Monday, August 2, 2021

Book Review: Jay's Gay Agenda by Jason June

Title: Jay's Gay Agenda
Author: Jason June
Publication Date: June 1, 2021
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 368
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There's one thing Jay Collier knows for sure—he's a statistical anomaly as the only out gay kid in his small rural Washington town. While all this friends can't stop talking about their heterosexual hookups and relationships, Jay can only dream of his own firsts, compiling a romance to-do list of all the things he hopes to one day experience—his Gay Agenda.

Then, against all odds, Jay's family moves to Seattle and he starts his senior year at a new high school with a thriving LGBTQIA+ community. For the first time ever, Jay feels like he's found where he truly belongs, where he can flirt with Very Sexy Boys and search for love. But as Jay begins crossing items off his list, he'll soon be torn between his heart and his hormones, his old friends and his new ones...because after all, life and love don't always go according to plan.

From debut novelist Jason June comes a moving and hilarious sex-positive story about the complexities of first loves, first hookups, and first heartbreaks—and how to stay true to yourself while embracing what you never saw coming.

Another great 5 star read! I want to start this review off by saying I am absolutely loving this trend of main characters who are list makers. I’m not a list maker but, I swear, one more good book with list makers and I’m going to become one. There will be a mini spoiler in this review because it’s a complaint I’ve seen in multiple reviews.

Jay’s Gay Agenda is about Jay Collier, a high school student from a very small, rural, suffocating town in Washington. As the only openly gay student at his school, and probably in his entire town, Jay made it to senior year with no first kiss, no first hand hold, and not even a romantic hug. Jay could only dream of a time when he’d be able to have romantic relationships and he kept his dream in list form in his notebook. To Jay’s excitement, he and his family moved to Seattle for his mom’s job. Unfortunately, he had to leave his best friend, but for the first time in his life he wouldn’t be the only openly gay kid around. Jay quickly starts living his best life and crossing things off of his Gay Agenda. Ultimately, Jay gets in over his head dealing with his hormones and his heart and trying to keep his best friend happy while trying to enjoy his new life.

The biggest complaint I’ve seen about Jay’s Gay Agenda is that while Jay was dating one boy, he was sleeping with another. People are calling this cheating but, they seem to be skipping over the fact that Jay was not in an exclusive relationship. Therefore, he was not cheating. Romance as a teenager is complicated. Romance as a teenager at 17/18 when you’ve never even held someone’s hand is arduous. People may argue that Jay should have told his love interest, Albert, that he was sleeping with someone else while they were going on nonexclusive dates, but that was not information he was obligated to share. Albert was not entitled to that information because again, they were not exclusively dating. I also saw a complaint that Jay’s narration is “teenagey”. *Insert HUGE eyeroll here because Jay is a TEENAGER*

My personal complaint, that isn’t really a complaint, about this book is the semi-explicit sex scenes. This is only a complaint because I’m personally far too old (26) to explicitly read about teenagers having sex. I try to keep all of my smut in adult books.

Other than that, I thought this book was amazing. It was funny, it was insightful, and the characters were very flawed. In short, it was an authentic coming-of-age story and I can’t wait to see what Jason June puts out next!