Monday, July 4, 2016

It Looks Like This by Rafi Mittlefehldt - NO

Mittlefehldt, Rafi It Looks Like This, 336 pages.  $17.  Candlewick, SEPT 2016.  Language: R (45+ swears, 2 ‘f’); Mature Content: R ; Violence: PG.

Mike, 14yo, is trying to figure out high school and also trying to figure out life.  His home life seems to be pretty ordinary, with the usual miscommunications and parental tensions; school has become more of a mine field, with someone targeting him for bullying and no one to turn to for friendship.  When Sean arrives on the scene, a simple “Hi” turns into to something else, something special.  When the bully alerts the families, however, all hell breaks loose.

I never thought I would read a book about a budding romance that just felt so blasé.  This books tries so hard to be coy, but it just ends up being slow and mysterious, without the magic that you feel going into a first love.  Maybe this is mimicking the caution that goes into any budding relationship, especially a gay one, but its snail pace, instead, is a turnoff.  Now – when the parents get involved on page 243 – then comes the stuff that shocks and educates – showing what life might be like in one of those conversion therapy programs.  And when Mike flees and finally confronts his family and what has happened at school since he was gone, there is the meat of this book that should be read by everyone.  Even if this book were about heterosexual characters, it would have an R rating for mature content.  There is one very graphic sex scene, plus teens smoking and drinking.  As much as I want to recommend this book for those last 100 pages, I don’t think any teenager is going to wade through the first 200 pages to get to what counts. 

NOT RECOMMENDED.  Cindy, Library Teacher

REVIEWER NOTE - As always, we invite dissenting opinions on KTB, as long as they contain well express, thoughtfully formulated arguments.

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