As RV enters sophomore year, his friendships and relationships create more questions than answers. RV still cares for Bobby, but Bobby seems a different, more distant person. RV’s best friend Carole is distracted by the ups and downs in her relationships with her French boyfriends, while RV’s new friend Mark is more focused on his family’s troubles. School is a mixed bag. RV enjoys the Spanish club he has joined, which is run by his beautiful Spanish teacher, Señorita Sanchez. But he struggles with other subjects and annoying teachers and always has to watch out for the school bullies who seem to know how to stay under the detention radar.
As always, RV’s former teacher and mentor, Mr. Aniso, is there for advice, especially when near-tragedy strikes and RV needs Mr. Aniso’s counsel to stay strong and provide help where it’s needed most.
I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I, like many other people apparently, requested this book without realizing it was the third book in a series. Luckily it didn’t impact my thoughts on this book. This book does a great job of giving refreshers of the previous books in the series, which is something that I wish more books would include.
I do have a few complaints about this book, but I still did find that I mostly enjoyed it. It was a nice escape from the real world and I lost track of time while I was reading it because I got that sucked in.
The writing style was confusing to say the least. It felt very middle grade bordering on children’s but the content matter was very young adult. I’ve been seeing this trend happening in lots of books recently and I hate it so much. Reading scenes with sexual content but feeling like I’m reading a children’s book makes me very uncomfortable. For anyone confused by what I’m saying, imagine reading a book with the writing style of the Percy Jackson series but with sexual content. It just doesn’t work for me but that may just be my personal preference.
Speaking of sexual content, the students thirsting over their teacher and describing her breasts in full detail made me so uncomfortable that I considered dnfing this book, which is something I rarely consider. This was much more explicit than just “the teacher has big boobs.” I was so disgusted by those scenes and I didn’t see the point of including them. Isn’t there a way to have a teen question their sexuality in ways that don’t include over-sexualizing a teacher?
Oh, and it’s worth noting that this book consists of snippets of life that make up a full school year of a high school student’s life. It took a while for me to get myself to just enjoy the moments for what they were instead of wondering where the plot was.
Even with it’s flaws, this book dealt with a lot of important themes that were written in a way that made it easier to process the hard topics. There’s talk of religion, questioning one’s sexuality, immigration, and financial hardships. These topics were incorporated smoothly in with the rest of the story and they brought up important conversations while also maintaining a lighthearted feel throughout the whole book. I really appreciated how this book presented multiple perspectives on some challenging topics. This book isn't pushing any sort of agenda. It just presents either side of controversial topics from the point of view of a teen who is navigating a world where not everyone agrees with each other.
I wouldn’t say that this is one of my favorite books ever but I did get a lot out of it and I don’t regret reading it. I think I may go back and read the previous books in this series at some point.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this ebook.
"What better place to work out life's problems than Joe's Pizza, right?"
It's known that I'm dumb, so when I requested this on Netgalley not even knowing it was the third book in a series I finally knew why. All in all, this was a feel-good comfort short read. A cute story about friendship with a queer immigrant main character who's dealing with a lot of things like heritage, the american lifestyle, boys, girls, gorgeous teachers, financial family problems, awkward relationships with his brother, with friends, with God and with religion, climate change and LGBTQ activism, spanish classes and even weird dreams. I found myself, a queer immigrant bilingual christian youngling, relating to many things RV was going through and that made it so easy to enjoy this even when I had this globe floating at the corner of my eye reminding me that I had not read the previous two books in this series. Relationships with parents, friends, crushes, siblings, God and even teachers are hard, and we see a kid dealing with all of them in this book and still finding the power to help others with their own relationship problems, having a very strong praying game and eating a lot of pizza.
This is the third book in a series and I’m going to sum up a bit of stuff that many be spoiler-y if you haven’t read the first two books.
Arvydas “RV” …… (sorry I don’t have the tenacity to write his last name) is the eldest son of Lithuanian ex-pats newly naturalized and living a middle class life in Boston. RV’s parents have worked hard for their modest American existence; it’s not exactly the American Dream they had envisioned upon emigration. RV has a younger brother Ray who is more outgoing and popular. They have struggles because Ray is willing to stand up for himself and his ideas, while RV is very non-confrontational, and hides pretty much all of his feelings, all of the time. This is especially true about his sexuality, which RV is pretty sure that he’s gay, but maybe he could be bisexual.
