by Leah Wright
Greg Howard entered into the YA genre with his literal laugh-out-loud novel, Social Intercourse. The story is a coming of age tale about Beck, an out and proud gay choir nerd who flawlessly quotes “The Golden Girls” and “Designing Women”, and who is determined to lose his virginity. Juxtaposed to him is the golden boy, skirt-chasing jock who was adopted by two moms and maybe, just maybe, isn’t as close-minded as most believe him to be.
The novel is a creation of Howard’s imagination and his own experiences growing up as a closeted gay man in the town of Florence, S.C., at a time when being gay was not socially acceptable. The result is a hilarious and sometimes raw (hence the 14+ age rating) story of these two young men and their intertwined lives. While the ending is relatively predicable, the journey there is touching and at times, quite hysterical, as Beck and Jax are joined by other members of the fold such as Beck’s dad Roger, Jax’s moms JoJo and Tracee, and Shelby, the quintessential sassy best friend who serves as the perfect sidekick to Beck.
Despite the level of predictability, Howard includes several unexpected and delightful scenes, such as one that takes place as Queefy Le Pew’s Pussycat Parlor and Day Spa (someone really needs to open one of these in Nashville) and another as teens are arriving for a prom that is not well-received by some. Readers who grew up closeted in a small town will see several parallels between their lives and the novel, and maybe, just maybe, some of those who are still stuck in those small towns will see a glimmer of hope and realize there is a light at the end of that confining tunnel.
Greg Howard lives in Nashville with his husband, Steve, and their brood of rescued dogs and can be found through his website www.greghowardauthor.com
Social Intercourse and his first book, Blood Divine, are available now through your favorite bookseller. His third book, The Whispers, will be released through Putnam/Penguin in Spring 2019 and is geared toward a middle school audience.