’t even know if that means you’re gay.” Alek looked away form Becky. The possibility that he was gay had never occurred to him.
“It was like ice cream.” “I worked at DQ. Trust me, it’s not like cie cream.” “No, I mean, it’s like all my life I’ve been eating frozen yogurt. And kissing boys is ice cream.” “I can’t believe how cool you sound right now.