ADAM by Ariel Schrag


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An emotionally mature, socially tongue-tied and sexually anxious teenage boy abandons the comforts of suburbia for a walk on the wild side in LGBT New York.

Best known for mining her own adolescence in her trilogy of graphic memoirs, here Schrag (Potential, 2008, etc.) paints a lush picture of the queer scene in Brooklyn circa 2006 through the eyes of an unusually straight-laced protagonist. Her muse is the lesbian side of New York’s gay subculture, but choosing a shy, awkward teen boy as the portal into the underground was a bold choice. After being ditched for a girl by his best friend, Adam Freedman opts to stay with his closeted gay sister, Casey, in a dingy apartment for the summer, along with her butch roommate, June, and their Craigslist-acquired flatmate, Ethan. Floating along in Casey’s wake, Adam learns to navigate the weird wonderland of New York and gets to see a side of the city most boys who like girls don’t get to experience, along with the high drama of any tightly woven, politically active and sexually volatile scene. At one of many parties, Adam meets one of those girls who stop your heart, a redheaded goddess named Gillian who immediately takes a shine to him. This being a romantic comedy set in a supposedly post-gender metropolis, naturally the meet-cute couple experiences a few bumps in the road, namely that Gillian identifies as a lesbian and believes Adam is a trans boy, with lady parts instead of his constantly raging erection. Sensitive readers should know there are some raunchy bits here and there, with many variations of boot-knocking and a bawdy visit to an underground sex club. It all sounds very progressive, but the talented Schrag’s gifts for characterization and dialogue make the whole enterprise sweetly entertaining.

A well-composed story about love and lust in all their myriad variations and about a boy finding his place in a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world.

Pub Date: June 10th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-544-14293-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Mariner/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2014


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