What's going on Write Voicers?
I know I promised an interview with Adam Sass and the book review of The 99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers for 30 August, but I just couldn't make it.
Last month was a whirlwind of busyness, and this month is too; but I couldn't back down on my promises. So, I somehow found a way to add in the interview AND the book review (with another interview and book review coming at the end of this month!) in such a short time.
I don't have a date for the interview with Adam yet, but I'm hoping to be able to post it soon.
In the mean time, and despite all the craziness, I'm super excited to take this time to go ahead with this book review. So, let's talk about The 99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers by Adam Sass!
But be careful if you proceed because there are SPOILERS in this review. Also, because I almost always forget to mention it, I want ya'll to know that I was offered an Advanced Readers Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Just wanted you to know.
Okay, that's it. Let's dive in!
What's the novel about?
The 99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers is about, well, Micah Summers. Also known as The Prince of Chicago (he's the son of a celebrity radio host known as The King of Chicago), Micah is an artist who shares his crushes on Instagram—all 99 of them. But Micah wants the real thing, so when he meets the guy he believes to be Boy 100 on the L train, he braces himself to do the impossible: ask the mystery guy out on a date. But, before he can, train doors close on his face, and all he's left with is a pumpkin jacket. With the help of his friends, Micah goes on a quest to find Boy 100. Along the way, he learns about himself, relationships, and what he's willing to do for love.
What is the main theme in the book?
I had a hard time deciding on what theme was most prevalent in this book. But, by the end of the day, I believe the main theme of this novel is that romantic relationships are hard work.
There are many romantic relationships shown in this novel, including Elliot and Brandon; Maggie and Manda; Hannah and Jackson; Micah's parents; and—of course—Grant and Micah. Each of these couples has its own unique set of challenges and/or wins; but, what makes their challenges interesting is that they're all filtered through Micah's lens.
For instance, from Micah's perspective, the relationship between Elliot and Brandon is tumultuous because Brandon spends more time training than he does spending time with Elliot. And whenever Elliot tries to do something special with Brandon, with the exception of meeting The King of Chicago, it turns into an argument between the two of them.
When it comes to Maggie and Manda, Micah sees them arguing on a constant basis about whether they should go out and do activities or go to events instead of staying in the house all the time. It's implied that he thinks that the two of them are always on the verge of breaking up because they argue so much. However, that's not the case. Maggie explains to her brother that arguing is just a normal part of relationships and that it can even be healthy in most cases.
In terms of couples interacting, we don't see a lot of Hannah and Jackson because Hannah keeps him a secret from Micah throughout the majority of the book. But, when we do see them together, they are the cutest thing. By this point in the book, Micah has learned a thing or two about relationships and uses Brandon and Elliot as a cautionary tale to warn Hannah that she should spend more time being in the moment as opposed to planning out her future.
I wanted to talk about Micah's parents toward the end because they are an example of a relationship that stood the test of time. When Micah finds Grant and they become #wishgranted, Micah's mom explains that it can be difficult to balance fame with a relationship and that Micah shouldn't take it lightly. That said, the relationship between Micah's mom and dad is one of mutual respect and, while it's not perfect, it is a good example of a healthy relationship between two people.
when you find the person who's worth arguments, and grand gestures, and your time, the work is worth it.
All of these pairings depict the ups and downs of relationships and we as the audience are able to look at these and compare them to our own lives. But, just because the novel shows that relationships are hard, it doesn't mean that they're not worth the amount of effort that you put into it. And I think that's the point. Relationships are supposed to be HARD WORK because when you find a person who's worth arguments, and grand gestures, and your time, the work is worth it.
What did you like?
There was a lot to love about this book; but, since there's not enough room in this blog for me to list them all, I'll settle for the best three things: the cover and the illustrations, the relationships between the characters, and how realistic Micah is as a character.
The Cover and Other Illustrations
I LOVED the cover of this book, and the illustrations were so freaking adorable. The colors of the cover drew me in and were one of the reasons I wanted to review this book. The font for the title is also unique, at least to me. Coupled together with the cover it is perfection.
