Odd One Out

320p. Crown. Oct. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781101939536. POP
Gr 9 Up—This sophomore novel by the author of Dear Martin is something completely different. Coop has been in love with his best friend, Jupiter, for as long as he can remember. He knows his love will never be returned because Jupiter is only attracted to girls. Rae is new in town and fits into "Jupe & Coop's" orbit very comfortably. Slowly, Rae begins to recognize that she is attracted to them both. This is the setup for the love triangle book that teen fiction has needed for a long time. While ethnicity and race are built into the intersectional storytelling, this title has more of a focus on the LGBTQ+ experience. Many young readers will identify with the feelings explored: the differences between romantic love and physical love, the difficulties associated with testing the boundaries of one's own sexuality with someone who is sure of theirs, and love beyond the binary. The subject matter is handled sensitively and thoughtfully. The novel's three perspectives are provided consecutively rather than the traditional alternating structure. The consequence of this is that one loses the access to the interior monologues of characters as the story progresses, which creates gaps in the telling. Nevertheless, this is an excellent choice.
VERDICT An important and necessary love story for YA that will fill a gap in collections.

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