Ben Brennan, is 17, gay, and happy most of the time. He’s finished school and is on track to a great career – all that’s missing is falling in love. Can Ben navigate the pitfalls of modern gay dating, with all its expectations, and be true to himself?
When Ireland voted to let gay people get married, my stepdad hugged me and said,
‘Your turn next, Ben! Get yourself a boyfriend. Make us proud.’
So I decided to try.
Ben is 17, gay, and happy most of the time. He’s finished school and is on track to a great career – all that’s missing is falling in love. Romantic but a little naïve, Ben meets Peter online. But the guy of his dreams is still in the closet, his pal Soda is suddenly more interested in nights in than nights out, and his old school bully seems determined to ruin his life. Then, on top of everything else, his best friend, Chelsea, goes AWOL – just when he needs her most.
Everything is changing and Ben’s not sure what to do. But change brings all kinds of possibilities. You just have to be ready to see them.
Can Ben navigate the pitfalls of modern gay dating, with all its highly sexualised expectations, and be true to himself?
A great coming of age queer YA that had me smiling all the way through
An important addition to the LGBTQ canon and a tender, poignant love story, What Love Looks Like paints a vivid picture of what it feels like to come-of-age as a young, gay person in todays’ Ireland. Bens’ life is filled with an array of people from varied backgrounds, bringing a broad diversity and experience to the story and shows them off with reality…warts and all. This allows the reader to get a strong sense of the reality of Bens’ life. It reads as a genuine experience; Ben reads as a real person and the story is totally believable from start to finish. There are discomforting moments as the tale deals with issues of homophobia, bullying and social stereo-typing. But all in all it is a touching romance, exploring a wider view of what love actually looks like, gender identity, how families differ from one another and how they are built. Raw, fresh and intriguing, What Love Looks Like is also, funny, moving and true. (Please note: this book is definitely for older readers
One book cannot be all things to all people. It can’t represent everyone,” Gregory points out, but while presenting a picture of the ordinariness of some LGBTQ lives, his book, released next month, does a pretty good job of representing the rainbow spectrum of gay and trans diversity to a young adult readership
Profoundly politically and socially engaged - the various ills of Dublin, including homelessness and racism, are woven into the story - without being heavy-handed. Space is made for queer subcultures (and their importance) without this being the defining factor in someone’s life. Ben enjoys cheering on his best mate’s drag performances. He’s also a kind and compassionate trainee teacher. The plot is deftly calibrated to incorporate other pieces of LGBTQ-related legislation passed that year, with the book serving as a time capsule. This big-hearted novel isn’t just about love but about what hope looks like. A must-read
There is plenty to like about this book; it’s highly readable and a welcome addition to Irish YA
Set in modern Ireland, this a confident YA LGBTQ+ tale...Think Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda that takes place in post #marref
Wonderful ... valuable addition to the LGBTQ canon; a tender, funny, uplifting romance, with a rich cast …Entertaining and important, Gregory’s novel explores a broad view of what diversity and love in all its guises really looks like
Gregory’s novel is full of wit, charm, and honesty with a sneak peek into the fabulously nitty gritty backstage reality of Ireland’s drag scene … Ben’s teenage angst is entirely relatable to everyone and anyone yet, this protagonist has wisdom beyond his years. What Love Looks Like is much more than a coming-of-age novel. It is a celebration of family, friendship, and young love. Recommended for young adults.
a realistic and optimistic picture of life for Irish teenagers exploring their sexuality
Meet Ben, seventeen, gay and looking for love. Refreshingly honest, yet sometimes naïve, Ben has everything mapped out – teacher training awaits, family life is good. His best friends, Chelsea and Soda, bring advice and life tips on the joys and perils of love with their own compelling stories in contemporary Dublin’s LGBTQ+ community. Navigating bullying, anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment and the North/South view of ‘coming out’ in Ireland, Gregory gives a realistic and optimistic picture of life for Irish teenagers exploring their sexuality.