We Contain Multitudes

400p. Little, Brown. May 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316524650.
Gr 9 Up—Henstra's follow-up to Mad Miss Mimic will give romantic and cerebral teens good reason to suspend disbelief. High school sophomore Jonathan and senior Adam are assigned to be correspondents by their English teacher, and it is the ensuing flood of letters that form both the novel and readers' perspective on their evolving relationship. Jonathan is an openly gay kid who models his wardrobe and his language after his literary hero Walt Whitman, while Adam is a private former football star reputed to take no prisoners in fistfights. As their exchange of thoughts and questions develops, however, the two boys discover how much they have in common and how fully the other one brings him into a more complete life and way to consider personal and public options for action. While the extent of the epistolary conceit might beg credulity, plenty of other details here are realistic: the two boys' different but equally troubled families, the important roles siblings play in forming and maintaining one's own identity, and the difficulties inherent in hammering out a healthy, loving relationship among these.
VERDICT Teen readers can take heart from Jonathan and Adam's story, especially if they care about Walt Whitman as a gay icon.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing