In an effort to build a space for queer people like myself, every Tuesday I’ll be posting interviews, opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.) Welcome to Queerly Not Straight! Enjoy and leave a comment below if you have a suggestion for what I should cover next.
HAPPY PRIDE MONTH! Expect more posts this month, from interviews to reviews and more!
In the beginning, Jay’s Gay Agenda by Jason June drew me in. Jay was someone that I wanted to invest in right away. He had hopes, he had dreams, and I wanted him to reach for the stars in his journey to find the one. I even enjoyed his friendship with his best friend and the new family he made at his new school. But the further along that I got into the book, the more I started seeing things that really didn’t click with me.
Trigger warnings for anyone that’s reading this. We’re about to dive into the one thing that really threw me off about this book. Okay, you ready? The one thing that really made me go, “Ehhhhhh, do I want to cheer on this protagonist?” was the cheating. Oh but they didn’t say they were official, you shout! But they did say they were dating. For some that doesn’t mean exclusivity and I get that. But for me, it does mean exclusivity.
It’s made even worse by the fact that Jay knows he’s doing something wrong. If he didn’t he wouldn’t have worried so much about how this was going to ruin his chances at being boyfriends with Albert, the young man he’s dating. That speaks of guilt and as someone who knows that they’re doing something wrong. And honestly, it left me feeling like Albert (who I loved) deserved better than being someone’s second choice.
All of this is made even worse by the way that this book focuses on sex without acknowledging that virginity is a social construct. Instead sex is just something that Jay continually talks about without learning that there’s more to being gay than losing his virginity to some cute boy in Seattle. What I needed was nuance and it wasn’t what I got from Jay or his so called gay agenda.
And then there’s the lying. Dear lord. Over and over to the point where I was like, “I want to like this book. I really do. But Jay is testing my patience.” It’s to the point where Jay was piling on lie after lie, making him a pathological liar. And then to have the nerve to get mad when everything related to his lies collapses around him? Oh no. We’re not about that life, not now and not ever.
That’s not to say that everything is bad when it comes to Jays Gay Agenda. Found family is really important to me as that is the only family I have. And I could see Jay forming his own found family in the midst of the mess he was instrumental in creating. Do I feel like his found family made excuses for him? Yes. But was I happy that he found people to connect with? Absolutely.
I did also enjoy the pop culture references and how Shawn Mendes was part of Jay’s Gay Agenda. It also had it’s funny moments, it’s awkward moments, and it’s family moments that made me put a hand to my chest in surprise because these are the kind of moments members of the LGBTQ community need to see in the content that we consume. Ultimately, that’s what kept me reading this book.
Straight people have plenty of messy books with protagonists that do not hit the mark, despite how hard they try. Those in the LGBTQ community deserve the same courtesy. So, yeah. That’s where I’m going to end this review before I spiral into other things I didn’t like about this book despite the fact that I tried my hardest because I know the pain of not finding gay community.
Queerly Not Straight posts every Tuesday with opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.)