I was so excited to read this book. An ace boy who befriends and falls for a boy who's transgender. Yes, please! This book was published by Harmony Ink Press, the same publisher of We Awaken, which I've also read and written a review for. So, I really appreciate Harmony Ink for yet again publishing a novel that features queer identities--in this case, asexuality and transgender--and perfectly and clearly explaining these identities and the myths commonly associated with each. Besides this, this book also mentions the term genderqueer! A Fine bromance, then, is great for people, queer or otherwise, who are familiar with the queer community, as well as for those who may not be but are interested in learning more.
I also just thought the relationship between Robby and Andy was so pure and wonderful, full of many cute moments, and I adored how unequivocally Robbie accepted and loved Andy for who he was and, later, how Andy was so patient and understanding as Robby came out to him as asexual.
Now for the not-so-great.
This was a difficult book to rate, and I was swaying between two and three stars. Honestly, if I could give this book two ratings, I would give it a three for the story and a two for the actual writing. While I really appreciated this story, I found a similar issue in A Fine Bromance as I did inWe Awaken where I just thought the dialogue was incredibly stilted and unnatural and didn’t read as how people would actually speak-- more so in this novel, I’d say. No matter what, I can’t completely get into a story if the characters don’t come alive and I’m unable to connect with them. That is, they don’t come across as real people. A lot of the time, this story felt more like one of those older classic novels, and sometimes even like a children’s novel--you know, before dialogue in books progressively became more and more realistic. To me, the the dialogue was just incredibly flat in this book.
Besides this, there were a few other things here and there that I wasn't completely sold on:
1. I found it pretty alarming that Andy had already gotten a hysterectomy, considering he’s still in high school. Also, that’s a major surgery. It’s not like getting hormone treatment. I was really surprised that his parents would just be perfectly okay with this. Also, is that even legal for a doctor to perform a hysterectomy on a minor?!
2. I really would have liked more of a resolution with Claire and her relationship with Andy, considering that she treated him horribly throughout the entire novel. To me, it simply wasn’t enough to say, She just hung out with the wrong crowd, but she’s learned her lesson now! I wanted Claire herself to formally address all of this and to apologize to Andy for how she treated him.
3. For me, the ending was just a liiiiittle too cheesy, with the flash forward revealing Robby and Andy eventually getting married. Not that I didn’t want them to get married. I just would have preferred for it to have been left more up in the air, like most other romance novels tend to do. Truly, we readers are perfectly happy just knowing that Andy and Robby are together. We don’t need to know how their entire future panned out!
All in all, this was definitely a cute read, and I do appreciate A Fine Bromance for featuring a relationship with two different queer identities--something that I definitely think we need to see more of. But for me, the writing just didn't quite measure up, and I felt that it lacked the palpable characters and authenticity that so defines young adult literature.
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