This was an entirely charming and delightful book. Though it may well be a book that was designed to be a gay teen love story where sexuality is a com...moreThis was an entirely charming and delightful book. Though it may well be a book that was designed to be a gay teen love story where sexuality is a complete nonissue for the lovers, it doesn't feel gimmicky or made to fit some book concept pitch. Normally when I see filmmakers or authors attempt this, I always like the idea but think the execution feels forced and falls short. Not this time; this was a great book that stood on its own two feet. It was at turns whimsical, sweet, a little sad, and real on a human level despite the absurd or thoroughly unrealistic character or setting elements that keep things fun and ridiculous. This last point is what I think makes the book better than just cute.
I read it in one sitting and loved it. I think it's really probably a 4.5 stars, but I was so joyed while reading that I had to round up instead of down even though there are definable flaws (many of them the usual suspects of YA fiction). I had so much fun with it, I just didn't care about the negatives.(less)
This is one of those books that is excruciatingly difficult to read at times, but only because its artistry renders such heart-rending and tragically...moreThis is one of those books that is excruciatingly difficult to read at times, but only because its artistry renders such heart-rending and tragically human truth in ways that are beautiful, terrible, and real. It is astounding that this book was published a half-century ago; even with all of the social change that has occurred in this time the book loses little poignancy and power. (less)
I started off really not wanting to like this book because so much of it was brutally embarrassing, painful, and neurotic, but much of it is also beau...moreI started off really not wanting to like this book because so much of it was brutally embarrassing, painful, and neurotic, but much of it is also beautiful and soaringly exciting -- in the end I could only love it because it resonated as being the truth. It's a reminder of just how awful and fantastic it is to be young and wholly consumed by your heart and stir crazy in your head, trying to make sense of your desires. For better or worse, I identified with much of it, and it forced me to remember past lives and the people that left their marks.
I think some might find it too uncomfortable to read, but if you can bear revisiting that part of yourself, it's impossible not to be affected by this book.(less)
Though in many ways this book suffers from a kind of mediocre, shallow, and predictable writing that's almost a hallmark of both cheesy comics and tee...moreThough in many ways this book suffers from a kind of mediocre, shallow, and predictable writing that's almost a hallmark of both cheesy comics and teen fiction, I couldn't put it down. In fact, I almost read the whole thing in one sitting.
The book does several things with a measure of success: plays with the images of recognizable superheroes in an amusing way, uses common comic book motifs while good naturedly poking fun at genre, and treats the protagonist's sexuality as a natural part of the overall story. This last point is likely what makes the book for me. I've become very appreciative of stories and films that treat the sexuality of characters as a piece of characters' complexity in a matter of fact manner but resists from making them into thinly veneered symbols and turning the overall piece into some heavy-handed coming out story.
I wish I wasn't able to correctly guess so much of the plot from so early on, and I wish some of the characters a little deeper and the writing a little sharper and adult, but that may be the price I pay for reading something aimed squarely at the teen audience.(less)