The Moon Within
Celi Rivera's life swirls with questions. About her changing body. Her first attraction to a boy. And her best friend's exploration of what it means to be genderfluid.But most of all, her mother's insistence she have a moon ceremony when her first period arrives. It's an ancestral Mexica ritual that Mima and her community have reclaimed, but Celi promises she will NOT be participating. Can she find the power within herself to take a stand for who she wants to be?A dazzling story told with the sensitivity, humor, and brilliant verse of debut talent Aida Salazar.

The Moon Within Details

TitleThe Moon Within
Author
ReleaseFeb 26th, 2019
PublisherArthur A. Levine Books
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Poetry, Lgbt, Contemporary, Fiction, Family, Realistic Fiction, Glbt, Queer, Cultural

The Moon Within Review

  • David
    January 1, 1970
    A beautiful, touching, powerful, important novel in verse! As the parent of a queer daughter who struggled with her own physical transformation, I would have loved to have had this book for her. Parents, young girls, and xochihuah everywhere are going to benefit from Aida's moving exploration of difficult but transcendent coming-of-age.
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  • Yamile Méndez
    January 1, 1970
    I had the privilege of reading this story still in manuscript form and I’m overcome by admiration, love, and Hope. This is such a needed story that will bless kids’ lives forever. I love it and I can’t wait for it to be out in the world! 💕💕💕
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  • Alicia (A Kernel of Nonsense)
    January 1, 1970
    **I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher which does not influence my review**The Moon Within, Aida Salazar’s middle grade debut, is a novel I wish I could gift my eleven-year-old self. Celi is on the brink of turning twelve and she, along with the world around her, is changing faster than she can keep track of. Her body is already changing and with it, the promise of a period. Not something she is looking forward to, especially with her mom’s recent interest in their Mexica herit **I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher which does not influence my review**The Moon Within, Aida Salazar’s middle grade debut, is a novel I wish I could gift my eleven-year-old self. Celi is on the brink of turning twelve and she, along with the world around her, is changing faster than she can keep track of. Her body is already changing and with it, the promise of a period. Not something she is looking forward to, especially with her mom’s recent interest in their Mexica heritage. For Celi, this means a moon ceremony to celebrate her transition from girl to young woman, but Celi isn’t happy about having to share the things happening to her body with other people. Celi also finds herself torn between her best friend Marco, who is taking his first steps discovering what it means to be genderfluid, and her first crush Iván, who’s finally showing interest in her, but who is also less accepting of her best friend. Celi must find a way to navigate all the changing relationships in her life without sacrificing who she is and who she wants to be.The Moon Within is an honest portrayal of how many young people feel about the changes their bodies go through. Celi’s first instinct when it comes to her first bra and her first period is to hide, to feel shame in the way her body now works. What Celi doesn’t quite understand yet is that her mother’s insistence on a moon ceremony, an Indigenous tradition meant to celebrate and honor the menstrual cycle, is her gift to her daughter. It’s a gift that says you don’t have to be ashamed. It’s one where the relationship between mother and daughter is defined by frankness and an openness that doesn’t leave Celi with all the unanswered questions her mother was left with...Read my full review on my blog here.
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  • Rachel Rickard
    January 1, 1970
    There is so much to love about this coming-of-age verse novel, including its excellent author’s note that calls readers to thoughtfully engage with the book’s subject matter. Though I found some poems to be less effective than others, The Moon Within is, as a whole, beautifully written, and I was especially impressed by the ways in which Salazar writes about colonialism and reclamation of indigenous rituals and beliefs for a middle grade audience. This book trusts child readers so much, and that There is so much to love about this coming-of-age verse novel, including its excellent author’s note that calls readers to thoughtfully engage with the book’s subject matter. Though I found some poems to be less effective than others, The Moon Within is, as a whole, beautifully written, and I was especially impressed by the ways in which Salazar writes about colonialism and reclamation of indigenous rituals and beliefs for a middle grade audience. This book trusts child readers so much, and that’s something I can always get behind.
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  • Adriana (SaltyBadgerBooks)
    January 1, 1970
    This was such a great book in body, self love, friendship, family, community, and acceptance. There is so much to say and learn from this book! It's written in verse making it a fast read, but it was amazing. The way she describes the dancing and music, to the way she taps into Celi's inner conflicts.
