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One Man Guy Hardcover – May 27, 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 6–10—Fourteen-year-old Alek Khederian is horrified when his parents announce that he will be going to summer school in order to get him on the Honors track. This change of plans means no relaxation, no time with friends, no tennis camp, and no family vacation. He starts summer school grudgingly, only to have his spirits lifted when he meets Ethan, who is different from anyone Alek has ever known, and Alek is shocked when Ethan wants to be friends. Before long, their friendship deepens into a romance Alek definitely didn't see coming. The events in this coming-of-age novel move a little too quickly to be fully realized, and some of the secondary characters are two-dimensional. However, Alek's character is well developed. He's a likable teen who remains true to himself throughout; he stands up for what he believes in, even if it means upsetting the people he cares about. The story will appeal to both young people who are just discovering their own sexuality and readers who enjoy a good budding romance.—Sarah Allen, Judson High School, Converse, TX

From Booklist

When it appears that Alek is going to fall off the Honor Track at school, the 14-year-old’s strict Armenian parents, for whom education is of paramount importance, insist he go to summer school. Little do they—or he—know that it will be a life-changing experience. For it is there that he meets Ethan, who epitomizes cool. To Alek’s amazement, the two become friends and then fall in love. But when Alek’s parents predictably find the two making out, they ground him and forbid him to see Ethan again. Surely, this can’t end well. Or can it? Barakiva’s first novel is at once a sweet-spirited love story and a sometimes didactic primer on Armenian life and culture in America. The reader learns, for example, that if you’re Armenian, you only go to an Armenian Orthodox Church, you must love chess and classical music, and the kitchen and ethnic cuisine are the pride of every Armenian household. More serious is the attention given to the early-twentieth-century Armenian Holocaust and the visceral memories it stirs. The Armenian content adds flavor and texture to what would otherwise be a fairly typical gay love story. Grades 7-10. --Michael Cart

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 820L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (May 27, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374356459
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374356453
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #768,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I've been looking forward to this book for a while because I don't think that there's enough LGBTQ fiction in the world. But, dang, does this book do the LGBTQ world justice. As a college student that has a gay best friend, I can honestly say that this is as realistic as it gets, and that makes me (and him) very, very happy. I may or may not have showed all of my gay friends this book, actually. Plus the straight ones. Let's get real for a moment...I've shown this book to everyone I know.

While this book is definitely a love story, I interpreted it as Alek's journey of self acceptance. Alek Khederian is our main character and he definitely goes down among my favorite characters of all time. Though very sassy with his strict Armenian parents, he wasn't himself in the beginning of the book. He wore what his mother bought him, did what his parents expected of him, and was never really a person that could stand out in a crowd. He didn't know himself because he was the person that his family had molded him into. And then he met Ethan. Ethan turned his world upside down and made him learn to be his own person. His journey to discovering his sexuality was done very lightly without immense focus, but it was done perfectly. It was not shoved down our throats, nor was it too much in the background of the plot. It was simply there as part of the story and when it happened it happened and he accepted it and moved on. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

Ethan, on the other hand, is Alek's complete opposite. Where Alek is very intelligent and does whatever his family says, Ethan is more relaxed and rebellious. Even his speech is littered with slang and cuss words whereas Alek is constantly conscious of what he says.
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Format: Kindle Edition
“I like celebrating love, in all shapes and forms.” These were my comments on the Fierce Reads Facebook page giveaway post for One Man Guy. How I wish there were more who agreed with me. Sadly, it appears we still have a way to go. While other recent giveaways garnered upwards of 150 entries, when Fierce Reads essentially asked, “Who wants a gay love story?” only 35 raised their hands.

I don’t know if it’s fear of the unknown or a need for something familiar that makes readers hesitate to try something different. If you’re not ready (or willing) to pick up One Man Guy, here’s what you’re missing:

For starters, the book begins in uproarious fashion. The demands of Alek’s highly opinionated, hard-to-please mother are torturing the poor waitress attempting to serve them. The quirkiness of the characters causes them to jump off the page. I was laughing so much at the family that I fell instantly in love with the book. John Green fans will eat this up.

You are able to identify with Alek from almost the moment you meet him. He’s been set up as a kind of good guy underdog, trying to please his parents while living in the shadow of his “perfect” older brother. Alek’s family soon leaves the scene, but they were well-enough defined before leaving that you feel you got to know them. You see Alek with his best friend Becky (who is hilarious) before any of the summer love begins. This is good in that you meet, know, and understand Alek before any feelings or sexuality questions come into the picture. This is like life. Though not always the case with outward appearances like race or ethnicity, we don’t generally walk around with labels like “straight”, “gay”, “bi”, or whatever we may identify as tattooed on our foreheads.
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Format: Hardcover
I have a feeling that my opinion of ONE MAN GUY by Michael Barakiva will be a deviation from the norm. As with all reviews, feel free to take my opinion for what it is: an opinion. While I would have recommended this book early-on, what I was left with was a story that felt unrealistic, dull and much too convenient.

Sometimes you start reading a book and, going into it, you think, “Yes! THIS is definitely the book for me.” But then as you read, that Honeymoon period fades away, you wait and wait and wait and prolong your relationship, thinking, “Where is that spark that we once had?” Begrudgingly, you stick through it all because “Surely things will get better!”

That is essentially the relationship I had with ONE MAN GUY.

Early on while reading ONE MAN GUY, I honestly thought that the story and what I would derive from it would be nothing short of amazing. The character, Alek, had that “odd kid out” position going on in his family (which consisted of the most traditional and judgmental Orthodox Armenian parents). Alek can’t hold a candle to his older brother, Nik, he will never achieve his parent’s approval and (perhaps worst of all) he is being forced to attend summer school in order to bring his B average up to an A. In addition to the early sympathetic emotional connection I had with Alek, I also appreciated all the Armenian cultural facts that I learned early in the book (and I am amazed at how some people manage to eat so much and stay so thin…) I do wonder if the author wasn’t presenting his people a bit too harshly… His Armenian characters came across as very, very judgmental in every way imaginable.
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