Monday, July 29, 2013

Review- An Ordinary Boy by Brian Centrone

Goodreads Summary:

Tom Grove’s family is rich, his grandparents are famous, and he’s beautiful. He can have anything he wants, but all Tom really wants is to be an ordinary boy. Like his best friend, Marissa, Tom wants to fit in, make friends and date sexy boys. It would also help if he could be free of his father’s weighty expectations, his mother’s insane demands, and his older brother’s snide remarks.

When Tom begins his first year of college, he believes he’s going to come out and start a new life. But Tom’s plan to come out of the closet and meet hot college boys isn’t exactly foolproof. His new roommate is a straight jock, the gay club at school is made up of outcasts, and the lines between going out to dinner and a date are blurry at best.

If that isn't challenge enough, Tom has to learn how to navigate drunken college parties, the campus social hierarchy, and the attentions of the wrong sort of boys. What begins as a journey to independence turns into a series of mishaps, love, heartache, soul searching, awkward situations and the realization that life is less like an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog and more like the everyday low prices of Wal-Mart.

And to make matters worse, he still has to make it through freshman year.


*NOTE: We (The Readdicts) received a copy of An Ordinary Boy by Brian Centrone from Liz @ Liz D Publicity & Promotions in exchange for an honest review. We thank Liz and Brian for the book! 

An Ordinary Boy begins with the protagonist Thomas Joseph Grove moving into his school dorm and getting everything arranged with the help of his parents. Tom is looking forward to life at school away from home where he can freely be gay and enjoy being gay. 
The book started out as being very Young Adult to me and then later, when Tom experiences love for the first time, faces the dilemmas of being in a relationship, starts exploring the homosexual world and understanding it's complexities, that's when the book truly becomes New Adult. Really, this is a proper New Adult book with it's share of drama and explicit sex scenes. 
On the one hand, I loved to see Tom grow as a person by getting first hand experience of the rather complex LGBT world. He joins the school's LGBT&F (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Friends) group and realises there are people just like him out there. With help from his fellow group members, Tom finally comes out of the closet and tells his family he's gay during the holidays. The group members were each quite interesting on their own and the sessions/ meetings they had were good to read about. 
Most of the family members take the news of Tom being gay in a very cooperative, diplomatic and encouraging manner. The importance given to family was the best part about the book. I've said it before that a strong family is what's lacking in YA/ NA novels these days so when there is one, it's so refreshing and real. Although some of the family members seemed shallow and self-centered, the rest were fun to have around and I enjoyed reading about the family drama, holidays and celebrations. 
Tom's best friend Marissa was an eccentric girl who was always there for Tom and helped him throughout, even when the poor girl was trying to solve her own problems. My most favourite person, however, was Tom's room mate, Joey. He was a great friend to Tom, a relationship Tom was in dire need of, in my opinion. Joey was super mad at Tom for hiding his sexuality from him especially since Joey had to find it out by walking into something he wish he hadn't. Later, Joey tries to get back to Tom and makes things right between them and I admired him for that. Coincidentally, Marissa and Joey become a couple somewhere along the way and they were adorable together. They helped Tom a lot and it was wonderful to see. 
On the other hand, however, I had some serious problems with Tom's relationships. From the moment his first boyfriend comes into his life, I had an off and negative feeling about him. It was clear Matt wasn't treating Tom the way he deserved to be treated, but I guess that's it about first love. We want to believe everything is right when in reality, it's not. Then comes that one incident Tom experiences with this guy called Dan. Something about Dan screamed Trouble with a capital T and in my eyes, what happened there was clearly a rape. But then again, everyone will have a different way of looking at it. Tom really hurt his fellow group member Darren by ignoring him and I had a feeling he would end up with Isaac, his friend and mentor, but that never happened. 
Most importantly, I couldn't see what each of the guys wanted out of the relationships. This book has taught me that a gay relationship is like any other relationship that comes with problems, those little flowers and gift exchanges and the relationship status updates on Facebook. Tom seemed to want a steady and strong relationship, but honestly, the other guys looked like all they wanted out of any relationship was sex. 
An Ordinary Boy ends on a very lovely note with Tom being at peace with himself and having learned a lifetime of lessons from his overwhelming foray into gay relationships for his future journeys. Author Brian Centrone's writing was very neat and simple and he did a wonderful job of portraying the difficulties, hardships and nuances faced by a young homosexual man who just wants to fit in and enjoy his sexuality. 
In spite of the few issues I had with the book, I really liked reading it in general and overall found it to be a very good book that's had me thinking about it since I finished reading which is a good thing because it only means the book has had an impact, like most LGBT books do, and that's the reason behind the long, long review. All I can conclude is that all readers will look at this book with a different point of view. For me, it was more of a coming-of-age novel that was well done. 



  1. I have never heard of this one but I also haven't read anything similar to this. It might be a great read but I honestly don't know. Great review Sarika :)

  2. I haven't read any LGBT books yet and frankly I don't think I'm going to anytime soon, but I will keep this one in mind when I do. Thanks for sharing it, Sarika. Wonderful review :)

    1. Yes, do that, Aman. This was a good read. Thank you! :)

  3. This reminds me that I would like to read more LGBT books! I think this one sounds good because it seems realistic. Though it's too bad the MC has to experience some pretty crappy relationships over the course of the book. Nice thoughts!

    1. They are very realistic and quite interesting to read really. I hope you can read some LGBT books soon, Aylee. Thank you!

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