Alek Khederian should have guessed something was wrong when his parents took him to a restaurant. Everyone knows that Armenians never eat out. Between bouts of interrogating the waitress and criticizing the menu, Alek’s parents announce that he’ll be attending summer school in order to bring up his grades. Alek is sure this experience will be the perfect hellish end to his hellish freshman year of high school. He never could’ve predicted that he’d meet someone like Ethan.
Ethan is everything Alek wishes he were: confident, free-spirited, and irreverent. He can’t believe a guy this cool wants to be his friend. And before long, it seems like Ethan wants to be more than friends. Alek has never thought about having a boyfriend—he’s barely ever had a girlfriend—but maybe it’s time to think again.
You know when you’ve read a book and just by looking at the cover, it sends your heart into overdrive. It can make you smile just by thinking of the amazing story within its pages. The gorgeously written themes can make you want to jump up and down and tell everyone about how amazing it is.
Yeah, that’s what this book does to me.
Usually, I’d fill this review up with a bunch of gifs that I’d have specifically chosen to illustrate my love and adoration for Michael Barakiva’s book, but after searching for a bit, I realized that this book deserves more than five gifs that took me at most ten minutes to find.
One Man Guy is, at its core, a story of love and understanding. Family plays an important part in this book, and I really liked how the author portrayed Alek’s family. Alek Khederian’s Armenian family definitely tugged at my heartstrings. The white suburban families portrayed in most YA were starting to grate on my nerves and the Khederians were exactly what I needed.
The Khederian family was distinctly more developed than most families in YA. I definitely felt more connected to these guys, and therefore the main character. (It may also be partly due to the fact that I saw a distinct similarity with the Khederians to my own family.)
Alek himself was very relatable. I could empathize with his struggles, like trying to keep grades up and dealing with fairly traditional family members. As a queer teen myself, I could also feel a kinship with him in that sense too.
Ethan, Alek’s boyfriend, wasn’t nearly as developed as Alek. He was almost a walking bad boy stereotype. Barakiva made it cute and quirky though so I didn’t mind it as much as I feel I should have.
On the flip side, he seemed really insensitive to Alek’s concerns and needs, which was pretty ironic, but other than that, I thought he was really adorable and his relationship with Alek was realistic and incredibly squee-worthy.
The ending could either piss people off or it may not. It was very happy-ever-after and everything was resolved quickly and almost unrealistically easily. I couldn’t stand to see Alek hurt so I was okay with it but I didn’t love it.
Overall, I really loved One Man Guy. It was a fairly quick, but satisfying and happy read. I would recommend it entirely!