Love abounds, heartache happens, and friendship endures in this hilarious and timely coming-of-age novel.
Alek Khederian, an Armenian-American New Jersey sophomore, is happily besotted with his handsome skater boyfriend, Ethan. Not only is he out of the closet, but his family accepts him and welcomes Ethan, a white senior. Alek, while in love, is not ready for sex, which Ethan seems to accept. During their six-month anniversary celebration, however, Ethan unwittingly reveals news that threatens to rip their relationship apart. Barakiva (One Man Guy, 2014) creates an engaging central couple whom readers will root for and smartly surrounds them with a flawless cast of three-dimensional supporting characters who round out the protagonists while standing out in their own rights. Alek’s parents are grade-obsessed, old-fashioned, and controlling to the point of hilarity, but their love and unconditional support of their son suffuses every interaction they have with him. The Khederians are ardent Christians, and Alek attends St. Stephen’s Armenian Orthodox Church on both Saturdays and Sundays. The scenes between Alek and Reverend Father Stepanian are some of the tale’s most gripping. Their ongoing debate regarding the church’s stance on homosexuality is handled sensitively and intelligently, providing Alek with character growth while also acknowledging the priest’s difficult position. The novel is enriched with vividly textured Armenian cultural details.
An honest and compelling teen romance. (Fiction. 14-18)