We love a good queer contemporary book on this blog, and Straight Expectations was no exception. With it being UKYA and a fun-sounding book with a very slight supernatural twist, I just knew I had to check this one out. I was on the tour for this one with The Write Reads Tours, so thanks for allowing me to participate in this.
In this book, we follow Max, a gay teenage boy who’s usually so focused on boys and his nail polish that he doesn’t always think to check his privilege. After having a massive fight with his friends one night, he wishes he could have the ‘easy’ life that straight kids enjoy. When he wakes up in the morning, it’s the day before, and he discovers that he really has become straight and that his best friend, Dean is nowhere to be found. As his new life starts taking turns that he never expected, he has to find a way to return to his real life before he messes up the new one too badly.
It did take me a little while to get into this book. It was an easy read, but it took a little longer to get to the wishing than expected. I understand why this was done, so you can see his real life. Still, once I reached the life swap, I was much more interested and managed to read around 250 pages of the book in one night. So that’s pretty good going.
I liked that this book had Max learning how he is privileged and then trying to improve himself once he has. He’s not a bad kid, but in some ways, he clearly does have advantages over his other friends. It’s not until he has to live like those he thought had it so much easier than him that he realised the differences. There’s a brief discussion on The Handmaid’s Tale, and I kinda wish that Max had gone on to read more of it, as Oliver suggested some of what he could learn. But he did learn those lessons in other ways. So that’s good.
The romance itself was pretty sweet. At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d like him and Oliver, but in the end, I really did. Oliver was a lovely guy, and we love a book nerd. Once Max stopped seeing him as someone to be idolised and actually just started to spend time with him, you really got to learn about the character. So I actually like that I wasn’t sure at first, but he grew on me. It felt like McSwiggan did an excellent job showing the differences between who Max thought Oliver was and who he actually was.
This was definitely a fun read, so if you’re looking to support more UKYA, especially queer UKYA, then check this one out!
Title: Straight Expectations
Editor: Calum McSwiggan
Age Range: Young Adult
Release Date: 4/5/23