cover image Social Intercourse

Social Intercourse

Greg Howard. Simon & Schuster, $18.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4814-9781-7

Florence, S.C., is not an easy place to be gay, but 17-year-old Beckett Gaines is doing his best to be out and proud, and he’s trying to lose his virginity (and hopefully find love) via his newly installed Bangr app. His father is supportive, so much so that he and his new girlfriend, Tracee, are planning a Rainbow Prom, but Beck worries that Tracee is on the rebound from her longtime female partner. It turns out that Beck has an unexpected ally in Tracee’s son, Jax Parker, a quarterback, class president, and golden boy who just wants his moms back together. It’s a small town, so Jax and Beck have a history, but they turn out to have things to learn about and from each other. Debut author Howard may lean a little heavily on gay tropes (Beck seems to have grown up on a diet of The Golden Girls and RuPaul), but he tells a funny and satisfying love story while challenging simplistic preconceptions that people are either gay or straight or that the Bible Belt plus football equals a homophobic community. Ages 14–up. Agent: Brianne Johnson, Writers House. (June)