Monday, November 12, 2012

Boyfriends with Girlfriends by Alex Sanchez

I've been catching up on a lot of recent queer YA lately because I'll be at the GSA Student Conference happening in Edmonton next weekend. Since I've read other books by Alex Sanchez (Rainbow Boys; Getting It), I thought I'd just flip through his Boyfriends with Girlfriends to get a feel for it instead of reading the whole thing. It didn't work that way, however, because I got sucked right in and read every word.

Sanchez has created four believable teen characters with a mix of ethnic backgrounds: a gay guy, a bisexual guy, a butch lesbian and a bisexual young woman. The issue of bisexuality is sensitively handled and central to the romantic conflicts. The realistic dialogue moves the story along quickly (although I disapprove of all the cell phone use while driving!). The four of them go through all kinds of relationship angst as they sort out the early stages of attraction and dating. They are sweet kids and the book is sweet too.

The book jacket does a good job of reflecting the contents. I found some background about the design on the CBC (Children's Book Council) Diversity website. Laurent Linn, art director at Simon & Schuster, said he "aimed to create a cover that looks 'hot,' like a movie poster, but shows the characters interacting in ways that suggest the story's complexities. Casting models who resemble the characters was key, of course, as was posing them to be true to their relationships (it was quite a photo shoot)!" Read the whole post about portraying diversity on book covers here.

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