One Man Guy

One Man Guy

by Michael Barakiva
4.7 13

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One Man Guy 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Buried-in-Books More than 1 year ago
This is a novel that starts out as one thing, a boy being suppressed by his family to the point that he can't even buy his own clothes at the age of fourteen and then becomes a novel about growing up and falling in love for the first time. About no longer allowing himself to be controlled by his family and about taking back his life while still hanging on to his Armenian family with both hands. Characters- Alek- A fourteen year old boy who has had tennis taken away from him, the one thing he loved, and his summer usurped by his parents who have decided to send him to summer school to improve his grades so he can get into the Honors track next year. He suffers in silence for the most part, but has a sarcastic wit that can't help coming out from time to time to make his embarrassing family a bit more bearable. Becky- Alek's best friend. She is obessed with movies, Diet Dr. Pepper and roller blades. She and Alek have certain rituals that make their friendship unique. It is with Becky's help that Alek discovers that he likes boys. She is so matter of fact about things that it leaves room for no doubt. They have a couple of rough weeks in the beginning, but she will not be ignored, even if Alek has a boyfriend. Ethan- Alek's first boyfriend. He shows Alek the world. Helps him loosen up and become more comfortable with himself. He guides Alek in love, how to be free and how to handle himself in a world where people may or may not accept him. Alek's Family- Family plays an important role in Alek's life. He comes from an Armenian family who stick very close to their roots and believe in their traditions and customs. With all of these rules ingrained in Alek since he was a little boy, it's hard for him to be comfortable with himself and with others. Especially his family. But they love him and want only what is best for him. World/Setting- Present day NJ and NYC, high school The Story- An uptight rule abiding boy who doesn't get who he is or where his place is comes to find out the answers to those questions over the course of a summer when he is forced to go to summer school. My Take- I loved this story. Alek is funny and a very believable character. His mother is overbearing but doesn't realize it. He is treated like he's eight instead of fourteen. All his decisions are made for him. He and his older brother Nik are in constant battle to be the favored son. I loved how family played such a big part in the story, how Alek loved his family and didn't want to shut them out, even after he understood his relational preference. Instead of being afraid of coming out, he asked for advice about it. Alek didn't want to keep it a secret. I loved that about him. He felt secure enough to want to tell his family.  In the end, this is a novel about self discovery, growing up and a romance. Ethan is nothing like Alek and yet Alek discovers he is everything Alek needs in his life. The two are a perfect mix and it's such a great summer romance. Not too heavy on the life lessons, and plenty of humor, lots of romance, perfect for the beach!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great book about blooming young love and the weight and wonders of culture.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Morica More than 1 year ago
Super cute romantic book. You should buy this book.
GabraCadabra More than 1 year ago
This book was such a gift to my day! Whether in my room, in my gym or in my local coffeehouse, this book provided endless laughs and heartwarming reads. This love story about two teenage boys turns out to be so much more: a coming of age story that is about a love affair with New York, with cooking, with an ethnic heritage, and with witty firecracker friends. It took me back to high school and forward to the kids I wish I had. Bravo to the author for this beautiful heart opening tale. It made my day. Heck, it made my month!
MPalacios More than 1 year ago
I am immensely happy that I got to read this story within a month of its release date. I personally was not informed about anything regarding Armenia and I'm so glad this book brought so much information and interesting things to know about the place. I hadn't read much about gay couples either and going into this quick read that way was so nice. I loved everything and everyone. From Ethan's open minded way of living to Alek's parents' strict character. The humor in it was also great. Everything worked out just fine for me. Barakiva has proven, in my point of view, to be a promising author and I now look forward to his future work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved thus book so much!