It’s sophomore year and RV has new challenges. His boyfriend Bobby is a fellow student at the prestigious Boston Latin School, but they don’t see each other much because Bobby just made the varsity football team, and is spending all his time at practice or hanging with teammates. RV and Bobby had issues before, because RV didn’t understand why Bobby, who is an only child and a studious young black boy, is so driven to succeed. And to keep his sexuality a secret. RV isn’t sure he wants to come out, but Bobby is over-the-top terrified of anyone knowing. RV’s also a bit irritated that Carole, his previous girlfriend and still good friend, is preoccupied, hoping her summer boyfriend from France will visit at Christmas. With Bobby and Carole so busy, RV continues to cultivate friendships.
Mark is a boy in his Spanish class who seems friendly. It turns out he’s a Pentacostal Christian, and his devout family is in crisis now that his older brother came out as gay. Mark has so many questions about sexuality, and attraction; both boys are attracted to their Spanish teacher, but again, so much fear over potential gay-ness. It’s upsetting for RV who doesn’t even have the answers about his own feelings. The story, like the previous one, is mostly told through RV’s personal journal where he explores the conflicts of his life with scrutiny and vocabulary. He’s not sure how to approach his parents about his sexuality questions, but he’s developing a stronger relationship with Ray, which he’s happy about. We get a clear-eyed view of RV’s internal and external struggles as a 15 year old boy, with identities in the LGBTQ spectrum as well as the immigrant experience. He’s a polyglot, speaking Lithuanian and English fluently while also studying Latin and Spanish; words are his absolutely his jam.
This book is centered on relationships, those of friends, family and confidants. As some wax others wane, in the typical teen fashion. Bobby has a big injury that strains their already fraying relationship, so RV needs to lean heavier on his other supports. The story hits a great balance between voice and action, with RV both narrating and living his experiences. I’m glad I’ve read this series through, and would be happy to keep riding along on RV’s emotional and evocative journey. Highly recommend for readers who enjoy YA and tween LGBTQ stories.
This book was received as an ARC from NineStar Press in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.
I can think of so many people that had similar stories and experiences that RV went through in this book. The struggles of adolescence is real and this book even though it is a Fiction representation reflects on all of it. It starts by noticing that something is off from your friends and then finding out some difficult news that changes your perception on everything. That is why it is really important to find a teacher or faculty member you can connect with to help you with all of these issues like RV did with Mr. Aniso that brings to light what is important in life. From this book, I also realized how important it is to have passion for an activity so it gives your life purpose and meaning for that you don't have room or need to worry about anyone else but yourself. I know more than anyone how important mentorship is and how it can be very thriving.
We will consider adding this title to our YA collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
I am so happy the author is staying true to the correct ages for these characters and they way things operate when you are young. It would feel totally false if RV and Bobby had an adult type of commitment to their relationship while both of them are still maturing and trying to learn how to deal with all the issues of sexuality, coming out, bullies, being a gay athlete, friendship versus romance, etc. etc. We get new relationships for RV such as with Mark and Ms. Sanchez, but thank goodness Mr. Aniso is still around. I love it that we haven't made huge jumps in any of the plot. Life is going along as it does for real people, forward for a while, backwards for a while and sometimes just totally random and confusing. I'll be happy to follow these characters and this author for as long as he wants to keep aging this group and exploring their relationships.
This was not as enjoyable as I thought it was going to be and I requested thinking this was going to be more humorous than it was. I thought the main character was a little whiny but some of the observations and retorts were spot on and funny. Not what I thought but just ok. Also did not realize this was part of a series but it was a good stand alone book.
I liked the idea of comparing relationships to pizza but following though on the why was lost because the of whining of the main character. Disappointed.
Cannot recommend this one unfortunately, just did not grab me.
Thanks to Netgalley, Andy Roamer and Nine Star Press/Sun Fire for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you for NetGallery for letting me have an ARC of this book - and sorry for the delayed review. This is the third book of a series, in which I haven’t actually read the first two of. Despite this - the characters are easy to like and the writing is simple, so you can easily read it as a standalone, even though there’s some slight spoilers to the previous two. The main character seems to be struggling with his identities - which makes this a good book for those who may also be trying to find who they are. Written in a diary format, it’s a sweet coming of age novel. However - I thought it would have been a bit more comedic, like the title suggests. But overall a nice little read.
You must read the first two as this is an ongoing series about a young boy and his life growing up. In this book summer is ending and school is start back. This book focus on relationships, family and friends as things all change and people change . I like how you see life through a teenagers eye, I like the humor, and you also learn some of the history and things RV studies in school. It is an interesting story.
