The Insiders

Harper/Harper Collins/. Sept. 2021. 384p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780063008106.
Gr 4-6– Oshiro’s middle grade debut follows a young Latinx boy, Héctor Muños, as he starts a new school in an unfamiliar town. Back in San Francisco, Héctor’s personality, style, and sexuality weren’t an issue with his classmates. In Orangevale, however, Héctor, who is gay, quickly becomes the victim of a particularly aggressive bully. Luckily for Héctor, a magical door appears exactly when he needs it most. Héctor discovers a secret room that caters to his needs and comfort. On subsequent visits to the room he discovers that two other tweens are also there: Juliana, who is Black and Chinese, and Sal, who is white and Filipino and uses they/them pronouns. Héctor, Juliana, and Sal all have deeply personal problems to solve, and while the mysterious room is never fully explained, it’s clear that it exists to bring the tweens together—across time and space—to learn from and help one another. Oshiro uses a diverse cast to demonstrate many positive ideals regarding race, family, friendship, gender, and sexuality. While the ending is a bit pat, the overall themes of love and acceptance are bright and encouraging—readers will wish they had a mystical door to spirit them away from their troubles.
VERDICT Many readers will find resonance in this magical tale. Recommended as a general purchase.

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