ErinW2 More than 1 year ago
This book was probably one of the best LGBT themed books I've read. I'm a big ally and live in the suburbs of NJ along the NJ transit, and for all I know, this could've taken place in my hometown. So the local-NJ culture was defiantly spot on! As for the story, it was great. I loved seeing the relationship between Alek and Ethan develop. A lot of times, I feel like LGBT novels cut short or end suddenly before showing any major development in a relationship. Here, we actually see them meet, kiss, and develop a relationship in the beginning. We get an actual story.  The story itself was very upbeat. I loved everything about the city (again, it was spot on with the attitude we get when we go into the city- we aren't tourists, but we're not New Yorkers). Plus, it was great to get a cute story that didn't end with suicide or depression. I feel like a lot of LGBT books deal with those heavy topics, and while that is a very important issue, not all people face that. To have a book where the people are accepting is just nice to see.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down. Alek's character was beautifully depicted. His point of views and experiences around his sexuality are so tender. I've recommended this as a great summer read to all my friends. The book speaks to the heart. Regardless of age or sexuality, you'll be moved by this story beyond believe.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“I like celebrating love, in all shapes and forms.” These were my comments on the Fierce Reads Facebook page giveaway post for One Man Guy. How I wish there were more who agreed with me. Sadly, it appears we still have a way to go. While other recent giveaways garnered upwards of 150 entries, when Fierce Reads essentially asked, “Who wants a gay love story?” only 35 raised their hands. I don’t know if it’s fear of the unknown or a need for something familiar that makes readers hesitate to try something different. If you’re not ready (or willing) to pick up One Man Guy, here’s what you’re missing: For starters, the book begins in uproarious fashion. The demands of Alek’s highly opinionated, hard-to-please mother are torturing the poor waitress attempting to serve them. The quirkiness of the characters causes them to jump off the page. I was laughing so much at the family that I fell instantly in love with the book. John Green fans will eat this up. You are able to identify with Alek from almost the moment you meet him. He’s been set up as a kind of good guy underdog, trying to please his parents while living in the shadow of his “perfect” older brother. Alek’s family soon leaves the scene, but they were well-enough defined before leaving that you feel you got to know them. You see Alek with his best friend Becky (who is hilarious) before any of the summer love begins. This is good in that you meet, know, and understand Alek before any feelings or sexuality questions come into the picture. This is like life. Though not always the case with outward appearances like race or ethnicity, we don’t generally walk around with labels like “straight”, “gay”, “bi”, or whatever we may identify as tattooed on our foreheads. Others get to know us as people first rather than defining us by our sexuality. That’s the way it should be anyway. At the novel’s outset, Alek doesn’t know he’s gay. Though he does eventually share something from his back story that he can better understand in retrospect, it’s not until he’s magnetically drawn to Ethan that he starts to examine his feelings. And he doesn’t try to define things right away. He just knows he finds Ethan captivating and irresistible. It’s refreshing that Alek’s discovery of his sexuality isn’t accompanied by angst, self-loathing, and torment. I also appreciated that the love story develops slowly. My only quibble is that Ethan is a little too much of a bad boy. I understand that he’s helping Alek stretch his wings, find himself, and loosen up a little, but it’s hard to love his facility for petty theft (riding the train into New York City without paying, or “returning” a book off the shelves at the store for store credit). One of the reasons I’m fond of Alek is that he’s got integrity; he stands up for what he feels is right. And I couldn’t help but wish that he had insisted on buying tickets for his second trip into the city. Still, by the novel’s end, Barakiva has resolved some of my issues with Ethan. Setting, particularly New York City, plays a big role in this book, giving the guys a place to explore where anything seems possible and people are free to be whomever or whatever they want. The music of Rufus Wainwright (whose song, composed and first performed by his father, inspires the title) comes into play and helps lend atmosphere. Behind all the humor, there are many serious topics for discussion in the novel: sexuality, self-expression, prejudice, the Armenian Genocide, family heritage, and the changing construct of family. None of the weighty topics overwhelm or predominate the story, but they do inform it and lend realism and depth. Chances are you’ll learn something! Situations get sticky near the end, and some might feel things are too tidily and easily resolved, but I’d like to believe that the conflict is handled in the manner Barakiva feels families should — he’s modeling a best possible outcome scenario. Verdict 4 of 5 hearts. Funny and Heartfelt. This is a feel-good summer love story from a different angle, and there are readers out there who may see themselves in these pages. One Man Guy should give them hope that, surrounded by people who love and respect them, everything will be okay. *Disclosure of Material Connection: I would like to thank MacTeen’s Facebook page, Fierce Reads, for their giveaway in which I was awarded an ARC. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trad
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
I lived and breathed this book since getting it in the mail. After reading about this book on Fierce Reads, I knew I had to read it and then when I found out I won it, I was thrilled beyond belief. I don’t know what it was about it but something hit a cord with me and Michael’s words won me over just the same as I started reading it. The opening chapter lays the novel’s foundation and it had me in stitches as Alex’s family is out for dinner and his neurotic mother has the waitress frazzled as she makes ordering dinner and water a nightmare. Since Alex comes from a long line of Armenians, his family believes that the Armenian way is superior over American thinking which reminded me of the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I found myself laughing at the references comparing American and Armenian things and how these details were affecting the two boys and their family. Sometimes the effort to make the point was so ridiculous, you just had to laugh. Alex is informed that his summer vacation would be replaced with summer school since his grades were not the best that he could get according to his father. His family however will take their planned summer vacation without him. There is bright side; Alex was able to talk them into him staying home by himself. His best friend Becky and he share everything, Becky would like to take the relationship further but Alex likes her just as a friend. It’s freedom as last when his family leaves. Summer school turns out not to be so bad, as that is where Alex meets Ethan. An innocent relationship begins for the two of them and they run off into the big city for some fun adventure. Two guys hitting the town, nothing else. The writing was perfect, the relationship was carefree and the conversation that followed opened up the world to possibilities that were enjoyable. The more I read, the more I loved the relationships that followed, the communication, the possibilities, the honesty and the ability to just be yourself. The teens are dealing with some big issues and the realization as certain situation present themselves it made them more aware of themselves. It made them more aware of their own beliefs, their nationality, and their way of life and as they came to face these issues they had to deal with them, they couldn’t ignore them or pretend they didn’t exist, it all mattered now. I really enjoyed this book, such a great book dealing with life as it presents itself to each person, as unique as the person we all are.
