Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is a sweet, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that will keep you turning the pages to find out how everything turns out.

About the Book

The brilliant debut novel from author, presenter and LGBTQ+ advocate Calum McSwiggan! Seventeen-year-old Max has always been out, proud and just a little spoiled. Frustrated by the lack of romantic options in his small-town high school, during an argument with his lifelong best friend Dean, Max lashes out and says he wishes he had never been born gay.

Max gets more than he bargained for when he wakes up to find his wish has come true – not only have his feelings for boys vanished, but so has Dean.

With his school life turned upside down and his relationship with his family in tatters, Max sets out on a journey of rediscovery to find a way back to the life he took for granted, and the romance he thought he’d never have.

A deliciously romantic YA debut that’s What If It’s Us and One Last Stop!

Genre: Young Adult, Queer, LGBT, Contemporary
Length: 272 Pages
Publication Date: 4th May 2023
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ordinary-Boy-Calum-McSwiggan/dp/0241551145
Amazon US: https://a.co/d/1aRUoAt
Bookshop US: https://bookshop.org/a/25511/9781454951650
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61335651-straight-expectations

My Thoughts

I devoured this book right up. I’m not sure what I expected when I started reading, but what I got was a fantastic blend of Freaky Friday and It’s a Wonderful Life all blended to perfection. Our main character learns the lesson of be careful what you wish for, and maybe the grass isn’t always greener on the other side in the biggest and worst way possible. Sure, some things are better, but some things are worse when his wish comes true.

McSwiggan developed beautiful, believable, flawed, but lovable characters that I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know. I especially enjoyed the teacher who was on the LGBTQplus kids side, and enjoyed hating the one who wasn’t. The blurb and several reviews called Max spoiled, and maybe he was. But sometimes we have to live life to learn some things. Life is hard and complicated, as he learns very quickly. I especially enjoyed the beautiful interconnectedness of each aspect of life the author showed through this story. How one small detail, Max being gay, impacted so much of his life.

I hope the wonder of seeing books like this for young adults will never wear off for me. Growing up in the 90s and early 00s, especially in the Deep South of the United States, meant very little access to books or other media with LGBTQplus representation. Even today, the Deep South has a lot of work to do in this regard. So it warms my heart every time I read a book intended for young people making it clear that they are okay. Representation matters so much. I’m thankful for authors like Mr. McSwiggan, and authors like him, for making things easier for the next generation of kids. I will absolutely read whatever he writes next.

Who’s It For

If you love a good romance, especially an LGBTQIplus Young Adult one, this one will absolutely tick all the boxes. Homophobes need not apply, because this book is out and proud – even if it needed all of us to learn a lesson along the way. If you like your books to teach a little lesson, provide some social commentary, and have a wonderfully diverse and amazing cast of characters, snap this book up today.

I’m so grateful to the author, WritesReadsTours and Netgalley for gifting me including me on this tour, and it did not impact my review. I absolutely loved this book and am so glad I was a part of it!

Content Warning: Homophobia, drinking, drugs, adult situations, adult language, racism

Clicking on a Bookshop.org link does not change the price of your order, but because I am an affiliate I may receive a percentage from the order.

About the Author

Calum McSwiggan (born 21 May 1990) is a British YouTuber, blogger, and online radio presenter. McSwiggan creates video content on LGBT+ issues, mental health, and sex and relationships.[2][3][4] He began creating YouTube videos in 2013 and began hosting The Calum McSwiggan Show on Fubar Radio in 2017.

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