Antisocial, by Heidi Cullinan | [ARC] Book Review #238

A huge thank you to Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) via Netgalley for allowing me to read this view in exchange for an honest review.

This review will more than likely contain spoilers. 

Book Review


A single stroke can change your world.

Xander Fairchild can’t stand people in general and frat boys in particular, so when he’s forced to spend his summer working on his senior project with Skylar Stone, a silver-tongued Delta Sig with a trust fund who wants to make Xander over into a shiny new image, Xander is determined to resist. He came to idyllic, Japanese culture-soaked Benten College to hide and make manga, not to be transformed into a corporate clone in the eleventh hour.

Skylar’s life has been laid out for him since before he was born, but all it takes is one look at Xander’s artwork, and the veneer around him begins to crack. Xander himself does plenty of damage too. There’s something about the antisocial artist’s refusal to yield that forces Skylar to acknowledge how much his own orchestrated future is killing him slowly…as is the truth about his gray-spectrum sexuality, which he hasn’t dared to speak aloud, even to himself.

Through a summer of art and friendship, Xander and Skylar learn more about each other, themselves, and their feelings for one another. But as their senior year begins, they must decide if they will part ways and return to the dull futures they had planned, or if they will take a risk and leap into a brightly colored future—together.

Xander and Skylar are now some of my favourite characters. I loved reading about them and getting to know them as only a reader could. Having read their story, I can honestly say that Antisocial has become one of my favourite novels.

To be quite honest with you, I was drawn to Antisocial because of the cover. I thought that there might have been some manga panels within the book, and I was curious to see it I was right. I wasn’t–thankfully. Another thing that drew me into checking out Antisocial was the mention of had to give this book a go. I’m so glad that I did!

Within Antisocial there are two points of view; Xander, and Skylar.

Xander is a artist in his early twenties, and he mostly keeps to himself most of the time.

Skylar is friendly and outgoing. Skylar is actually one of the few characters that are hard for me to describe; because how do you describe someone who is similar to yourself?

There isn’t much that I don’t like about the book, except the obviously rude characters. The ones that don’t care at all about some characters.

The rest of the book, however, is amazing, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love Antisocial.

Here are the things that I love about Antisocial:

There’s some vulgarity in this book (swearing/cursing), which I loved. I love that the expressions and such were accurate and used in the right context.

Halfway into the book I did the unexpected: I laughed. Laughing unexpectedly is always a great experience while you read a book.

There’s a lot of talk of consent in this book, which is a huge thing in general. I feel like not enough books talk about consent, and this needs to be seen more and more in books. Seriously, consent is so important and I rarely see talk about consent these days in the media.

There’s a non-binary person in this book and I love them! They’re such a great person. I love that this character was such a stickler. They acted like a protective guardian towards one character, and were then wary and guarded against another character. And then this character took another character for a drive and they opened up to one another and came back and they were friends. I just have so much love and respect for this character.

The romance is another thing that I didn’t really expect since I didn’t read too far into the synopsis for this book; aka, I didn’t really care that it was a Romance and pushed that out of my mind. That said, I love, love, love the romance in this novel. The romance is a  enemy-turned-friends-turned-lovers, and its a slow burn romance at that *heart-eyes*. A+ on the romance, Cullinan!

Another thing that I absolutely loved reading about in Antisocial is the friendship that the two main characters have with the other characters. Zelda and Xander: great friendship. Unc/Jeff and Skylar have a great friendship as well. I could tell that it was a little rocky in the beginning. The fact that Jeff went out of his own way to make sure that Skylar was a good place when he needed to be, though? Gah. I LOVE THE FRIENDSHIPS. FRIENDSHIPS FOR EVERYONE!!!

The story line grows so much in this novel; it’s actually pretty crazy. I thought that maybe at one point the story had maybe flipped over to another book but it didn’t and wow. I thought that maybe Antisocial would be the kind of book that went “to get to point ‘b’ you have to get through point ‘a’.” Instead the book and story line goes in a few different ways while still maintaining what the synopsis led on about. And by the end of Antisocial everything was wrapped up as well — which is just mind boggling.

There is so much character growth. In everyone. There’s just so much that happens and everyone grows with each other, and yet they grow in their each individual ways. A++.

I love Pamela. I thought that maybe I wouldn’t like her, but by the end of the book I wrote down in my notes that old ladies are the best. And in this book, they are.

What I love most though, is that we get to see Xander and Skylar be vulnerable. Whether they’re being vulnerable with each other, or someone else, we see it happening, and the person they’re being vulnerable with isn’t mocking them.

I love that we got to see the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful with Xander and Skylar. And they are. Beautiful, I mean. Xander and Skylar are beautiful characters. I wish they were real so I could be best friends with them.

Everything about this book felt so real to me. None of it felt fake or used up. By the end of my reading Antisocial, I realized how humbled I was by Skylar and Xander. Their story is just so freaking heartwarming.

I gave Antisocial, 5 of 5 stars on Goodreads.

Antisocial is a little long in length, but so worth the read.

3 thoughts on “Antisocial, by Heidi Cullinan | [ARC] Book Review #238

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