Author: Heidi Cullinan
Publisher: Heidi Cullinan
Genre/Themes: NA, LGBTQIA+, Romance
Release Date: August 8th 2017
Page Count: 460
Format: eARC via NetGalley
*Disclaimer: An eARC of Antisocial by Heidi Cullinan was provided to me by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my review in any way.
Initial Post-Reading Thoughts
I wanted something cute and fluffy to read quickly to take a breather from my other current reads and that’s exactly what I got from Antisocial. I was browsing through NetGalley (which I really shouldn’t be doing because I have enough to read already) and I saw this cute cover that looked like manga and I just couldn’t help but click on it. It was a “Read Now” title so of course I downloaded it. It was a cute fast paced read that also dealt with some heavier topics…which turned out to be exactly what I needed .
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.
What I Liked
Asexual Representation. Although they weren’t the main character, Zelda identified as aromantic asexual and they also used gender neutral pronouns. What I loved about that was that it was never explained or brought to the readers attention. The pronouns they/them were used from the beginning and all of the other characters just used them. Even when characters were introduced to Zelda for the first time and the gender neutral pronouns were used, no one questioned it. This was really cool to see as I hope that in the future using these pronouns is as natural as it was in this story. There is also another character in this story that isn’t sure how they want to identify (I’m leaving out names for this one as it’s kind of a spoiler.) This character is trying to figure out their sexual identity throughout the entire book and most of the other characters are very understanding toward their self-discovery.
Art & Manga. One of our main characters, Xander Fairchild, is an artist currently studying at a university. He’s really good with paints, but his not-so-secret talent is that he’s also a fantastic manga artist. The university has a magazine that Xander draws a comic for. Since he took over the art in his sophomore year, the comic took more of a manga twist. I myself have recently started diving into the world of manga so when I read the synopsis of Antisocial and realized that it focused on manga, I knew I needed to read it.
The Cover. Speaking of manga, the main reason I even clicked on this title via NetGalley was because the cover absolutely SCREAMS manga! I thought for a moment that it actually was manga! Of course, it wasn’t…but the cover was just too cute to pass up!
Exploration of Relationship. As mentioned above, one of the characters is trying to understand himself and how he identifies. They go throughout the whole book exploring this character’s sexuality and it was definitely a different take, especially for a New Adult romance. It took a lot of trial and error, but they slowly start to discover more about themselves, which was really beautiful.
The Pacing. As mentioned, I really wanted something quick and fast paced to read to take a break from my other two heavier current reads. Antisocial was exactly that. I didn’t even realize it was 460 pages until I looked it up for this review!
What I Didn’t Like
Felt A Bit Like Fanfiction. While the story was quick and fast paced, I’m not sure how I felt about the writing itself. It felt a little like fan fiction and while I have nothing against fan fiction, it wasn’t really what I was hoping for when I picked up Antisocial.
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.
Thank you for reading!