Book Review | Straight Expectations @WriteReadsTours

Joining in on the ultimate tour for this fun book.

Straight Expectations
Calum McSwiggan

Seventeen-year-old Max has always been out, proud and just a little spoiled. Frustrated by the lack of romantic options in his small-town high school, during an argument with his lifelong best friend Dean, Max lashes out and says he wishes he had never been born gay.

Max gets more than he bargained for when he wakes up to find his wish has come true – not only have his feelings for boys vanished, but so has Dean.

With his school life turned upside down and his relationship with his family in tatters, Max sets out on a journey of rediscovery to find a way back to the life he took for granted, and the romance he thought he’d never have.

A deliciously romantic YA debut that’s What If It’s Us and One Last Stop!

Amazon | Goodreads | The StoryGraph |

Sometimes a book comes along at just the right time for you to read it and I was hoping for something fun but unpredictable and that is exactly what I got with Straight Expectations. I was really intrigued after reading the premise and was looking forward to seeing how the author approached the switch, whilst it could have taken a purely comedic route I was hoping for something that really explored how Max would handle this massive change, thankfully it had the right balance of funny and serious moments.

Max was a very relatable character, I remember being a bit lost with what I wanted to do after high school and all the obsessing over crushes. He seems very sure of himself one minute and then a bit more vulnerable the next and whilst he had his very selfish and slightly out-of-order moments I liked that he was a well-rounded character, he had flaws but that gave him the chance to grow throughout the book.

I loved Dean and Alicia, they were both so sure of what they wanted at the start of the book and it was good to see how the changes in Max’s life affected theirs too, it definitely highlighted how amazing it is to have a stable and supportive friendship group at that age. I also love the Queer community that Max and Dean have helped to build at the school and that the book doesn’t shy away from showing how the lack of that safe harbour for LGBTQ+ teens can lead to a very different experience.

Something I loved about this book was how well all the relationships worked when Max was being more true to himself but were not doing so well when he wasn’t, to me that highlights that we relate better to those around us when we are being genuine. Straight Expectations is full of positive messages like this it promotes self-acceptance and shows how you can still be your authentic self in any situation. Another thing I loved was that whilst there was a romantic relationship it was Max’s friendships that were the main focus of the story and what he was trying hard to save, the romance was just a fun bonus.

I am also very jealous that my school never got to put on such wonderful sounding theatrical productions, don’t be surprised if you suddenly have the urge to see Little Shop of Horrors.

This book was a lot of fun, there was some romantic drama and some cute romantic scenes but what really stood out was the friendships, believe me when I say you can only come out of this book with pure joy.

Calum McSwiggan (born 21 May 1990) is a British YouTuber, blogger, and online radio presenter. McSwiggan creates video content on LGBT+ issues, mental health, and sex and relationships. He began creating YouTube videos in 2013 and began hosting The Calum McSwiggan Show on Fubar Radio in 2017.


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