Imogen, Obviously

HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. May 2023. 432p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063325265.
Gr 9 Up–Imogen Scott is many things—animal lover, vision board expert, future Blackwell College student, and an amazing ally to the queer community. But Imogen herself is totally, completely straight—obviously. When Imogen spends a weekend at Blackwell with her best friend, Lili, who recently came out as pansexual, and all of Lili’s amazing new friends (who also happen to be queer), things start to become a little less obvious. As Imogen participates in an array of typical college student activities, like eating the best dining hall grilled cheese, thrifting outfits for theme parties, and hiding weird objects in someone’s dorm room, she quickly hits it off with Lili’s friend Tess—but Imogen is straight, so they’re obviously just friends. Imogen continues talking to Tessa after going home, though, and it starts to feel like more than friendship. Imogen has always liked boys and always identified as straight. So, is it even possible that Imogen isn’t so straight after all? The plot of this novel is well-paced and entertaining, but the characterizations are where the story truly shines. The secondary characters are fleshed out, fully formed individuals with diverse queer and racial identities, and the relationships, even amongst new friends, are full of humor and compassion. Imogen, who is white, is a complex character with a distinct voice, and her story of grappling with her identity during this transitional period of life will resonate with teens.
VERDICT An excellent addition to collections for teens; hand to readers who love found-family stories and fans of Racquel Marie’s Ophelia After All and Jennifer Dugan’s Hot Dog Girl.

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