Heartbreak Boys

HarperCollins/Clarion. Dec. 2022. 384p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780358617259.
Gr 9 Up–English 16-year-olds Jack and Nate, cued as white, are polar opposites. Unapologetically, fabulously gay Jack is positive that he and his popular boyfriend, Dylan, will be crowned king and queen of their prom—that’ll show the haters! Meanwhile, closeted, neurotic Nate loves his boyfriend, Tariq, enough to come out at the prom during a speech. Except, that’s when everyone finds out Dylan and Tariq are together and planning an Instagrammable summer break. An enraged Jack decides that he and Nate—former best friends—must retaliate by Instagramming their own fantastic summer. Unfortunately, theirs is a mishap-prone road trip with Nate’s parents, and extrovert Jack continually drives introvert Nate up a tree. How were they ever even friends? Could they ever get their friendship back? Could it lead to more than that? Told in chapters alternating the boys’ points of view, this hilarious rom-com overflows with lively, distinctive characters, and a lot of heart. The road trip is full of hapless episodes that Jake manages to twist into Instagram photos to rival Dylan and Tariq’s, in the process exposing how unreliable a story social media can tell. The romance develops slowly and believably, with requisite misunderstandings, as the former best friends get reacquainted and remember all the fun they had as kids. Cursing and sexual references are teen-relevant.
VERDICT A delightful, opposites-attract rom-com.

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