I also loved that there are illustrations throughout the book. Since Micah is an artist, including the drawings from his Instagram page allows the reader to get an idea of the types of crushes Micah had before meeting Grant on the L train. It also reinforces Micah's love of fairytales which adds a bit of surrealness to his "Cinderella" moment.
The Relationships Between the Characters
I already went into the types of romantic relationships between the characters when discussing the themes, so I won't repeat all that here. For this section, I wanted to focus more so on the friendship aspect of the book. Micah has really great friends and I don't think the story would have turned out the way it did if not for them. It isn't often that I come across rom-com novels that have a good balance of friendship and romance, but Sass does this well.
For instance, Maggie (who is both his sister and friend) and Hannah both lay into Micah about how crappy Grant is being when it comes to #wishgranted being more important than their actual relationship. They also tell him that he's being a horrible friend to Elliot by throwing him under the bus when the photos of their almost kiss were leaked on the internet. Moments like these are spread throughout the novel and show that Maggie and Hannah aren't just placeholder characters, but characters with a lot of depth that are instrumental in shaping Micah and his decisions throughout the book.
How Realistic Micah Is As a Character
So, it's kind of hard to put this into words, but one of my favorite things about this book was how realistic Micah is as a character. And, what I mean by that is that Micah's anxiety about asking someone out for the first time is something that I believe many people can relate to, especially when it comes to someone you've had a huge crush on and even more so with someone that you've built up in your head.
Maybe Micah should have watched this video first...
I think that a lot of people struggle with asking out that first someone because they're insecure about themselves, or think they're not good enough. I think that seeing that portrayed in a novel is a good thing because so many stories out there are more focused on a confident person asking someone else out. Or, they might show that someone is nervous about asking another person on a date, but not necessarily go into the character's head of why they're nervous about asking someone out.
I also thought that it was interesting that Sass showed how being rich can affect your worldview of people who have less in the world. The contrast between Micah's and Elliot's living situations was a breath of fresh air for me. I also loved that Sass took the time to have Micah check his privilege when it came to him ordering the fan for Elliot (not the scene when he gives it to him, but the one when he considers how Elliot might consider the fan to be a handout instead of a gift). Just like with Micah's anxiousness, it's not often that I read a book that has a rich character who realizes just how lucky they are to be in the position that they're in. I think the fact that Sass added this is amazing.
What, if anything, did you dislike or wish the author would've done differently?
This is a hard question to answer because I both liked and disliked one aspect of the novel. And, what I'm talking about is the fact that I knew from the beginning who Micah would end up with. That said, I recognize that sometimes it's not about whether or not you know who the true love interest is. Instead, it's about the journey to how they ended up with that person. So, would I have done it differently? No. Not at all. But it does make me wonder how I would have felt if I'd been wrong.
How many stars would you give this book and why?
I'm a huge fan of rom-coms and this one was just SO FUN! The characters were well developed and, though I'm older than the characters, I could still relate to them. I also loved all the fairytale references (though there could have been more, you can never have enough). For reasons I won't say, reading this book made me feel like I was back in high school, which was both enlightening and a bit weird. All that said, at the end of the day, this book gets five out of five stars.
Adam Sass is the author of The 99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers, Surrender Your Sons, The Search for Drew Schreiber ( a prequel to Surrender Your Sons), and the short story "Reshadow" in Out There: Into the Queer New Yonder.
Next fall, he'll be releasing Your Lonely Nights Are Over, a new YA thriller about two gay best friends (and queen bees of their school) who try to stop the masked killer who's been stalking their LGBTQ club. If you're a fan of Scream and Clueless, you're not going to want to miss this mashup!
For an update on 99 Boyfriends and Your Lonely Nights, check out Adam's website.
If you enjoyed this review and want to know more about him, keep an eye out for the interview I'll be posting. In the meantime, check out this book review of Lioness of Punjab by Anita Kharbanda.
Are you looking for someone to review your YA or Middle Grades book? Then I'm your girl! Just shoot me an email and I'll be happy to do it.
Otherwise, comment on this post and tell me if you think The 99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers is the book for you. And don't forget to like this post and subscribe to my website so you can get the latest book reviews and interviews!