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.
Cut Both WaysFeatured
The protagonist, Will, is not the greatest friend. He ends up dating his best friend, Angus, and a girl from school, Brandy. Angus and Brandy go to different schools and live in different towns - Will travels between them as he spends time with his divorced parents. Will knows he's doing something wrong. He very much knows that he's messing up by being with both of them. But he also knows that he doesn't want to choose, and while his feelings for Angus are incredibly confusing, he doesn't want to hold back. And so he doesn't - Will is full of so much feeling for both Angus and Brandy, not to mention his relationships with his parents, that the book was practically dripping with emotion.
CUT BOTH WAYS has the most honest, realistic, and sad ending to a YA book I've ever read. Mesrobian's writing is so powerful that when it was over, when I turned the last page and then closed the book, I physically hurt with feeling. My chest ached with compassion for Will, and with a tainted hope for his open-ended future.
I highly recommend CUT BOTH WAYS to adult and teen readers. Every library should have a copy - you need to have this book for teens who are questioning their own sexuality and decisions in life.