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I Belong

Review: Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian

Cut Both WaysTitle: Cut Both Ways

Author: Carrie Mesrobian

Genre: YA Contemporary, GLBT

Series: N/A

Publication Date: September 1, 2015

Format: Hardcover, 352 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062349880 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062349880 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Michelle


Will Caynes never has been good with girls. At seventeen, he’s still waiting for his first kiss. He’s certainly not expecting it to happen in a drunken make-out session with his best friend, Angus. But it does and now Will’s conflicted—he knows he likes girls, but he didn’t exactly hate kissing a guy.

Then Will meets Brandy, a cute and easy-to-talk-to sophomore. He’s totally into her too—which proves, for sure, that he’s not gay. So why does he keep hooking up with Angus on the sly?

Will knows he can’t keep seeing both of them, but besides his new job in a diner, being with Brandy and Angus are the best parts of his whole messed-up life. His divorced parents just complicate everything. His father, after many half-baked business ventures and endless house renovations, has started drinking again. And his mom is no help—unless loading him up with a bunch of stuff he doesn’t need plus sticking him with his twin half-sisters counts as parenting. He’s been bouncing between both of them for years, and neither one feels like home.

Deciding who to love, who to choose, where to live. Whichever way Will goes, someone will get hurt. Himself, probably the most.

Quick & Dirty: A contemporary story about exploration, acceptance, and teenage angst.

Opening Sentence:  You get used to it, divorce.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

I am absolutely pleased that the young adult book world has begun to publish diverse stories. And I’m not talking about ethnicity. I’m talking about love in all the places. Carrie Mesrobian’s Cut Both Ways was an anticipated read for me. I was excited to read about a story about exploration and acceptance. There was a good amount of social buzz around Cut Both Ways. I wanted to give Mesrobian and Will’s story the chance it deserved.

Will is a young man at seventeen. He’s never been kissed, and is beginning to explore who he is, sexually. A drunken night has changed his world, with a drunken night and a kiss. A choice reveals itself between Angus, a best friend who reveals his feelings, and a girlfriend

Personally, I did not connect to Will nor this story. I felt that Will did not have an appealing personality. His arrogance made it hard for me to connect with the character and take his actions seriously. I couldn’t put myself in his shoes and relate to his concerns. And because of that, I wasn’t able to understand him.

What I originally thought was a story about exploration and questioning wasn’t it at all. I appreciated where Mesrobian was going with the basic plot, and the bedrock of each character. There were a few things that I was uncomfortable with, and I didn’t appreciate.

I do applaud what Mesrobian set out to do. The premise that a young man examines his life, questions between two options, and explores his sexuality. It’s a topic that is relevant towards today’s youth, and it’s something that I appreciate.

Notable Scene:

Her fingers skate underneath my arms, along my collarbone. All I can think is the kind of insane I WANT TO FUCK shouting-feeling.

I realize I need to act like someone who cares about what she’s saying. Respond. I clear my throat a little.

“Why’s your aunt in Lakeville?”

“She’s got a guy friend out there. They’re canning peaches.”


She laughs. “I’m serious. Her boyfriend is kind of into that. If he’s actually her boyfriend now. I’m not sure about that.” Her nails slip and scratch around my collarbone. I breathe. Control myself. I’m worried she can sense it, all of my I WANT TO FUCK feelings.

“Take your shirt off,” she says, her mouth at my neck. I freeze.

I do exactly what she says. She laughs.

And I think I might die of it, the happy. Her here. This bed finally feeling comfortable. Her skin touching my skin. Even the shouting feeling is okay. All of it.


FTC Advisory: Harper Collins provided me with a copy of Cut Both Ways.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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