This book was sent free for honest review by the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
A single stroke can change your world.
Xander Fairchild can’t stand people in general and frat boys in particular, so when he’s forced to spend his summer working on his senior project with Skylar Stone, a silver-tongued Delta Sig with a trust fund who wants to make Xander over into a shiny new image, Xander is determined to resist. He came to idyllic, Japanese culture-soaked Benten College to hide and make manga, not to be transformed into a corporate clone in the eleventh hour.
Skylar’s life has been laid out for him since before he was born, but all it takes is one look at Xander’s artwork, and the veneer around him begins to crack. Xander himself does plenty of damage too. There’s something about the antisocial artist’s refusal to yield that forces Skylar to acknowledge how much his own orchestrated future is killing him slowly…as is the truth about his gray-spectrum sexuality, which he hasn’t dared to speak aloud, even to himself.
Through a summer of art and friendship, Xander and Skylar learn more about each other, themselves, and their feelings for one another. But as their senior year begins, they must decide if they will part ways and return to the dull futures they had planned, or if they will take a risk and leap into a brightly colored future—together.
GUYS. ANTISOCIAL by Heidi Cullinan was made for me—and to think I added it on NetGalley because it looked cute and I missed M/M. I had no idea it would be so relevant to the weebish queer in me. This is my attempt to explain all the lovely things about ANTISOCIAL but anything I can say about the novel will be such an understatement. I’m probably going to sound like a rambling oaf.
So, the story goes down like this: Xander Fairchild is an antisocial art student at “Japanese culture-soaked” Benton College with zero friends and few admirers. His senior project is to design, promote, and draw attention to his art by featuring a show. Xander has a sinking feeling this show will end in disaster when he meets Skylar Stone. Skyler is the smooth-talking risk manager for Delta Eta Sigma. He has his whole life plans out until he meets Xander and discovers how unhappy he is with his life. As Xander unwillingly leans on Skyler to save his art show, but as Xander and Skyler grow closer, he begins to wonder if Skylar is the one in need of rescuing.
When I first started ANTISOCIAL I thought I’d probably relate to Xander the most. I mean, we do have similar qualities: Xander is introverted, shy, he hates people but he loves his cats. His grumpiness is on an “old man yelling to get off his lawn” level. He probably beats Nick on NEW GIRL for King of the Grump. He’s also kind of broken—his past is horrific. He probably wouldn’t have survived if it hadn’t sound solace in art.
But once I got to know more about Skylar’s character, I realized we have a lot more in common. Skylar Stone seems like this perfect guy. He’s handsome, charming, and top of his class. But behind the perfect facade, he’s a people pleaser. His parents rarely showed an interest in him growing up. He was practically raised by his father’s secretary. He lives for his father’s attention—He’ll do anything for his father’s praise. Plus, he’s a secret weeb. He denies his own desires to fulfil his parents’ wishes. The scariest things he’s ever done is to put his own happiness above his parents.
There were things about them both that I could relate to, but in all honesty, Xander is more brave than I’ve ever been. I’m more like Skylar, if I must say. Regardless, they were both adorable. They both suffer plenty in ANTISOCIAL but they also find love and acceptance. It’s both a wicked tear-jerker and heartwarming read.
I’m embarrassed to say I had no idea this book had anything to do with Japanese culture, manga, anime or other weebish hobbies. Honestly, I thought it was your average M/M romance with a very manga-style cover. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised when Xander turned out to be a mangaka. I also realized that while ANTISOCIAL is indeed an M/M romance, it is far from average. It is a story of self-discovery, facing your fears, and learning to live for yourself and not to please other people.
ANTISOCIAL is probably my favorite diverse read and has rocketed to the top of my 2017 favorites list. I recommend this story for anyone looking for a heartwarming read with beautiful characters. Just remember to keep plenty of tissues handy!
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2017 Goodreads Challenge
About the Author
Heidi Cullinan has always enjoyed a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. She writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys playing with new recipes, reading romance and manga, playing with her cats, and watching too much anime.
I don’t do this often, but I enjoyed ANTISOCIAL so much, I wanted to give y’all the opportunity to win a copy for yourselves! The giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY. The winner will win ONE e-copy of Antisocial from the retailer of their choice—Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. The giveaway will end August 17th at 12:00 AM. The winner will be randomly chosen. I will contact the winner at the end of the giveaway and they have 72 hours to respond or I will be forced to choose someone else. Good luck!