By Jay Paine
From debut novelist Jason June comes the YA rom-com Jay’s Gay Agenda. I’ll be upfront with you all: YA rom-com is not my go-to genre, but I couldn’t not read the book titled Jay’s Gay Agenda; it literally had my name on it, so I read it, and, despite my hesitancy toward the genre, I was pretty impressed—so much so I thought I’d leave a quick review.
It took me a minute to get into the story, but around the halfway point, the conflict exponentially increased. After that, I could not put the book down. Also, Jay’s Gay Agenda had me laughing out loud from cover to cover. Sure, it got a little carried away with the butt jokes, but I really can’t be that upset considering teens and young adults are the target audience, and June somehow makes butt jokes relevant to the plot.
Despite form being tricky to execute in creative works, June masterfully executes one. Jay is always making lists, so it was fun to see June employing lists throughout the novel. Each chapter title is a checked-off item on a list. June also uses lists to communicate important information about Jay. Personally, I think the lists move was a little risky, but it paid off.
I appreciate the overall queer representation in June’s novel. Although the story centers around a gay romance, June is careful to include and support the entire queer community. For example, Jay befriends a genderqueer character, Max. During their first interaction, Jay says, “I go by he/him pronouns, and I’m a total safe space if you ever want to share yours.” Jay’s interaction with Max is not only supportive, but it also offers readers a positive and non-confrontational way to ask someone what pronouns they use. Kudos to June for including this in his novel. I will definitely be stealing Jay’s line (Sorry, Jay!).
Overall, Jay’s Gay Agenda is a refreshing book perfect for older teens and young adults looking for an easy read full of humor, queer representation, and a touching lesson about young love and friendship. Even if you aren’t a teen, young adult, or member of the queer community, I believe this book is still a worthwhile read, especially if you want a fun way to learn more about the queer community.