I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. This doesn’t affect my thoughts in any way.
Title: Same Love
Author: Tony Correia
Release: August 10th
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
My rating: ★★✩✩✩
I honestly would like to put trigger warnings for homophobia, racism and slut shaming because some elements made me really uncomfortable, and if this is something that triggers you, then you may want to avoid it. Oh and ableism too. This book has a gay main character, but so many people were against it and really homophobic it really pained me. If you’re looking for a gay positive book, you might want to read something else (even if the ending was decently positive).
Adam’s very religious parents are scocked and ashamed to find out that their son is gay and send him to a Christian camp for the summer, using his university savings. There, he makes new friends and tries to find an equilibrium for his religion and his sexuality. And little by little, he falls in love with one of his bunkmates… That’s the basic plot of the story, which also flirts with issues such as depression and slit shaming.
I would honestly really like to have someone else’s opinion on this book. So many things made me really uncomfortable, and I would love to discuss it, to see if I’m the only one (like, am I becoming really paranoid and see hate everywhere). I suppose it was made at least to some extent to reflect “real life”. I know this definitely happens to some teens. But is it really necessary to reflect such hate in fiction? This is open to discussion. I really want to know. It’s a bit hard for me to write this review because I have some really conflicted about this book.
What I did find interesting is that we got to see characters who are both Christians and gay, and it’s not something we get often in YA. However, I feel like it could have been dealt with in a better way. There is this post going around tumblr, where someone shows (by quoting the Bible) that being a loving person, and accepting people is the most important thing in religion. This is something I would love to see in a book, and I wish we’d had more of that in here. Sadly, I also know this is also often how things are in the non fictional world (and it’s also why I’m having so much trouble with religion, but it’s a complete other topic). What I want to say here, is that this book was heartbreaking in many way when it comes to family, and contained a lot of negativity, and it was, in my opinion, a pity.
I also had issues with slut shaming and racism in this book, and maybe it’s just made in a way to show that some people think like that and it’s bad and it’s find because our main character doesn’t. But really. It made me jump in my seat to see how Rhonda and Paul were treated (by Randall for example). And by the way, Paul is almost all the time described as Asian, but that’s not enough information. I believe he is Korean? I think that’s mentioned at some point. But again, you can’t just give minimalistic characteristic like that to your love interest. I think this should have been explored a bit more – once again, a pity.
And don’t get me started on the ableism. First we get Randall shaming Martin for being diabetic. And then the entire camp is shaming him for his mental illness – which was another issue overlooked by the book.
I want to believe this book was full of good intentions, and just badly executed. There were even some cute parts I enjoyed, but it’s overshadowed by all the parts that disturbed me.
I did like the ending though. But in the end, I don’t know what message I’m supposed to get from this book. Sure, our main character gets to accept himself more in a way. But most issues aren’t even solved in the end. The book isn’t even that long and I feel like a lot of elements could have been explored in a better way.
I really wanted to like this book, but so many things clicked wrong, I just couldn’t. (And on an afterthought, I checked other reviews on Goodreads and people seem to overall agree with me…) So I guess that’s it. Please let me know your thoughts if you have read this book as well. Thanks for reading this article, and I hope you have a wonderful day!