The Straight Road to Kylie
by Nico Medina
YA fiction. 295 pp.
Simon Pulse. 2007.
from the publisher:
Life is fabulous for Jonathan Parish.
He's seventeen, out and proud, and ready to party through senior year with his posse of best girlfriends. But the year starts off with the wrong kind of bang when Jonathan—in an inebriated lapse of judgment—sleeps with a friend of his . . . a girl friend!
When word gets around that hot-but-previously-unavailable Jonathan might be on the market, the school's It girl approaches him with a proposal: pretend to be her boyfriend, and achieve popularity like he's never known. But popularity isn't what Jonathan wants. And suddenly, going back into the closet becomes Jonathan's only way to get what he's after—a trip to see Kylie Minogue.
David Levithan posted a bulletin on MySpace encouraging everyone to read this book. Because I adore Levithan's writing (even if I do find some of his worlds to be a little too far-fetched), I ordered it online and started reading it. Unfortunately, it would appear that I have different reading tastes from Levithan.
The book is okay. I'm not overly fond of the character, and I never really got to the point where I do like him. I think it has a lot to do with his overly-foul mouth. It likely also has a lot to do with his excessive drinking. And I'm bugged by that because at no point does anyone point out that a) underage drinking is not a good idea because it leads to stupid things or that b) if Jonathan hadn't gotten wasted, he would have never gone down this road of having to go back into the closet in order to have his sugarmommy take him to London to see Kylie. Seriously. And it's not as if this is the only time the main character gets wasted. In fact, he's always drinking with his friends. It would be nice if YA authors would stop glamorizing teen drunkeness. (Of course, the author of the book is barely old enough himself to legally drink, so I guess I can see why that point is glossed over.)
So this book, which is supposed to be fluff, seeing as how it was straight-to-paperback, took longer for me to read than it should have. In fact, I interrupted its reading with the delightful Austenland. Sure, there were some memorable scenes (my favorite being when he's "straight" but has somehow convinced three of the guys from the football team that they need makeovers and then they squabble in the dressing room over who's supposed to wear the purple shirt and who should wear the navy because of their skin tone—taking hyper-masculinized football players clothes shopping is actually quite fun, as I learned when I took Trainer shopping for a concert) and there were the touching messages of friendship and being true to yourself blah blah blah, but the book's weaknesses left a bitter aftertaste.