Goodness, where do I even begin? At the beginning, some might say. Alright then. The book up on the chopping block today is called Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian. This story is about a teenager named Will Caynes. In the beginning, (You asked, so I am starting here) Will is kissed by his best friend, Angus. Now he is confused. He knows he is into girls, but kissing a guy wasn’t too bad…
Then Will meets a lovely girl named Brandy, who is adorable and easy to chill with. He begins falling for her, which PROVES that he is most definitely not gay. However this still doesn’t prove that he is strictly straight.
Over the course of the book you are pulled into Will’s topsy-turvy world of trying to keep Angus and Brandy from finding out about each other, which is actually not too hard, considering that his parents are divorced and live in basically two separate social worlds. There are side problems as well. Will’s dad struggles to maintain his own problems and make ends meet while Will’s mother is always trying to prove that she is the better parent. This tension takes a tole on our main character, but gives the story a realistic edge: People have more than just one problem in life to deal with at a time.
The characters in this book are very realistic and easy to relate to. Each person has all sorts of little quirks and flaws that keep you interested. There are no clean-cut flawless people. Even the minor characters hook you.
I can relate to Will in his struggle to figure out who he is and why he is attracted to two different sexes. Coming to terms with one’s sexuality can be a confusing road. Will did not handle this the best way, which was aggravating (Very. Aggravating.) but he eventually learned to accept it for what it was.
The book was written nicely. There were lots of little pieces and excerpts that sounded a lot like something John Green would have written. They made you think, were relatable, and gave you a new perspective through imagery and comparisons.
I loved the fact that this book was about someone who is bisexual. Throughout it’s entirety, the actual word bisexual is never said (which is strange, because it would be nice to educate more people on this sexual orientation through literature and not off of somewhat-reliable social media). Disappointing, I know. However it was really nice to see some recognition for that. The spectrum is not strictly straight or gay. There are tons more types of orientations and preferences!
WARNING WARNING PARENTAL GUIDANCE SUGGESTED: One thing you must know about this book is that there is a lot of sex in it. Sex with two guys and with a guy and a girl. Nothing too graphic, (definitely nothing close to a fanfiction) but there is some description. After all, this story is written from the perspective of a stereotypical, horny teenage guy. I mean, I guess we should sort of expect it. There is also drinking; the boys get drunk occasionally, and Will’s dad is a bit of an alcoholic. There are also drugs; Marijuana is smoked occasionally.
Overall, this book was okay. It has a lot of potential, but it didn’t really go to its full extent (Sort of like how the movie Jupiter Ascending went: a totally cool idea that just doesn’t get expanded upon and built off of, if you’ve seen it). The amount of intimate activities (*cough cough*) didn’t spur me to take it seriously. There isn’t a great amount of character development, if at all. The ending leaves you unsatisfied. I literally turned the page thinking there was more chapters. The ending does not seem to be resolved, but, I will say there is a lot more symbolism behind it. The reader has sort of got to interpret it and take away from the book what they will, but the solution and purpose of the story are not clear as crystal.
I’m not sure I would really recommend this book. The concept is fantastic, which might be enough alone to get somebody to read it, but it just wasn’t satisfying enough to make my “Must Read” list.