Oh, the drama of being a teenager. Although some of what RV goes through in The Pizza Chronicles is normal teenage angst, some of what he goes through in Why Can’t Relationships Be Like Pizza are pretty drastic. That event is compounded by all the little things that seem to be going against him. Needless to say, RV isn’t in a very happy place through much of this book.
As with the other books in The Pizza Chronicles, this one is told entirely from RV’s POV and most of it is an inner dialogue. It gives readers a sometimes confusing, sometimes whiny, sometimes self-centered view of RVs world, which is very realistic when it comes to teenagers. But RV is also a very caring, compassionate, smart young man who is loyal to those he cares about. He’s easy to like and want to get to know better.
RV also has a lot of support from people who care. He has good friends, both his age and adults and his family may not understand, but they try. Even his brother is coming around and proving that there’s more to him than the sullen, antagonistic younger brother that readers were first introduced to.
A lot happens in Why Can’t Relationships Be Like Pizza. Some tragic, some frustrating, some confusing, but it also ends in hope. Things are changing, which they always do, but RV learns that some changes are for the better, even if they don’t feel that way in the beginning. ❤
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of Why Can't Relationships Be Like Pizza? All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This is the third book in The Pizza Chronicles, and my favorite one in the series.
The Pizza Chronicles is a sweet coming of age series written in diary format about a young boy trying to figure out life’s biggest questions such as sexuality, identity, religion, friendship and how to handle his strict immigrant parents.
The story in Why Can’t Relationships Be Like Pizza continues where the second book left off, with RV entering sophomore year. Just as in the previous two books, the story is told via the diary entries RV makes at the end of each day in his computer journal where he struggles with his sexuality, relationships and questions about life in general. RV is such a geeky, sweet, innocent and awkward character, and has such a great humor, that even though I might have preferred to see some more perspectives to this story, it was always interesting and enjoyable to be inside his head this way.
This third book was my favorite in this series, and had some great character growth and a more emotional plot. RV’s journey has finally reached a point where he fully accepts who he is, but relationships are still so complicated and give rise to new questions. RV still cares for Bobby, but Bobby seems a different, more distant person, and RV’s former girlfriend and best friend Carole is distracted by the ups and downs in her relationships with her French boyfriends. But as always, RV’s former teacher and mentor, Mr. Aniso, is there for advice and to help when it’s needed the most.
I really appreciated the way this story didn’t shy away from difficult topics such as homophobia, life-changing tragedies and mental health issues. I also really appreciated learning more about the complexity of life as an immigrant in the USA and how RV’s understanding of his parents, their reasons and their past, began to grow throughout this series.
All in all, this was a sweet coming-of-age story dealing with teenage confusion and important topics such as sexuality, family expectations and heredity, homophobia, self-discovery and self-acceptance in a cute and unique way.
3.5 adorkable stars rounding up to 4
Thank you to Gay Book Promotions and Nine Star Press for the ARC and blog tour invitation! All opinions are my own and I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.
I actually read Why Can't Dating be Like Pizza which will be out soon. Good book. Full review on BOOKTRIB.COM UP NOW!
Here's a tidbit: "This coming-of-age YA novel is full of teenage angst and drama that doesn’t seem to skip any generations. It touches universal themes, showcases family dynamics, gives everyone who reads it something to think about – how are you relating to those in your life? Are you hearing them when they tell you who they are?"
I apparently missed the line that this was book #3 of the series. However, I don't feel like I missed anything in the story itself that wasn't quickly figured out in this one. The title gives away the book's major point where the comparison to pizza and relationships is made. It's a genuinely good point and is helpful for those who might be questioning their own sexuality. The main character? It seems like he is struggling with a lot of questions about his identities, who he is as a person, and what kind of person he wants to be, but he makes very little movement towards answering any of those questions. However, the author tackles those questions head-on and doesn't shy away from having the main character question that, struggle through things, and all the positive or negative effects of those questions. I appreciate the raw honesty of those struggles.
Thank you to #NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review of #WhyCantRelationshipsbelikePizza
The Pizza Chronicles is a coming of age series written in diary format about a young boy trying to figure out life’s biggest questions such as sexuality, identity, religion, friendship and how to handle his strict immigrant parents. This book is centered on relationships; friends, family and confidants. We get new relationships for RV such as with Mark and Ms. Sanchez.
I appreciate the way this story didn’t shy away from difficult topics such as homophobia, life-changing tragedies and mental health issues. I found the writing quite easy to follow, however, I would have liked to see more character development and growth, especially from the main character. But nevertheless, a good, simple story dealing with sexuality, coming out and homophobia.