The book has been a critical success, with a Publishers Weekly review calling it "a tender, honest exploration of identity and sexuality, and a passionate reminder that love—whether romantic or familial—should be open, free, and without shame". The book has won numerous awards, including the Lambda Literary Award and Stonewall Book Award for LGBT fiction, an Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award honor, Pura Belpré Narrative Medal for Latino fiction, and Michael L. Printz Award honor for Young Adult fiction. The book has been positively received by readers as well; in May 2016, more than four years after its publication, it ranked first on a list of popular LGBT fiction on Goodreads.
In an interview with NPR, Sáenz himself noted that "I've never had a book with this kind of response, not ever" and notes that "[Ari] is so afraid of loving [Dante]. And Dante isn't."
There are plans for the book to be adapted for the screen by filmmaker Henry Alberto.