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  • Carolina
    January 1, 1970
    this was so stunning, i could cry. this is the book i needed as a preteen.actual rating: 4.5/5 stars
  • Kathie
    January 1, 1970
    ALL THE STARS!!!! Thank you to the author and the publisher for sending me an ARC of this book. It was one of my most anticipated middle grade books of 2019, and although its early in the year, I have a hard time believing it won't be on a list of my very favorites at the end of the year.Celi is at the age where her body is starting to develop into that of a young woman. Her mother is so excited about these changes, and proudly points them out to the family, but Celi is mortified. She wants noth ALL THE STARS!!!! Thank you to the author and the publisher for sending me an ARC of this book. It was one of my most anticipated middle grade books of 2019, and although its early in the year, I have a hard time believing it won't be on a list of my very favorites at the end of the year.Celi is at the age where her body is starting to develop into that of a young woman. Her mother is so excited about these changes, and proudly points them out to the family, but Celi is mortified. She wants nothing to do with the ancient Mexica moon ceremony that her mother wants to plan when she gets her first period. She only wants to dance while her best friend, Magda, drums beside her, and put off the inevitable as long as possible. But changes are happening whether she likes it or not, and they include attention from a boy, and her relationship with her best friend. Celi is faced with choices that have an impact on life as she knows it, and how she wants to move into a new phase of life.I truly, madly, deeply loved this book. I loved the subject matter, the discussion surrounding periods, moon ceremonies, reclaiming rites of passage, and honoring transitions. I deeply felt a connection to this part of the story, and wished every young girl had the opportunity to feel as cherished and proud of her body as Celi's mother tried to encourage her to be. This book also delves into gender identity, and I was so inspired to hear about xochihuah and the hope that it can offer individuals who need the sacred respect it's shown in this book. I am so grateful to the author for her courage to tell the story, to show us how community and family can be supportive of a young person's struggle to come to terms with who they are, and what they believe.I will absolutely be purchasing a copy of this book for my library, and I sincerely hope that as many of you as possible will make an effort to read, share and discuss this book with young people in your lives.
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  • Deanna
    January 1, 1970
    2019, Realistic, verse novel, coming of age, familyCeli's body is changing and her mother celebrates these changes even tho Celi is embarrassed about them. She is wearing a bra, growing hair in different places and is waiting to get her period (reminds me of Judy Blume's books from my childhood). I had never compared (or thought) about the moon cycle and a female cycle. Celi has her first boy crush and like any tween wants to have more access to technology (I love that Celi's parents hide the ta 2019, Realistic, verse novel, coming of age, familyCeli's body is changing and her mother celebrates these changes even tho Celi is embarrassed about them. She is wearing a bra, growing hair in different places and is waiting to get her period (reminds me of Judy Blume's books from my childhood). I had never compared (or thought) about the moon cycle and a female cycle. Celi has her first boy crush and like any tween wants to have more access to technology (I love that Celi's parents hide the tablet). As a mom of a 11-year-old I laughed and connected to many parts of this verse novel and am very excited to give this book to my daughter to read so that we can talk about her own changing body.
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  • NoNieqa Ramos
    January 1, 1970
    A sacred celebratory text that grants every child the right to safe passage in their journey of self discovery. The ancestors smile on this work. Buying a class set ASAP.
  • Jenna (Falling Letters)
    January 1, 1970
    Review originally published 12 February 2019 at Falling Letters.The Moon Within establishes on page one what kind of story its telling. In some ways, it’s a middle grade story we haven’t heard so directly for many years (young girl dealing with her period and other changes). In other ways, it’s a middle grade story we’ve never heard (Black Puerto Rican-Mexica girl dancing bomba and participating in an indigenous moon ceremony). The Moon Within explores colonialism, menstruation (frankly but not Review originally published 12 February 2019 at Falling Letters.The Moon Within establishes on page one what kind of story its telling. In some ways, it’s a middle grade story we haven’t heard so directly for many years (young girl dealing with her period and other changes). In other ways, it’s a middle grade story we’ve never heard (Black Puerto Rican-Mexica girl dancing bomba and participating in an indigenous moon ceremony). The Moon Within explores colonialism, menstruation (frankly but not graphically discussed), reclaiming heritage, first crushes, gender identity, and friendship all in a way that’s highly accessible to middle grade readers.Salazar navigates and relates each of these topics without overwhelming or preaching to the reader. The choice to write this novel in verse likely helps to keep it from becoming too dense. I admit I haven’t read a verse novel in probably 12 years (not since I was flipping through my friend’s copies of Ellen Hopkins). I am a prose reader through and through. But Salazar establishes a clear voice for Celi. She writes the first-person narrative voice of a middle grade protagonist, with poetics that don’t obscure. I wonder now if all middle grade verse novels have such defined characters and engaging narratives! I suspect The Moon Within is an exemplar of the form.One of my favourite parts of the story is Celi’s friendship with her best friend Magda, who comes out as genderfluid halfway through the book and then identifies as a boy named Marco. (view spoiler)[Celi learns about this when she and her mother are invited to Magda’s house and Magda’s mother holds a ceremony acknowledging Magda’s identity as a xochihuah, ‘one who bears flowers’. Celi is surprised but supportive at first – until her crush on Ivan, who isn’t that nice, leads her to damage her friendship with Marco. This was personally infuriating for me to read about, but realistically done and I celebrated when Celi fixed her mistake. Marco’s body isn’t changing at the same rate as Celi, but he is celebrated equally alongside Celi in the moon ceremony. I would love to read a companion novel about Marco. (hide spoiler)]My Personal ResponseWhen I was 11, I am pretty sure my main concern was roleplaying on the Neopets message board. I was not thinking about my body changing or my feelings about boys. If you had given me this story when I was in grade five, I wouldn’t have understood it at all. (Although I at least would have related with Celi wanting to keep her body private.) At first, I was uncomfortable with how Celi’s mother pushes her beliefs about menstruation and the moon ceremony onto Celi, but over the course of the novel, her good reasons for doing so become clear and she does give Celi the room to make her own decision.The Bottom LineAs a novel in verse, The Moon Within is a wonderful option for readers as a nuanced and full narrative without the weight of a novel behind it. Of course, it could also be an especially important read for children experiences changes to their body or their gender.
