Author: S.J. Goslee
Released: August 2nd 2016
Publisher: Roaring Brook
Length: 272 pages
Length: 272 pages
Our protagonist Mike Tate is so easy to fall in love with, despite (or because of) his many shortcomings. He drinks, he smokes weed, he challenges his friends to do insane things. He is really a fairly typical and pretty obnoxious 16-year-old boy with wild hormones and plenty of time on his hands. At the same time, though, we see him caring for his 6-year-old sister, being secretly (and sort of reluctantly) kind to his friends and putting himself into danger to save a younger boy from a sure beating. Even when he’s being insufferable (which is often), there is such potential shining in Mike that it’s easy to imagine him becoming a wonderful adult.
I loved every second of this book and I was so very grateful for its honesty and its authentic voice. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for Goslee’s next novel.
Hilarity ensues when a slacker teen boy discovers he's gay, in this unforgettably funny YA debut.
Mike Tate is a normal dude. He and his friends have a crappy band (an excuse to drink cheap beer and rock out to the Lemonheads) and hang out in parking lots doing stupid board tricks. But when Mike's girlfriend Lisa, who knows him better than he does, breaks up with him, he realizes he's about to have a major epiphany that will blow his mind. And worse--he gets elected to homecoming court.
It's like the apocalypse came, only instead of nuclear bombs and zombies, Mike gets school participation, gay thoughts, and mother-effin' cheerleaders.
With the free spirit of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the raw voice of Winger, and characters reminiscent of Freaks & Geeks, this debut YA offers a standout voice and a fresh, modern take on the coming-out story.
Whatever by S.J. Goslee is a hilarious and honest YA coming out story and it’s in many ways unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It’s not a romance by any usual standards, but it can be painfully romantic and endearing at times. It’s a heart-warming story with so many laugh-out-loud moments and unparalleled honesty in dealing with subjects like self-discovery, bisexuality and coming of age.
That being said, teenage Mike is often kind of an idiot, prone to lashing out when he’s hurt or when he’s feeling insecure. Even though this isn’t a romance, there is a clear romantic interest, albeit one that Mike has a hard time processing. Through Mike’s relationship with Wallace, Goslee shows us that we never know what happens inside a person. The relationship was built realistically and brilliantly, which can also be said about other relationships in this book.
This is a story that teaches us, first and foremost, about the process of coming out and how intensely personal it is for everyone. Even when someone isn’t exposed to homophobia, even when judgment from friends and family isn’t forthcoming, they have a right to choose their own pace and come out (or not come out) when and how they see fit. Mike uncovers his own sexual identity slowly and reluctantly, preferring to not make waves. His mom is completely accepting, his hilarious grandmother has her own way of dealing with things, his friends are mostly open, but Mike just isn’t ready to face things. It should also be said that homophobia sometimes comes from completely unexpected directions. Preparing yourself for this careful and slow process isn’t a small matter at all. We follow Mike as he learns new things about himself and slowly finds his footing. His journey is poignant, honest and funny, painful at times, but so worth it in the end.