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Reviewed by:
  • Social Intercourse by Greg Howard
  • Karen Coats
Howard, GregSocial Intercourse. Simon, 2018 [320p]
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-9781-7 $18.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-9783-1 $10.99
Reviewed from galleys Ad Gr. 10–12

Snarky gay Beckett and smoothly popular jock Jaxon may seem to be on opposite ends of the social spectrum in Florence, South Carolina, but they have a common problem: Beckett’s divorced dad is dating Jaxon’s not-yet-divorced mom. Jaxon enlists Beckett’s willing help to foil the budding relationship, and Beckett finds himself lusting for a boy who represents everything he disdains, while confirmed ladies’ man Jaxon is starting to feel stirrings for guys. Alternating narration clues readers in to both boys’ struggles, but while they each insist that what they feel is something more than physical, those comments aren’t that convincing given the near-constant emphasis on how their penises are responding. Indeed, Beckett’s narration is shot through with locker-room humor for guys who never felt safe in a locker room, and his anger-laced comedy consists of ratcheting up Southern stereotypes, homoerotic tropes, and heterophobic jibes to a degree that would make shock-jocks blush. While the homophobic Christians and mean girls may deserve his vitriol, it’s somewhat surprising that lesbians aren’t spared his acerbic and mean-spirited commentary. That said, even though the romance is predictable and the frank descriptions may not do anything to dispel the phobic part of homophobia, curious readers will get a lot of procedural questions answered here concerning intimate aspects of contemporary LGBTQ culture. In the end, the credibly portrayed love of both boys’ parents, advocacy of the town’s mayor for the gay prom, and support of Jaxon’s football bruhs after he comes out signal hope that times really are changing, even in the Bible Belt. [End Page 430]



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