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Straight Expectations by Callum McSwiggan - Blog Tour and Review

Monday, May 1, 2023

Hello and welcome to my blog for my stop on the tour for Straight Expectations by Callum McSwiggan! Please do click around and read some of my other reviews as I often read and review books by queer writers or featuring queer characters. When I heard the blurb for this story I was immediately intrigued and signed up for the tour immediately. I'm glad to say the book did not let me down at all - it's funny, fun, and deserves to take its place alongside authors like Alice Oseman, Simon James Green, and Becky Albertalli. I will definitely look out for something else by the same author because I liked the book so much and found it such an easy read. 

So Max is seventeen and in Year 12 at school, the first year of sixth form. He is openly gay. His parents divorced when he was younger. He is best friends with Dean and Alicia. Dean is also gay, and hopefully headed to drama school. He is the star of the drama shows put on by the school. Alicia, too, knows where she's going - she designs the sets for the plays and she's heading for art school. Max is planning on taking a gap year to travel after college, but isn't sure what he wants to do with the rest of his life. 

Max has a huge crush on a boy called Oliver Cheng, who is newish to school and a star of the football team. He is friends with  Thomas, who bullied Max and Dean when they were younger and who now remains a bit of a homophobe towards them and is generally a bit of a dick. Max does not dare to speak to Oliver even though Dean and Alicia both encourage him to. Max feels a bit out of place; he likes fashion and wears somewhat outrageous outfits, like Dean does, but he just feels like he's got a lot against him. Dean and Alicia are both Black so they rightly point out the privileges that Max has that they don't. This spills over into a fight one night and Max wishes that he could just be straight! 

When he wakes up the next morning, it's to an entirely new world. His hair is different; his wardrobe is really boring. His parents are still together but rowing all the time. Max heads to school and finds that there, everyone thinks he is straight. Alicia is his girlfriend. Oliver and Thomas are his friends and Dean - where is Dean? Surely everyone can't have forgotten Dean! 

Max has to try to figure things out, including himself. Some things remain true to his personality even though in this world he is straight. He keeps messing things up with Alicia, by accident, but he does at least have chance to get to know Oliver better. But he wants to get home, back to his reality. He's got to find Dean... And maybe if he can work that out, he can work out what he wants to do with his life, too. 

This is such a good read, a really fun book with poignant parts too. I'm giving it five out of five and will hope that you enjoy it as much as I did!

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