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Cut Both Ways


Cut Both Ways

CUT BOTH WAYS by Carrie Mesrobian follows Will Caynes, a typical teenager from Minnesota who lives with his dad in their under-construction home while his mom enjoys a luxuriously suburban life with her new husband and twin daughters. One day, while hanging out with his best friend, Angus, the two boys share a kiss, which sends Will's world into a spiral of confusion and complication. Shortly after, Will begins dating a sophomore, Brandy, and he thinks he's in love. But then there's Angus, and Will isn't too sure he knows what he wants anymore. During all of this, Will goes through the complications of having divorced parents and an alcoholic father. He is forced to mature as he begins to see the world around him much more vividly than he could have ever imagined.

Mesrobian is no stranger to writing about sexuality and relationships. Two of her previous works, SEX & VIOLENCE and PERFECTLY GOOD WHITE BOY, are both interplays of romance, sexuality and understanding. Therefore, it is no surprise that CUT BOTH WAYS explores all of these themes excellently. There is no one motif in Mesrobian's work; everything is symbiotically related and works with a plethora of other themes. In CUT BOTH WAYS, I noticed an enjoyable blend of romance, identity, sexuality, maturity, struggle and growing up.

Even if I hadn't been enthralled by Will Caynes' witty insight or the refreshing plot, I still would have fallen head over heels for the realness of the storyline.

Even if I hadn't been enthralled by Will Caynes' witty insight or the refreshing plot, I still would have fallen head over heels for the realness of the storyline.Will thinks, speaks and acts like an everyday teenage boy, and not like an idealized version of one. At times, the story slowed down to really evaluate everything going on in Will's life and offer some stagnation for me. At other times, the story sped up and I wasn't quite sure what Will had done for several months at a time, yet I was still able to connect to Mesrobian's goal of painting Will's life as an incredibly realistic one that any reader could have lived. He experienced days when nothing particularly exciting happened and then he had days where everything seemed to pop up at him, just like would happen in real life. If there is one thing to say about CUT BOTH WAYS, it's that I couldn't have asked for a more feasible and practical storyline that still managed to keep me reading.

I would recommend this book to any teenager who could fit into Will Caynes' shoes. If you can relate to feeling lost or confused as a teenager, this book will be a perfect read. If you have ever hit that critical point in adolescence where you're searching for your identity, and I know we all have, you'll thoroughly enjoy this book. And if not, anyone who loves a hint of realistic story lines, coming-of-age stories and relatable reads will have a great time reading CUT BOTH WAYS. If there has ever been a more realistic and entertaining story about a struggle of identity, I would be astounded.

Reviewed by Chris C., Teen Board member on September 9, 2015

Cut Both Ways
by Carrie Mesrobian