“If I would have known losing my virginity would be so nerve-racking, I would’ve stayed home and watched the Golden Girls marathon with my dad.” ~ Beckett Gaines
Social Intercourse is a romantic comedy that follows Beckett Gains, an out and proud gay teen living in a conservative town in South Carolina with his father. When his father begins dating the recently single (and supposedly lesbian) mom of former bully, Jaxon Parker, Beck is not amused. His father is emotionally fragile after Beckett’s mother left them and Beckett doesn’t want to see his father get hurt again. Jaxon (Jax) isn’t happy about the situation either and is willing to do whatever it takes to bring his two moms back together again.
Putting aside their past differences (and there is one serious one), the two boys form an unlikely alliance and concoct a plan to break up their parents. During their scheming, however, the boys begin to grow closer and the situation becomes even more complicated and confusing. And of course, nothing goes according to plan, leading to much drama and comic hijinks.
WHAT I LIKED
First off, this story was hilarious! This was a wild and fun romp whose witty and sarcastic lines had me laughing out loud nearly to the point of tears on more than one occasion. Beckett’s inner running commentary was especially humorous, and I liked him more and more with each page. The Golden Girls references were also a lot of fun. In the story, Beckett called his father “Rose,” the naive character on the Golden Girls whereas Beckett’s father called Beck “Dorothy,” the tough, more cynical character. The nicknames actually fit the characters quite nicely.
The story is told from the dual first-person point of view of Beckett and Jaxon, and it was fun seeing the world from each of their perspectives. I especially loved Beckett’s character – he was witty, sassy, irreverent, sarcastic, self-confident and absolutely lovable, and his snappy one-liners kept me laughing. I liked how he looked out for his dad and did whatever was necessary to ensure that his dad didn’t end up getting hurt. Speaking of relationships, I thought the positive portrayal of each boy’s relationship with his parents was sweet and refreshing.
I also enjoy Jax’s character. Though everybody thought of him as “The Great Jaxon Parker,” he was as insecure and unsure of himself as any of us, as he tried to find his place in the world. Not only that, he’s begun to question his sexuality and whether he is genuinely the hard-core heterosexual jock that everyone believes him to be.
So underneath his womanizing jock exterior, he was actually quite a likable character, and we see how one cannot tell what a person is really like from outward appearances.
What’s interesting, is that Jax and Beck’s rocky past brings up an important issue of how one should react when someone is being bullied. As we learned from this story, sometimes doing nothing when there’s abuse or bullying going on can cause even more harm than those who are actually doing the bullying. In this way, the story causes us to take a good hard look at our actions — or inactions — and how they can affect those around us.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
For me, there wasn’t too much to dislike about the story. My only real niggle was the familiar and often clichéd trope of the characters. For example, Beck was a choir-singing geeky gay kid, Jax was the super-hot star quarterback, JoJo was the extremely masculine lesbian, Tiffany, the “mean girl” cheerleader who is dating the football jock, and Shelby, the fat best friend. I would have preferred to see characters without the standard clichéd over-exaggerations.
I also didn’t care for the way that Beckett referred to Jax’s mother as “Big Titties” throughout the story, which really bothered me. From Beck’s inner monologue, it’s easy to see that he has a low opinion of her solely because of the fact she’s dating his dad. It would have been nice for Beckett to soften his view of her as the story progressed — perhaps give him the opportunity to get to know her a bit, which, unfortunately, never happened.
The couple niggles aside, I ended up loving this book! This was a fun, lighthearted and somewhat messy romance that brought a wonderful grin to my face during the final pages. Though this book was quite funny, it also dealt with some serious issues such as parental abandonment, bullying, bigotry, and divorce.
This was a quirky and poignant romance with plenty of humor and complex, well-developed characters. Nothing feels rushed in this story, so I enjoyed everything this enemies-to-lovers book had to offer. It was a truly captivating read that I didn’t want to end. I hope the author gifts us with a sequel to this story in the future because I’d love to see more of Jax, Beck, Shelby and all the other lovable secondary characters. Recommended!