Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall
Summary: Gideon always has a plan. His plans include running for class president, becoming head of the yearbook committee, and having his choice of colleges. They do NOT include falling head over heels for his best friend and next door neighbor, Kyle. It’s a distraction. It’s pointless, as Kyle is already dating the gorgeous and popular head cheerleader, Ruby. And Gideon doesn’t know what to do.
Kyle finally feels like he has a handle on life. He has a wonderful girlfriend, a best friend willing to debate the finer points of Lord of the Rings, and social acceptance as captain of the basketball team. Then, both Ruby and Gideon start acting really weird, just as his spot on the team is threatened, and Kyle can’t quite figure out what he did wrong…
Reading this book is like being snuggled by a kitten. An adorable kitten. It’s the kind of book that you want to hug to your chest and feel the feels and then reread your favorite parts that make you a little teary but also make you sign with happiness.
What made me interested in this book initially was the story of how the author came to the premise: her editor challenged her to write something based on an amazing fan-made video of Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” featuring two teenage boys. If you can watch that video and not want to read a story based on it, then you might not have a heart, FYI.
And man, does Sandy Hall deliver on the premise. Gideon and Kyle have been best friends since they were little. Kyle is bi, and dating a girl. Gideon has never thought about his sexuality. Until he realizes that he is gay. And in love with Kyle. Hall weaves the story from both boy’s points of view, along with that of Kyle’s girlfriend Ruby and Gideon’s brother Ezra. While the realities of homophobia and bullying play a part, this is decidedly not an “issues” book. For most of the people in Gideon and Kyle’s world, their sexuality is a no big deal. The challenges they face in their relationship are just like those of other couples – their own insecurities and pride get in the way, and they have to relearn how to trust each other. This is a sweet, wonderful romance story full of characters you will want to hang out with, perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Natalie Blitt.