Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins
Available May 2, 2023
During a Spring Break visit with her slightly distant best friend, introspective Imogen’s emersion in college life is complete—first proper party, first drink, first made up queer relationship. But Imogen is the best ally, and doesn’t hesitate to support Lili in any way she needs, even as a faux backstory. As she gets to know and like Lili’s friend group, especially cute and flirty Tessa, the lie weighs on her conscience as an appropriation. But maybe she’s comfortable in the role of bisexual because she’s more than just an ally?
In a very personal exploration of the “ways” to be queer, Becky Albertalli makes space for readers sure of their identity and those still figuring themselves out. Her author’s note shares her own “queer awakening,” that like Imogen’s, moves from very-straight-woman-allyship, to a slow connect the dots of experiences that helped her make sense of her feelings and her identity. The narrative centers Imogen’s experience and emotions as she reconnects with Lili, makes new friends, and loses old ones in her self-discovery. At the same time, a well-developed cast of secondary characters creates an ensemble cast feeling, their clever and fast-paced dialog bringing the college campus and relationships to life. Themes of friendship, gatekeeping, and identity are woven throughout the thoughtful and often sharply funny text that is as much coming out story as growing up story.