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  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARC from Edelweiss PlusIn this novel in verse, we hear Celi's thoughts as she navigates her life in Oakland, California. Her close knit family watches her closely, and her Mima (mother) is sure that Celi will soon require a "moon ceremony" as puberty descends. Celi doesn't want everyone to know this information about her, but her mother is insistent that her daughter not feel shame about her body in the way that she herself did, but instead embraces a version of an Aztec ceremony to celebrate. E ARC from Edelweiss PlusIn this novel in verse, we hear Celi's thoughts as she navigates her life in Oakland, California. Her close knit family watches her closely, and her Mima (mother) is sure that Celi will soon require a "moon ceremony" as puberty descends. Celi doesn't want everyone to know this information about her, but her mother is insistent that her daughter not feel shame about her body in the way that she herself did, but instead embraces a version of an Aztec ceremony to celebrate. Celi also has a crush on Ivan, whom she knows through her community center dancing classes, and she can't get enough privacy to contact him as she would like, since her parents only allow her to use a tablet once a week. Celi's best friend Magda is going through her own changes. Magda is transitioning to Marco, and luckily his parents are understanding of this and frame the change in a way that discusses different types of energy. Strengths: This was very on-trend in its treatment of gender-expansion, feminist philosophy, and cultural identity while also addressing universal tween issues with parents, friends, crushes, and the changes of adolescence.Weaknesses: While it's great that this has a lot of Spanish language vocabulary and different types of dancing, etc., my students are unfamiliar with most of these and probably would benefit from a glossary or more explanation within the text. What I really think: Think of this as a "woke", in verse version of Are You There God, It's Me Margaret. Since I am old enough that I still believe that discussing MANY different topics outside of immediate family, and then in hushed tones, is inappropriate, I am not going to attempt to opine. Novels in verse do not circulate well in my library, so I will probably pass on purchasing.
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  • Tasha
    January 1, 1970
    Celi loves to dance, especially when her best friend is drumming. She’s danced since she was a toddler, but now everything else seems to be changing. Her body is changing into a woman’s body. She has a crush on a boy. She has to figure out how to support her best friend being genderfluid. Meanwhile, her mother is pressuring her to have a moon ceremony when Celi gets her first period. Celi can’t imagine anything more embarrassing. Celi has some difficult decisions to make, and she makes mistakes Celi loves to dance, especially when her best friend is drumming. She’s danced since she was a toddler, but now everything else seems to be changing. Her body is changing into a woman’s body. She has a crush on a boy. She has to figure out how to support her best friend being genderfluid. Meanwhile, her mother is pressuring her to have a moon ceremony when Celi gets her first period. Celi can’t imagine anything more embarrassing. Celi has some difficult decisions to make, and she makes mistakes along the way. As Celi pushes people she loves most away, she will need to figure out how to be the person she wants to be before she loses her best friend forever.Written in verse, this novel is dazzling. Salazar combines themes of feminism, connection to one’s culture, self expression, and gender fluidity into one amazing novel. Her verse is well written and just right for young readers without being overly simplistic. Comparisons to Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret are apt with its focus on menstruation and growing up as a young girl.Celi is a marvelous character. She is a character who makes mistakes that are bad enough that readers will get angry at her as she makes certain decisions in the novel. Still, she is always likable and the book shows the flawed reasons she has for making the choices she does. Celi’s connection to her mother is strained in most of the novel and one of the most important parts of the novel is when they finally start communicating and working together.A great verse novel for middle grade readers that takes classic themes and makes them fresh again. Appropriate for ages 9-12.