Caroles_Random_Life More than 1 year ago
Coming of age story I received an advance reader edition of this book from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review. 3 Stars This was an OK book. When I saw this book on Net Galley, I checked the reviews on Goodreads and saw that everyone seemed to LOVE this book. I was so excited to get the chance to sit down with it myself because I wanted to love it too. I love a good coming of age story as much as anyone else. I did not love it. To be perfectly honest, this is probably going to be one of those books that I have read that I will not even be able to remember much of in a few months. Alek is a 14 year old Armenian boy. I loved the fact that Alek's Armenian culture played a huge role in this book. I would actually say that this aspect is the strongest point of the book. Alek's parents decide that he will have to attend summer school because they want him to be on the honor track in high school. During summer school, Alek crosses paths with Ethan. Alek is best friends with Becky, whose character I found to be the most interesting in this book. Becky is a free spirit who is not afraid to go for what she wants, and she thinks she might want Alek. During an awkward encounter, Becky learns that those feelings are not mutual. It turns out that Alek has never thought about whether he might be gay but he is attracted to Ethan after spending some time with him. The pair spend a lot of time together over the course of the summer and become a couple. Alek's very traditional parents are very supportive of the fact that their son is gay. While I think that this is wonderful, I do not feel that it fits in with their personality as written. These are parents who have not allowed their son to pick out his own clothes in the past. I just do not see this type of parent being as supportive as they were in this story. This was a book that left me wanting a bit more. Alek was able to come to terms with his sexuality with no issues. I think that in most cases, there would have been a lot more difficulty in coming out. Everything in the book wrapped up quite easily in the end. In my opinion, it was a little too easy and not authentic. This book had some strong points and some not so strong points. I ended up finding it a somewhat enjoyable quick read.
Kristen_Noel More than 1 year ago
Thank you, Michael Barakiva. One Man Guy was a beautiful story that I was so happy to read. An issue so close to my heart was handled perfectly. Too often, I seek out QLTBG books and don't find what I'm looking for. The genre is over-run with erotic stories. The QLTBG books that I want are ones that I can identify with. Ones that reach out to youth who are realizing that they like someone of the same sex. Ones that let it be known that it's okay to be gay. Ones that let youth know that it's okay to experiment and wonder. Ones that allow the former youth to reminiscence and say, "damn, I wish that would have been around whenever I was younger." And that's what One Man Guy is. It's a story that I would put into the hands of every teenager if I could. This isn't a book that is just about being gay, though. It's about finding yourself and loving yourself. Gay, straight, or in between, that's something that we all need to be reminded of. Whenever I finished this book, I truly felt like something had clicked inside of me. One Man Guy has definitely affected me in the best way possible. The exposure to another culture in One Man Guy also deserves mention. Barakiva handled it perfectly. I felt like I learned a lot about Armenians, and I enjoyed it immensely. I had heard of the Armenian genocide before, but I never realized how harsh it truly was until I read One Man Guy. The theme of acceptance ties into this element effortlessly, too. I cannot tell you the ways in which I think this book is a beautiful story. There are too many. Every mention of New York City had me grinning from ear to ear as I remembered my own times spent exploring that concrete jungle. The self discovery and acceptance that happens with Alek reminds me of my own. I said it earlier in this review, and I meant it. If I could, I'd put this book in the hands of every teenager (and adult) if I could. This is a book that needs to be read. For me, it was a quick read. Set aside a few hours, and experience One Man Guy. You won't regret it. **I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Michael Barakiva and NetGalley.