My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Some hits and a lot of misses with this one for me.
 
Hits:
– Nine is adorable in his naiveté.
– I’m here for the awkwardness.
– Fake relationship trope is my jam.
– Cooper and Nine have several cute and sweet moments, especially when filming their Instagram videos. I wanted more of those.
-I loved the banter between Cooper and Jackson.
 
Misses:
– The weird family names thing. Nine is a weird nickname but the way it’s explained makes sense. But why is every one of Nine’s siblings called something completely different from their real name? It’s difficult enough to keep the names of TEN siblings, their spouses, and children straight in my head. Please don’t complicate things further by calling Cassandra Dee, or whatever.
– The homophobia from Nine’s family made me very uncomfortable. It seems to come and go when it fits the plot. Mom and dad are okay with Nine being “fake” gay for money but are suddenly back to homophobic when Nine admits real feelings?
-Speaking of homophobia…how in the world are Eli and Cooper bffs when Eli is uncomfortable with Cooper’s sexuality? That friendship doesn’t work for me.
-And continuing with the inconsistencies, Nine and his family know no other LGBTQ+ person other than Cooper, yet Eli mentions a gay gym owner in their hometown toward the end of the book to make Cooper jealous.
– Talk about bi-erasure. “But you’ve dated this girl and that girl.” “You had sex with this girl on prom night!” People can and do like more than one gender.
 
So. I’m on the fence with Say You’ll Be Nine. There were parts there were really really good and others that didn’t sit well with me and I couldn’t excuse for the sake of the story. I think the narrow-mindedness of Nine’s family could have been used as a teaching moment and for character growth. For me, Lennox completely missed that opportunity.

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