This book reminded me of those YA books I used to read in high school (tho with more explicit sex) that dealt with problems like bullying and family breakups.
Poor Mitchell gets called Jumbo by the guys on his swim team because he's the exact opposite of jumbo. This isn't very nice of the guys, but in a way, I think that it's part of the swim team ethos - you're in an environment where you frequently see your teamates naked and there's no way to hide anything, so one way of dealing with awkwardness is just to blatantly point out differences and laugh about them. These are Mitchell's friends who call him Jumbo and although it is mortifying to him, he handles the new nickname with grace. In fact, a lot of completely mortifying things happen to Mitchell in this book, and as one after another of them hit, I cringed for him, but the best thing about this story was how Mitchell dealt with each new development, and managed to stay honest with everybody he dealt with. Though I would have liked to see him stand up more for himself, especially to the coach.
As plots go, this one was a little unrealistic especially the number of people in Mitchell's life who turn out to be gay
, and I think that the story could have done without some of the twists and turns, and focused more on Mitchell's budding first romance, which was written with delicacy and had some really delightful scenes. I would have enjoyed more of those.
Overall, a pleasurable and thoughtful read - not instant gratification but a nice build-up of effective moments.