Jay’s Gay Agenda by Jason June (368 pages)
Jay Aims To Cross Items Off His Gay Agenda
Jay Collier is a statistical anomaly as the only out gay kid in his rural Washington town. While his BFF Lu spends time with her new boyfriend and everyone is partnering off, Jay can only dream about his own firsts. He even compiles a list of all the things he hopes to experience one day and calls it his Gay Agenda. Then, his mom gets a promotion and Jay’s family moves to Seattle. He starts his senior year at a new high school with a thriving LGBTQIA+ community, and for the first time, feels like he’s found where he belongs. But as Jay crosses items off his list, he becomes torn between his heart and his hormones and his old friends and his new ones.
But Writing A List That Involves Others Is Tricky…
Jay’s Gay Agenda was an introspective and fun coming-of-age story! At the start, Jay shares his coming out story, so that isn’t the focus of this one. Instead, it’s about Jay being out and being somewhere where there are other gay people for the first time in his life. After he moves to Seattle with his family, his focus is on finding new friends, trying new things, and pursuing relationships, all of which he does with gusto. I adored that this was about Jay finding himself within a community, and didn’t focus on his plans for after high school like so many senior year novels.
Speaking of Jay’s new community, I loved all his new friends. They’re diverse and unique, each standing out in their own way. While some of them have stereotypical attributes, the author also shatters stereotypes with other traits and passions, which are well-balanced and even addressed in the story. Also, I adored Jay’s sense of humour. He’s naturally funny, and his voice remains clear as he changes and grows throughout the story. Plus, Jay’s growth is legit! I won’t say why, but he has to make a few apologies near the end, and they’re sweet and real.
The Bottom Line: 4.5/5 Brookie Stars
Jay’s Gay Agenda is fresh and bright. Jay is fully-formed and funny, and I loved reading about his new experiences and how ready he was for them. Pick this one up if you love characters who are transplanted from country to city, if you’re craving a fun and funny tale with real growth, or if you want a story about a boy finding his place in a community.
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Jamie Mitchell is a writer, library assistant, former bookseller, and all-around lover of the written word. She’s currently working on her fifth novel, and if you’re wondering where the other four are, they’re safe on her laptop and in need of rewriting. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband, and enjoys traveling, bookstagramming and experimenting with gluten-free flours.
Favourite book: Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Favourite brunch spot: 1823 Bakehouse