Lost in last fall's book crush was Alvin Orloff's delightful third novel Why Aren't You Smiling? [Kindle] which charmed me even though it's about the 14 year-old emerging gay dweeb Leonard, the good son of atheists, and his wayward relationship with a hot Jesus Freak named "Rick" (formerly Irving Mandelbaum). Except for the Reagan-era coda, the book takes place in California in the 1970s when religion was barefoot and stringy haired and happened in places like "Christ's Crash Pad." Funny novels never get the credit they deserve for being serious, and this one has an especially tender affection for its searching souls and benignly ridiculous era. It's also smart about families, biological or otherwise.
The book is nicely blurbed by Daniel Handler, Karl Soehnlein, and Kevin Killian who says the novel "enacts, in hilariously satiric terms, something of love’s pull on us, a love that surprises and delights even when it’s almost more absurd than we can stand."