Thank you so much, Carrie, for sending me a review copy of this wonderful book.
SUMMARY AND SPOILER-FREE REVIEW:
Everything begins the afternoon Will and his best male friend Angus kiss. And the day he starts dating Brandy, the cute girl who babysits his neighbors' children.
Everything begins when Will can't break up with Brandy but doesn't want to leave Angus, either.
And then there's this problem back home... Both homes. With his mom, everything is so fancy that he can't stand it. With his dad, everything is a mess. A mess where he feels comfortable. If only his dad didn't like drinking as much as he likes both Angus and Brandy...
I have seen a lot of bad comments on this book, people saying Will is a bad person, that he made bad choices... I can honestly understand that people could not like it, but I do not get why some of them need to insult the story.
I think Will is a perfectly built character. He is not stupid; he is confused. He is trying to figure out his sexuality and does not understand why he feels the same way towards his girlfriend and his best male friend.
Some readers think Will is being a jerk to both of them, but I actually believed him and his actions. All of the sudden he feels attracted to his best friend and also likes a girl. He is confused.
This is not a story of cheating and betrayal which you could totally hate and be against. This is the story of a boy finding out who he likes and why.
I would have liked to read more scenes with Angus and less with Brandy, to be honest. I didn't really like the girl, but I loved Angus and I could feel his love for Will. I also think Will was more comfortable with Will than with Brandy and I am sure Angus is the one he is in love with.
Yes, he likes Brandy, but he loves Angus.
So, do I think he is gay or straight? Bisexual, maybe? To begin with, I think he is a teenager enjoying pleasure. So, his intimate relationships between both Angus and Brandy are no legit proof of his sexuality.
However, judging by how he feels towards both of them, I think he is bisexual. Always thinking about how good they both are, how comfortable Angus makes him feel and how much he likes being with Brandy... Though, whenever he was with Angus I forgot about Brandy. On the other hand, when he was with Brandy, all I could think about was how different Will was when he was with Angus. More comfortable, more himself. If nowadays' society wasn't as messed up as it is, and being gay was finally seen as something completely natural and okay and equal as being straight, I think Will would have felt more sure about his relationship with Angus and would have probably left Brandy for him.
That is why I think this is a hell of a great novel. You literally get inside the body of a boy who hides his gay relationship but goes publicly out with his opposite sex partner. Isn't that what happens a lot of times?
I would love to read more about Will and find out how it all turns out, who he decides to go with. Carrie, please, give me a sequel!
Will is a lovely character. He is the kind of character who feels real and hurts your heart and tightens your chest with every tiny bad thing that happens to them. Most characters in books are smooth, with no dimension, as if they were a sheet of paper. And then, there are some characters that have their own depth and feel real, as if they were people you could see through. I don't know if that makes sense, but when I picture Will, I can see him -a boy with a personality, with feelings, with a life- and not just some written character.
Angus, though I couldn't get to know him fully, I feel like I know enough. I simply loved him and felt sorry for him whenever Brandy was mentioned. I believed the way he acted with Will. I simply believed him. I loved him and how he literally took a lot of really bad things for Will.
With Brandy, I didn't feel anything at all. She was annoying and very childish. I don't even believe she ever loved Will, just like I don't believe Will ever felt more than physical attraction towards her. That is why I didn't like them being together. I found their relationship very fake and forced, as if they were being told they had to date. When Will was with Angus I could literally feel him relax and break the dating-Brandy look.
He is literally a teenager following his heart, not thinking about what is right and what is not. He does the things that make him feel good and I don't think that is something to criticise. I don't think there's anything more pure than a boy questioning his sexuality and trying to figure out who he likes. Yes, he was cheating on Brandy. But I am sure you all have read more than one book that involves cheating.
Then, why is the cheating in this book such a scandal among readers? Why is some people so disgusted by this story simply because a boy is cheating on a girl with another boy? Is that the problem? That Will is cheating on Brandy with Angus? Duh. I wonder what would readers think of this story if Angus had been a girl instead of a boy. I am sure some of the people who hated this book because of the cheating would even make up names for both relationships, such as Wangus or Brill.
That is exactly why YA literature needs more stories like Cut Both Ways. For people to realise how homophobic this world is and how hard it can be for a boy to accept he could like a boy as much as he likes girls.
To me, this is a great book to read and learn lots of things that might not be written but are pretty visible between lines.
With all of this, I am in no way implying you are homophobic if you didn't like the book, because the great thing about books is that we can have different opinions about them. I'm just saying that "it's a story of cheating" is not a solid enough argument to insult this novel.
But, hey. This novel does not only talk about sexuality. It talks about family too. About finding a home.
I enjoyed so much that side of the book, seeing how his family was a complete mess and how Will handled it all. I personally loved this story.
This book reminded me to a flawless song by Little Mix and Jason Derulo that is called Secret Love Song. You should definitely listen to it. It's very powerful and has heartbreaking lyrics.