This month’s book club pick is Becky Albertalli’s Love, Creekwood. Released in the same month (Pride Month June 2020) was Hulu’s Love, Victor, a 10 episode spin-off series of the film Love, Simon.
The series is created by Love, Simon scriptwriters Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger. Love, Simon was criticised for its very white and privileged, upper middle-class, coming-out-story. The creators have attempted to correct this with the focus on Latinx teenager with conservative working-class parents.
Michael Cimino stars a Victor Salazar, a half Puerto Rican and half Columbian teenager who moves to Atlanta from Texas with his family.
Unlike Simon, Victor lives in a modest apartment with his working-class religious parents Isabel and Armando (Ana Oritz and James Martinez), and younger siblings Pilar (Isabella Ferreira) and Adrian (Mateo Fernandez).
Ortiz not surprisingly is the standout of the cast. It is good to see the characters of Victor’s parents more developed than the parents in Love, Simon.
As soon as the Salazar family arrive they meet socially awkward neighbour and fellow Creekwood High student Felix Weston (Anthony Turpel). Felix is definitely my favourite character.
Victor finds himself drawn both to popular Creekwood High student Mia Brooks (Rachel Hilson) and openly gay coffee shop co-worker Benji Campbell (George Sear).
Victor questioning his sexuality reaches out to Simon Spier (from Love, Simon) via Instagram DM. Nick Robinson reprises his role narrating the messages to Victor. He also makes a guest appearance towards the end of the series. Keiynan Lonsdale also reprises his role as Bram.
Natasha Rothwell, who played drama teacher Ms. Albright in the film is now Vice Principal, but disappointingly only appears in the first episode. Comedienne Ali Wong fills the comic relief teacher void playing sex education teacher Ms. Thomas.
The core cast is rounded out with Mia’s social media obsessed friend Lake Meriwether (Bebe Wood) and arrogant bully jock Andrew (Mason Gooding).
The series is charming, but unfortunately like Love, Simon it is rather safe in its LGBTQ+ portrayal. It has been renewed for a second season, so hopefully next season it will push the envelope further.