Jay’s Gay Agenda is a celebratory and joyful queer coming-of-age story

Jay's Gay Agenda by Jason June. Image courtesy SparkPoint Studio
Jay's Gay Agenda by Jason June. Image courtesy SparkPoint Studio /

While there are a huge number of queer narratives focused on coming out as the central conflict, it’s harder to point to stories that focus on the immediate aftermath of the joy, confusion, and anxiety of being out.

Jay’s Gay Agenda by Jason June does just that, following list and data-obsessed teen Jay Collier’s quest to live out and proud.

Shortly after coming out and being known as The Only One in his small, rural Washington town, Jay’s family moves to Seattle, giving him the chance to live out his gayest dreams possible in a big city with a thriving queer community.

The only catch is, he has to leave behind the person who matters most to him, his best friend, Lu, whose own life seems to be falling apart just as Jay’s life is coming together.

But Jay has a plan thanks to the Gay Agenda, a meticulous list of “firsts” to strive for, ranging from the more innocent items like, “Meet another gay kid,” to the more hormonal, “See another penis besides my own, IRL, and do fun things with it!”

Of course, despite Jay’s best efforts, things rarely go according to plan in real life, and things get very messy when two different VSB’s (Very Sexy Boys) collide, forcing Jay to choose his heart or his…other heart.

The novel handles multiple issues deftly, including the complex relationship between gay men and their straight female best friends, class dynamics, breakups, pronouns and identity, and more without any of it ever feeling preachy or heavy-handed.

Not for nothing, Jay’s Gay Agenda is also incredibly sex-positive, something that young adult literature, particularly queer young adult literature, needs more of. Readers looking for candid and honest discussions of queer sex and sexuality need look no further.

On the whole, Jason June’s voice is sweet, raw, and laugh-out-loud funny, each page brimming with jokes and puns, but also with sincerity and emotion. Jay’s Gay Agenda sweetly captures the unbridled enthusiasm of living authentically and all the messiness that can come along with it.

Readers of all ages will appreciate Jason June’s lovely and smart voice and the tender story he’s crafted about firsts and being true to yourself, arriving on shelves just in time for Pride Month. You can get your copy now wherever books are sold.

No one owes you their coming out, not even famous authors. dark. Next