It Looks Like This by Rafi Mittlefehldt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Mike and his family move from Wisconsin to Virginia for his father's new job. Mike isn't thrilled, as he's in high school, but the family is used to doing what Mike's overbearing father desires. Quiet Mike, who loves art more than sports, doesn't fit in well with his religious family, or with a lot of the boys at his school. Quickly, he finds himself being bullied by several kids at school and pressured by his father to join a school sports team. But Mike finds comfort when he meets Sean, another kid at school, and the two become fast friends. However, other people at school have an eye on the pair's friendship, too.
This book is heartbreaking in many ways, but hard to describe without completely ruining the entire plot. It's a lovely gem of a LGBT book. It's difficult to read: the dialogue is all jammed together (no quotation marks, for example) and in my ARC, there wasn't even a space between the start of a new section of thought. Once you get used to that, it's easier to read, and you get into the flow of Mike's thoughts. Tension builds slowly, as you learn more about Mike, his life, and his inner thoughts and desires.
I wish this book could be standard reading for gay youth--and their parents. It's poignant and truthful, albeit it hurt my heart in many places. I don't typically seem to read a lot of YA novels with male narrators, but this is the second I've picked up recently, and it blew the other one out of the water. I quickly grew fond of Mike, whom I wanted to take in, and I loved his spunky younger sister, Toby. Mike's never-ending need for detail grows old at times (just get on with story already), but this is still a worthy read, and certainly a great tale for LGBT youth. It definitely affected me deeply.
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Netgalley (thank you!); it is available everywhere as of 9/13/2016.
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