Review: One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva

One Man Guy
Michael Barakiva
Series: Standalone
Release Date: May 27th, 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Rating: 4.5 stars
Word Rating: Pure, pure joy
Reviewed by: Blythe

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Funny and heartfelt, One Man Guy serves up the raucous family humor and gentle romance of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, as told with David Sedaris–style wit.

Alek Khederian should have guessed something was wrong when his parents took him to a restaurant. Everyone knows that Armenians never eat out. Between bouts of interrogating the waitress and criticizing the menu, Alek’s parents announce that he’ll be attending summer school in order to bring up his grades. Alek is sure this experience will be the perfect hellish end to his hellish freshman year of high school. He never could’ve predicted that he’d meet someone like Ethan.

Ethan is everything Alek wishes he were: confident, free-spirited, and irreverent. He can’t believe a guy this cool wants to be his friend. And before long, it seems like Ethan wants to be more than friends. Alek has never thought about having a boyfriend—he’s barely ever had a girlfriend—but maybe it’s time to think again.

One Man Guy, with an apt acronym of OMG, is amazing; it really, truly is. From the first page to the last, we're thrust into this world of Alek, an LGBT teen finding himself, and it's all just so well written and developed I couldn't help but fall in love. This, my friends, is the LGBT book I've been waiting for but had yet to find. 

Of course, in a book like One Man Guy, character and relationship development are key, and here it's damn near perfection. For starters, before the relationship even truly begins, the development of Alek's character as he discovers himself is handled lightly but is believable and strongly written. The same goes for the romance that eventually begins between Alek and "drop out" Ethan, whom Alek has great chemistry with almost immediately. The romance is a slow burn and takes its time to develop, but once it gets going it's cute and swoony, and really all I could ask for in an LGBT romance. Not only that, but the dates in New York City were so much fun to read about, and might have been my favorite part of the novel. 

One Man Guy also features interesting and at times heartwarming family and friendship dynamics, and I loved seeing Alek's relationships with the members of his family and his best friend, Becky, evolve into something genuinely great and powerful. Family isn't something I find is usually highlighted in YA, at least with most of what I've read, so it was refreshing to see a novel in which the parents played an important part in the main character's life. All of the relationships, especially the ones between family members, were just so authentic.  

My only complaint would be some of the dialogue, largely in regards to Ethan's. The slang used by him is very forced and, in my opinion, unrealistic for teens, and I say this as someone who works with them. This is especially overwhelming in the first half, which is unfortunate because that's when we're first introduced to Ethan, so my first impression of him wasn't as positive as my impression of him by the end of the novel had been. However, as much as the awkward slang took me out of the momentum in the beginning, it was in lesser quantity towards the second half, so I was able to enjoy the rest of the novel entirely and for all its gloriousness

For readers looking for an awesome and fresh LGBT romance, One Man Guy is one of your best bets this spring; it's as cute and fun as the bright yellow cover would imply, but at the same time is not afraid to focus on the more serious and important aspects concerning LGBT life and youth. With fantastic writing, diverse characters, surprisingly funny and also tender moments, One Man Guy is a thoroughly enjoyable read, and I could not recommend it more. 


  1. This looks like it's going to be a good one. I love books that can make me laugh and swoon. And I'm glad that it was so well-developed. I added it to my TBR, and would definitely look for it in the future.

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  3. Whoops! Let me try this again: I haven't read any reviews on this but since I'm considering it as my next gym read (yay!), I'm glad I stopped in! Sounds like the book has all the things I love, and NYC dates?? I had no idea. That will be fun to read about (especially on the treadmill thingie). Thanks for sharing; you made my decision easy!

  4. Thank you for reviewing and sharing LGBT books! ~Sheri


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