It’s impossible to miss the online buzz around Autoboyography, the latest novel from New York Times bestselling duo, Christina Lauren (two glorious writers, one awesome pen name). It’s getting rave reviews pretty much everywhere and we can’t contain our excitement about the fact that EVERYONE LOVES THIS BOOK AS MUCH AS WE DO!! But if you did somehow gloss over all the attention, let us introduce you to Autoboyography —a funny and poignant coming-of-age novel about two boys who fall in love in a writing class—one from a progressive family and the other from a conservative religious community.
Tanner and Sebastian are characters who will burrow into your heart and stay there forever. We’ve read the book and now we want MORE. That’s why it’s so fun that Christina Lauren shared some character and story images with bloggers along with exclusive excerpts from the book! We’ve rounded them all up below, so check them out and then keep scrolling for our exclusive photo and excerpt!!
“I swing around to see Sebastian standing next to a bike, squinting up into the sun.
I haven’t seen him outside of class in two weeks, and it causes a weird ache to push through me. Straightening, I walk over to the edge of the deck. “Hey.”
“Hey,” he says back, smiling. “What are you doing up there?”
“Earning my keep, apparently. I believe you call this ‘service,’” I say, using my hands to form air quotes around the words.”
Read more of this excerpt on Shh Moms Reading.
“It begins to snow outside, and thankfully, we move over to a couple of armchairs near the window to watch, letting the book fall away for a while. Sebastian was born here, a few miles down the road. His father is a tax attorney, called to serve as bishop nearly two years ago. His mother was in finance at Vivint before Sebastian was born. Now she’s a full-time mother and wife of the bishop, which, Sebastian explains, sort of makes her the mother of their ward. She likes it, he tells me, but it’s meant that he and Lizzy have had to step up more with Faith and Aaron. He’s played soccer and baseball since he was six. His favorite band is Bon Iver. He plays the piano and guitar.”
Read more of this excerpt on Fangirlish.
“I pull the blanket from my trunk and spread it over the still-warm hood of my car. Using a few spare jackets and a random beach towel, I make some pillows for us up near the windshield wipers.
Like this, we can lie back and stare up at the stars.
When he sees what I’m doing, he helps me arrange it all, and then we climb up, lying back and letting out, in unison, a satisfied moan.”
Read more of this excerpt on Hypable.
And finally, here’s our image:
And here is our exclusive excerpt:
I look up at him. He’s staring at me, and it’s clear he’s said my name more than once.
He tries to smile. He’s nervous. “You got quiet.”
Quite frankly, I have nothing to lose. “I guess I’m still stuck on the part where you’re going on a mission for two years. Like, it just hit me now that’s what you’re doing.”
I don’t even have to break it down further for him. He totally gets it. He gets the subtext, the I’m not Mormon; you are. The How long can we really be friends? The I don’t just want to be your friend anyway. I see it in his eyes.
And instead of brushing it aside or changing the subject or suggesting I learn the art of prayer, he stands up, tugging down the hem of his shirt when it rides up on the side. “Come on. Let’s go for a hike. This is a lot to digest, for both of us.”
There are a million trails headed up the hill, and when it’s nice out, you’ll usually pass someone on each one of them, but Utah weather is unpredictable, and our warm front is long gone; no one is hiking.
We have the outdoors to ourselves, and we trudge up the sludgy hillside until the houses in the valley are just tiny specs and we’re both out of breath. Only when we stop do I realize how hard we’ve both been pressing up the trail, exorcising some demons.
Maybe the same one.
My heart is pounding. We are clearly headed somewhere to capital-T Talk—otherwise why not just put away the schoolwork and turn on the Xbox?—and the possibilities of where this could go make me feel a little insane.
It’s going nowhere, Tanner. Nowhere.
Sebastian sits down on a boulder, bending to rest his arms on his thighs and catch his breath.
I watch the rise and fall of his back through his jacket, the solid muscle there—but also the straight posture, the unique poise of him—and absolutely defile him in my head. My hands all over him, his hands all over me.
I want him.
With a small growl, I look away and into the distance at the BYU Y monument embedded in the distance, and it’s honestly the last thing I want to see. It’s made of concrete, and in my mind is a total eyesore, but it’s revered in town and on the BYU campus.
“You don’t like the Y?”
I look over at him. “It’s fine.”
He laughs—at my tone, I think. “There’s an LDS story that the Native Americans who lived here many years ago told the church settlers that angels had told them whoever moved here would be blessed and prosperous.”
“Interesting that the Native Americans don’t live here anymore because of those settlers.”
He leans forward, catching my eye. “You seem really upset.”
“I am upset.”
“About my mission?”
“I’m certainly not this upset about the Y.”
He falters, brows flickering down. “I mean, didn’t you know that’s what most of us will do?”
“Yeah, but I guess I thought . . .”
I look up at the sky and cough out a laugh. I’m such a moron.
Was there a time I could have stopped this train of feelings from barreling into my bloodstream?
“Tanner, I’ll only be gone two years.”
My laugh is so dry it’s dusty. “‘Only.’” I shake my head, blinking down to the ground at my feet. “Well, in that case, I’m totally not upset anymore.”
We fall into silence, and it’s like a block of ice has been dropped between us. I am an enormous jerk. I’m being such a baby right now; I’m making this endlessly awkward.
“Can you at least call me when you’re gone?” I ask. I don’t care anymore how crazy I must sound.
Sebastian shakes his head.
“E-mail, or . . . text?”
“I can e-mail family,” he clarifies. “I can go on Facebook but . . . only for church-related stuff.”
I feel when he turns to look at me, and the wind whips across my face so hard it hurts, but it also feels like the sky trying to slap some sense into me.
Wake up, Tanner. Wake the hell up.
“Tanner, I don’t . . .” He rubs a hand on his face, shaking his head.
When he doesn’t finish the thought, I press. “You don’t what?”
“I don’t understand why you’re so upset.”
He’s fully staring at me, brows pulled down low. But it isn’t confusion there; at least I don’t think it is. I mean, I know he knows. Does he just want me to say it? Does he want me to say it so he can explain gently why us being together is impossible? Or does he want me to admit how I feel so he can . . . ?
I don’t actually care why. The words are this heavy boulder in my thoughts, in every waking thought, and if I don’t just let it roll straight out of me, it’s going to crash around and break everything delicate inside.
“I like you,” I say.
But when I look over, I see that these words aren’t enough; they don’t clear away the expression on his face. “And I know your church doesn’t allow that kind of feeling.”
He waits, so still, like he’s holding his breath.
“It doesn’t allow for guys to have feelings like this . . . for other guys.”
He breathes out a barely audible “No.”
“But I’m not LDS,” I say, hardly any louder than him now. “In my family, it isn’t a bad thing. And I don’t know what to do about how I feel or how to stop feeling this way about you.”
I was right. This doesn’t surprise him at all. His face clears, but only long enough to cloud in a new way. Every feature grows tight. I wonder if maybe he wishes that I hadn’t said anything at all, or that I’d just pretended that he was my new favorite dudebro and I would miss platonic hanging out and fumbling through this stupid book project with him for the next two years.
“I . . . ,” he starts, and then exhales in a controlled stream, like each molecule of air is coming out single file.
“You don’t have to say anything,” I tell him. My heart is racing. It’s a fist punching, and punching, and punching me from the inside. Stupid, stupid, stupid. “I only wanted to explain why I was upset. And,” I add, wanting the ground to open up and swallow me, “also why my book is basically about how it feels to fall for you.”
I watch his throat as he swallows thickly. “I think I knew.”
“I think you knew too.”