01 Aug / All Kinds of Other by James Sie [in Booklist]
James Sie (Still Life Las Vegas) multitasks as author and partial narrator in his first YA novel: the theme might seem common – a high school love story complicated by parents and friends – but the narrative’s specifics elevate the familiar into memorable. Sie gamely embodies Jules, the white, cis, only child of divorced parents who’s starting yet another new school. On the afternoon he’s decided to come out as gay to his friends, he fleetingly locks eyes with a new kid.
Jack is temporarily transplanted from Pittsburgh to LA, accompanying his wannabe-thespian, dream-chasing father. Dad is white-passing, but Jack resembles his Indian American mother; he’s also trans. He’d hoped to be stealth, but his vlogging past as half of “Adam and Evie” outs him, impeding a potential relationship with Jules. Meanwhile, Jack’s longing for elusive-for-good-reason Evie only grows.
South Asian American actor Shaan Desani as Jack and Emmy-nominated actor Rain Valdez as Evie make their fabulous and authentic audiobook debuts; Valdez might have the shortest airtime, but she proves to be a spectacular gift to lucky readers.
Review: “Media,” Booklist, July 2021
Readers: Young Adult