Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks follows a 17-year-old gay high school boy named Cole who, after pushing open the front door to his high school, suddenly finds himself many miles away at the museum that he was thinking about. When he’s finally able to gather his thoughts, he can come to no other conclusion other than that he somehow had just teleported from his high school to the museum. His suspicion is confirmed when it happens again though this time he’s placed in a much more precarious situation.
From there, we follow a string of one awkward situation after another as Cole unwillingly “pops in” all over the place, even ending up outside of a glass shower door in which a boy from his school is showering. Cole pretty quickly figures out that any time he touches or walks through a door, he risks “poofing” to somewhere else.
Cole then notices that creepy people are staring at him whenever he teleports and it doesn’t take him long to figure out that they people may not have his best interest in mind. Eventually, he learns that these people plan to put a stop to his teleporting — by any means necessary.
What I Liked
This novel was so much fun that I ended up reading it in its entirety in just one sitting. This story gripped me to such an extent that I could not put it down. It was original and unique, and I couldn’t wait to see where the author was going to take us next. I loved the premise of Cole’s teleporting, especially once we discover the reason behind it.
I also really loved Cole’s character. He was sweet, bumbling, goofy and overall a likable and relatable guy who won me over right from the start. His bullet journaling and nerdy obsessive planning endeared him even more so to me. I enjoyed seeing his reaction as he discovered his new powers and figured out how to manage them on his own.
Additionally, I loved the representation in this novel in which our main character is gay, and his friends fall somewhere on the LGBTQ+ spectrum: bisexual, pansexual, asexual and transgender. Additionally, Cole’s father is deaf, so it was also nice seeing the inclusion of the deaf community as well. I thought the author did an excellent job of representing the diverse characters in this story.
I also enjoyed how rich, well-developed and irresistible the secondary characters were. They were engaging, fully realized and super-relatable and I found myself ruminating over them well after I finished the novel.
Lastly, I thought the romance was perfect. I liked how it unfolded slowly and naturally and wasn’t at all rushed. The buildup was sweet and playful, and their relationship developed exactly as it should have.
What I Didn’t Like
Though we find out the reason that Cole has demonstrated his sudden talent for teleporting, I wish the author would have gone into a little more detail about it. I would have liked to know why Cole possessed this talent, its purpose and what is ultimately expected of Cole and others like him. I’m hoping that the reason this wasn’t explained is that the author plans on exploring these topics further in future books.
There were also so many themes running through this story, and I wished that the author had explored them more fully; so in this way, the book definitely could have been longer. I would have enjoyed a little more backstory, especially in regards to the past history of the secondary characters and the other teleporters.
I loved this quirky and fun story! In Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks, the author has demonstrated a clear talent for writing a unique and compelling LGBTQ+ story and has proven that he can go beyond usual boundaries to create something truly unique and stunning. This is an offbeat, wonderfully weird, immersive book with an adorable cast of characters. The intrigue and excitement grow steadily throughout the novel resulting in a story that is difficult to put down.
By the end of the book, I was head over heels in love with the two main characters, and I really hope the author continues this story in future books.
A huge thank you to Net Galley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.