Where did I get it? I got it on NetGalley so thank you to Little. Brown Book Group.
The book is based on a true story, that of Larry Fobes King, who invited the boy he had a crush on to be his Valentine. The next day that boy came to school with a gun and shot Larry to death. They were 15 and 14 at the time, and his killer is still serving time for the killing.
So in this novel, Jude is gay, and wears make up and high heels to school, and has a best friend, Angela, with whom he bunks off and gets high with. The boy he has a crush on is Luke. Jude has an unhappy home life with his mother and stepdad, and is planning to buy a bus ticket so that he can run away to Hollywood. He asks Luke to be his Valentine just the day before he is leaving and later, at the Valentine dance, Luke shoots him to death. Given that the novel is in first person, this makes for a really interesting ending.
The novel as a whole is hard to read, and I completely thought Jude was a senior in high school (so 18ish) and read it that way, rather than the 15 or so that he is. There's a lot of violence and graphic sexual scenes, so be careful.
Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Yes, very much the point.
Are any main characters people of colour? I think so? Maybe I'm wrong
Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? No
Is there any sex stuff? A little. Jude has a thing going with Angela's brother Abel, and he also sees Luke have sex with his girlfriend Madison. Be careful, again
Are drugs mentioned or used? Yes, both illegal and legal kinds. Jude and Angela have a trip on some acid at some point, so be gentle with yourself if that would trigger you.
Is there any talk of death? Yes, trigger warnings here too.
Are there swear words? Yes, lots.
Would I recommend the book? Yes, now that I know it's based on a true story. Before that, I had struggled to understand it really. It isn't a bad book by any means. Jude is, while not a totally sympathetic character, very likeable.
How many stars? Six out of ten.