Boyfriends with Girlfriends

Sanchez, Alex. Boyfriends with Girlfriends. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011. Hardcover. 224pp. $16.99. ISBN: 978-1416937739.

When Lance and Sergio decide to meet each other offline for the first time, each brings his best friend along. Allie and Kimiko find they like each other almost as much as the two boys do. But naturally, both relationships encounter obstacles.

Lance has always known he is gay, but his only previous boyfriend was in the closet and they broke up over the stresses that created. Sergio was dumped by his girlfriend and is wary of it happening again. Lance is convinced there are only two kinds of people – gay and straight – so he thinks that Sergio’s claim of being bi is a cop-out.

Allie thought she was straight and is unsure what to make of her attraction to Kimiko. Plus, she’s lost interest in her boyfriend, but he still loves her so she feels guilty about breaking up. Meanwhile, Kimiko thinks Allie is way out of her league and is probably just curious anyway. But can she stand to just be friends with a shared interest in Japanese culture?

And then there are parents and the perils of coming out. Sergio’s are mostly resigned, though his mother keeps praying that he will change. Kimiko’s mother is determined to make her butch daughter more feminine. Lance has an accepting family, while Allie’s doesn’t really come into the story. One priceless moment in the book is Lance’s memory of announcing as a young child that when he grows up he is going to marry a man.

As he has in other novels, Sanchez creates characters that are real individuals who illustrate a range of possible responses to experiencing same sex attraction. And he writes about that attraction with passion and enough detail for readers to understand what’s happening, without becoming so explicit that readers cry TMI. In many ways, this is a very sweet and ordinary story of teen romance, but it becomes important as it addresses the experience of bisexuality and how that affects relationships with both gay and straight partners.


Reviewed by, Carolyn Caywood
Retired Librarian
Virginia Beach Public Library


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