The Perfect Guy Doesn’t Exist

Wednesday Bks. Mar. 2024. 304p. Tr $20. ISBN 9781250819185.
Gr 8 Up–Gonzales’s latest queer rom-com is a laugh-out-loud hit. Fan-fiction writer Ivy is struggling after a break from her former best friend/crush Mack. Despite bonding with Henry (a fellow fan of her favorite TV show, H-MAD), Ivy still feels the sting without Mack. One night, Ivy wishes her favorite H-MAD character, Weston, were real. The next morning, she wakes up next to Weston himself! Well sort of…Ivy and Henry soon realize this version of Weston is one created from Ivy’s fan fiction and have no idea where he came from or how to make him go back. When Mack accidentally discovers Weston, Ivy finds herself turning to Mack for help and wondering if they might be able to fix what’s broken. This latest title continues Gonzales’s stellar reputation for strong bisexual female protagonists. Through past/present alternating chapters, readers watch Ivy come out bisexual, as well as learn that Henry is asexual/aromantic and Mack is a lesbian. Despite being much more satirical comedy than her previous titles (with of course, the magical realism sprinkled in), Gonzales still manages to weave queerness into the fabric of the book. There aren’t many references to race, but Mack is a person of color. Weston is an over-the-top character (true to his fan-fiction origin) and provides nonstop laughs throughout. The dialogue is sharp and witty, providing a fun, quick read. Fans of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Jennifer Dugan’s Verona Comics, or Cherie Priest’s I Am Princess X will devour this one.
VERDICT Watch out Simon Snow, there’s a new swoony-worthy fan-fiction boy in the YA-verse. A first purchase for all YA collections.

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