One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva

May 27th, 2014
Young Adult | LGBT
5 out of 5 Stars

“Because anyone who thinks there is something wrong with being gay is like those people you read about in History who believed in segregation. But I bet you Ethan cares, because it sounds to me like he has a crush on you, too.” – Chapter 9, page 107

Imagine for a moment that you’re a fourteen-year-old boy. Your parents just told you that you will be doing summer school, not because you failed, but because your grades could be better. Your parents, who has the combined obsessive tenacity of Rain Man if Rain Man has a twin brother, insist on keeping the tradition, the culture, the civility of a good Armenian family. You have very little choice but to go.

You then find out that the school’s infamous D.O. [drop out] would also be taking the summer classes with you along with his company of rejects. But maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. After all, he did save you from a beat-down. In fact, he looked a little worst-for-wear on the first day of summer school. Clearly, Ethan at least, is chivalrous and kind to defend you. Then you started hanging out with him; started cutting class, even. You discovered a world outside the rigorous, traditions instilled at your home.

It wasn’t smooth-sailing at first; for a moment, you thought he was embarrassed to be your friend. But he surprises you again! He is a full, out of the closet gay boy who hangs out with a crowd that you’ve apparently misjudged. Ethan is the coolest boy you know; he dresses nicely; he is funny. He knows the best way to enjoy New York City in under  $10. He likes Rufus Wainright, and art museums. Why would he possibly want to hang out with you?

Soon, your friendly feelings toward Ethan becomes an inexplicable, complicated thing. Is this a crush? But you’re not gay! How could you possibly  have a crush on a boy when you’re a straight boy yourself? And you’re only fourteen! And you’ve had crushes on girls; you’ve even kissed a girl before. Shouldn’t you know right away if you were gay?

Thus is the story of these two boys; one lived in a carefully protected world, ensconced by his family’s constant need to conform in the small community of Armenians in New Jersey. And the other, a free spirited boy, who’d learned the pain of a broken heart at such a young age. Their story is one of the sweetest, awkwardly romantic LGBT book I’ve read so far. Funny as it is heartfelt, and inspirational in its honesty.




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  • Wow, this book sounds brilliant. It touches on a lot of common issues that the youth faces these days, and I hope it does a good job at it. I really want to read this, as I know it’ll continue to open my own eyes regarding the LGBT community. Thank you for sharing this <3

  • Oh, this book looks so adorable – I’m so glad to hear that you loved it! It just makes me want to read it that much more!!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    • Yes! Please do. You won’t regret it. It’s a fast and light read – funny too!

  • This sounds kind of beautiful. I think I need to read this one too.

    • It is, Nicole. I really hope you’ll enjoy it too. 🙂

  • Christy

    Rufus Wainright. I approve. This sounds so adorable! I really should read it.

    • I’ve heard of the name but not of his music. So I remedied that right away. 🙂

  • I didn’t realize the characters in this were so young. This is on my TBR list (how could it not be with that adorable couple), and I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it so much. It sounds very relevant and endearing. I’ll have to see if my library has a copy. Great review!

    • Alek is fourteen, but Ethan is 17, I think. However, Alek has a quirky upbringing and much smarter than most kids his age. I think you will enjoy this, Natalie. I know you’re a fan of contemporary romance. 🙂

  • I don’t read a lot of LGBT, but this one looks really cute and interesting. Awkwardness rocks. Awesome review, Joy!

    • And Michael does awkward romance well! I hope you’ll read this when it comes out, Aimee. 🙂

  • I was on the fence about this one, but now I’m sold. That’s a very real struggle and one that I think is only beginning to be explored in YA literature. And there’s just something so endearing about awkward romance! 🙂 Great review Joy!

    • It’s just your typical contemporary romance, Rachel. And I know you’re a fan of those. If you’re looking for something light, then you most definitely need to read this. 🙂

  • Wow! I don’t often go for books like that, but sometimes I just need smth different. This sounds like a different and insightful coming-of-age story. Thank you for your wonderful review!

    • Thanks, Victoria. This book is definitely a must-read if you’re tired of heavy reads. 🙂

  • I haven’t decided yet if this is for me. But aww! You make it sound amazing 😀 And adorable. And fun. And sweet. I’m so glad you loved it Joy. <3 I do think it sounds awesome. Sigh. Thank you for sharing. <3

    • Sweet, adorable and fun perfectly fits this book. Thanks, C. I hope you’ll read it in the future. 🙂

  • You know what? I just love your review. You always have the most intriguing books and cover. I didn’t know this one I confess but you make it so intriguing! I really love the idea and I want to follow the main character to discover how he will manage to deal with everyhing at once. Great review!

    • Thanks, Melliane. I like the cover as well; I think it fits perfectly well with the story contents. 🙂

  • I have seen a couple of reviews for this one floating around the blogsphere lately and they all seem to feel the same way you did.

    Great review!

  • Brilliant review Joy, sounds like this book was a great LGBT discovery book. I really like the sound of it because it sounds more realistic. Thanks for sharing!

    • Precisely! I like how real Alek’s reaction was when he realized his feelings for Ethan. And OMG. They’re so adorable together. 😉

  • Aww this sounds like a cute fluffy read! I definitely would love to see how it would work out between them. So glad you enjoyed it! Great review!

    • Thanks, Marianne. 🙂 I hope you’ll get to read it soon.

  • This sounds like a great coming-of-age LGBT book Joy! I love the premise too, and I went to an all-girls college and I think a lot of my friends can relate with this experience. I have friends who had boyfriends in high school and got really confused why they are having feelings for another girl. Years later, a lot of them are still together. There are people who know right away what their preference are. There are some where it’s not even about that person’s sex…they just fell in love with the person itself. From you review, it looks like this book was successful in showing that people’s experiences are different. They didn’t just wake up and think, I’m gay. Great review!

    • Exactly, to some it comes as natural as sunrise and sunset; and to others, more deliberations and soul-searchings are required. Thanks, Amir!