cover image Cut Both Ways

Cut Both Ways

Carrie Mesrobian. Harper, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-234988-0

Mesrobian specializes in boys: boys joining the military, boys realizing the costs of hookup culture, and now boys and sexuality. Seventeen-year-old Will is romantically inexperienced, but suddenly he is dating a girl and making out with his best friend. He doesn’t think he is gay, but he likes what he’s doing with Angus. Then again, he also likes what he’s doing with Brandy, and he likes—maybe loves—both of them. Time with them offers a respite from the fact that he leads two lives—one in a fancy suburb with his mother, another with his alcoholic father in Minneapolis. Will never imagines he is bi (an author’s note says the book is, in part, about “bisexual erasure”); he’s more worried that he’s a cheater. Will’s feelings for Angus and Brandy and his sense that he’s more himself when he’s with them come through clearly, and Mesrobian writes about sex—what it feels like, its power to satisfy and confuse—bluntly and effectively. At the end, nothing is settled, but Will has found some peace with that. Ages 14–up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Sept.)