Author: Heidi Cullinan
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Page Count: 460
Release Date: August 8, 2017
Xander Fairchild can’t stand people in general and frat boys in particular, so when he’s forced to spend his summer working on his senior project with Skylar Stone, a silver-tongued Delta Sig with a trust fund who wants to make Xander over into a shiny new image, Xander is determined to resist. He came to idyllic, Japanese culture-soaked Benten College to hide and make manga, not to be transformed into a corporate clone in the eleventh hour.
Skylar’s life has been laid out for him since before he was born, but all it takes is one look at Xander’s artwork, and the veneer around him begins to crack. Xander himself does plenty of damage too. There’s something about the antisocial artist’s refusal to yield that forces Skylar to acknowledge how much his own orchestrated future is killing him slowly…as is the truth about his gray-spectrum sexuality, which he hasn’t dared to speak aloud, even to himself.
Through a summer of art and friendship, Xander and Skylar learn more about each other, themselves, and their feelings for one another. But as their senior year begins, they must decide if they will part ways and return to the dull futures they had planned, or if they will take a risk and leap into a brightly colored future—together.
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way effects my overall rating of this book.
As my first NetGalley book and first ebook I’ve read in over 5 years, I was very excited to read Antisocial. At first glance I was intrigued by the cover because it had a manga-style artwork. I originally thought that it was a manga, but I was wrong. Manga, Anime, and other elements of Japanese culture do play a big role in the makeup of this book, which was one of the most interesting parts of the book.
We start out with Skylar meeting Xander to apologize for some members of his fraternity for vandalizing some artwork in the art gallery. Skylar is studying law and Xander is an art student. From the get-go, it’s clear that we’re dealing with a hate to love relationship – which is secretly one of my favorite tropes.
I really enjoyed how the author wrote Skylar and Xander’s relationship. You could tell just how much they learned to care for each other throughout the book and I think the development was very well-written.
Even though the main two characters are white – or at least I believe they are – there is a lot of diversity. Xander himself is gay, Skylar is trying to figure himself out (I’m still a bit unsure how to categorize him myself), and Xander has a gender-fluid friend. Although I really loved the diversity in this book and thought the different sexualities were explained really well I feel like it got a bit info-dumpy at times.
What I mean is, sometimes one of the characters would start talking about different sexualities and what they mean and it would sound like they were reading from a dictionary. I get that the main character learning about his own sexuality is a central focus for a good amount of the novel, but I felt like it was talked about a bit too much.
Besides that, I appreciated the healthy relationship Skylar and Xander shared. Neither one of them wanted to do anything that might potentially make the other uncomfortable. They talked about everything such as limits and if the other was ready for the next step or not. We need more of this in books.
Like I mentioned earlier, there was a lot about Japan and it’s culture which intrigued me. If the author did her research correctly, I learned a lot of new things about Japan and Japanese as a language. I’m not into Japanese things (Manga, Anime, etc.) like I am with Korean, but the topic does still peak my interest (the initial reason I picked up this book – it looked like a manga). The representation of Japanese culture was something I loved reading about, even though only two side characters were Japanese.
My Rating: 4 Stars
Overall I really enjoyed this book. The romance and Japanese culture aspects were my favorite parts to read about because they were very well-written. There was a lot that I learned about different sexualities, even though I felt like it was a bigger part of the story than I would have liked it to be.
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