One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux BFYR 5/27/2014
One Man Guy tells the story of Alek, the second son of an Armenian family living in New Jersey, as he attends summer school in order to stay on the Honor Track (his parent’s desire not his!). Summer sucks until Alek’s world is turned upside down and then upside right when Ethan, a resident skateboarder and instigator of the “infamous food fight”, saves Alek from a bully and then shows up in his Algebra class. As Ethan broadens Alek’s horizons with NYC and Rufus Wainwright, Alek must decide if he wants more from Ethan than friendship.
Michael Barakiva places Alek in a wonderful and crazy Armenian family where going to a restaurant wreaks havoc on their waitress, where eating cereal for breakfast is a crime, and where commuting 3 hours to and from an Armenian church is a given. Alek’s character reeks of innocence and goodness with a splash of defiance. Mr. Barakiva expertly draws readers into Alek’s life and subsequently we feel his desire to do what’s right, his attraction to Ethan, and his breathlessness for their first kiss. Readers will find themselves cheering for Alek as he discovers who he truly is and applauding Ethan’s ability to move beyond the pain in his past. Needless to say, I could not put the book down and am anxiously awaiting to opportunity to put it in the hands of students both gay and straight. Thank you Mr. Barakiva for this beautiful and inspiring book!