"Sometimes I think it would be easier to just not exist, or at least to just be straight. Why do I have to be gay? F**king hell."
It's 2005 in Sweden's most boring town. Mattias is fifteen, a bit of a slob, a loner and gay. Though he's never told anyone he likes guys, the rumors are flying and he's sick of feeling like the school fag. A queer. Home life isn't much help. Mom is a bitch. Dad is sad. Sister is the favorite. After he comes out to his super religious best friend and prettiest girl in school, Tove, everything changes.
For Mattias, life goes rainbows when a handsome stranger opens the door to a glamorous apartment and an eye-opening world of cool friends and thrilling new experiences. First kiss. First love. First Pride. His previously boring small town existence becomes exciting, electric and full of possibilities.
Yet while it gets better for Mattias, life takes a turn for the worse in the seemingly perfect world of his friend Tove. After a naive act of kindness violently backfires, she questions her faith. Deeply ashamed, Tove spirals into depression, panicking her friends and spurring Mattias to action.
Together, this most mis-matched pair of middle school friends-"Beauty & The Beast," as Mattias calls them-share a heart-wrenching year in which both experience the pain and joy that are inextricably intertwined in trust, truth, love and above all, friendship.
English speaking readers will enjoy this look into Swedish teen life and fun customs like "fika," "Chiquita pizza," and "schlager music" which are handily explained in the included glossary.