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    This middle grade novel in verse blew my mind a little. It's so beautifully body-positive and gender-expansive, which is a phrased used by the author that I've now adopted into my lexicon. The main character Celi is, with every fiber in her body, resisting her mom's insistence that Celi have a moon ceremony when her period arrives. Her mom is determined to celebrate her changing body, womanhood, and their indigenous Mexican heritage (Celi is bicultural: Puerto Rican/Mexican and multi-racial).Cel This middle grade novel in verse blew my mind a little. It's so beautifully body-positive and gender-expansive, which is a phrased used by the author that I've now adopted into my lexicon. The main character Celi is, with every fiber in her body, resisting her mom's insistence that Celi have a moon ceremony when her period arrives. Her mom is determined to celebrate her changing body, womanhood, and their indigenous Mexican heritage (Celi is bicultural: Puerto Rican/Mexican and multi-racial).Celi is also trying to figure out how she feels about Ivan, a boy she likes, but who has said mean, heteronormative things to Celi's best friend Magda who, over the course of the novel, becomes Marco. "Marco has Ometeotl energy/a person who inhabits two beings/the female and the male at once," explains Marco's mother. "Though we can't be certain how our/ancestors felt about people of two energies/because there is so much we don't know/so much we are still learning/as new Mexica, we regard it an honor/to be a reflection of the Creator."When I finished the novel, I wondered what it would have been like to have read this in middle school. It probably would have blown my mind then, too. Really lovely.
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  • Erica
    January 1, 1970
    I read the ARC on the airplane to Tokyo, and then left it at the SpaceHostelTokyo. The person who picked it up to read it was interested in reading about my home - the San Francisco Bay Area - he was a Japanese college student who worked at the hostel at the desk and also teaching language & sushi-making classes to guests. I wonder if the self-conscious discomfort that I felt reading about adolescents and creative/spiritual/hippie parents was actually about how parallel it felt to my own chi I read the ARC on the airplane to Tokyo, and then left it at the SpaceHostelTokyo. The person who picked it up to read it was interested in reading about my home - the San Francisco Bay Area - he was a Japanese college student who worked at the hostel at the desk and also teaching language & sushi-making classes to guests. I wonder if the self-conscious discomfort that I felt reading about adolescents and creative/spiritual/hippie parents was actually about how parallel it felt to my own childhood & adolescence in the 60s & 70s - and not because the book makes a reader feel self-conscious and uncomfortable...So I also wonder how it might be experienced by a Japanese male young adult! This is not really a review - it's more like a personal response...I wonder if young readers will be sorry that their own parents didn't make up transition ceremonies for them, or if they'll be inspired to either make up their own or at least inquire about their parents' own traditional life ceremonies.
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  • Carla
    January 1, 1970
    I was excited about this book when I read the blurb before I got an arc at NCTE conference and now after having read it, I must say I was impacted on so many levels. I started my teaching journey as a middle grade bilingual teacher with Latinx students and this is the book I’d teach now if I were still in the classroom. In other words, teachers get this book please for all students! I already started writing up ways to use the book with middle grade students! Personally, this hit me hard thinkin I was excited about this book when I read the blurb before I got an arc at NCTE conference and now after having read it, I must say I was impacted on so many levels. I started my teaching journey as a middle grade bilingual teacher with Latinx students and this is the book I’d teach now if I were still in the classroom. In other words, teachers get this book please for all students! I already started writing up ways to use the book with middle grade students! Personally, this hit me hard thinking about Celi’s relationship to her body, the role of family and knowledge from our ancestors, how Celi’s friend interprets their own identity, and the characters’ complex journeys. This is such a beautiful book. I know I’ll be returning to it several times. I’ve already begun sharing parts of it with teachers and family members. Soon can’t wait to get this book in the hands of students across my school visits! This book gave me hope and more ways to have critical and life-changing conversations with teachers and students.
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  • Kendra Felder
    January 1, 1970
    #kidlitexchange #partner Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for thereview copy of this book.-all opinions are my own.Celi Rivera’s a young girl who wants to keep all the questions she has about life to herself. She is not ready to grow up, yet her Mima insists on celebrating her impending journey into womanhood. As my first novel read in verse, I was surprised by how lovely this book flowed. This book perfectly captured a look at a twelve year old, discovering who she is. It is one every girl #kidlitexchange #partner Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for thereview copy of this book.-all opinions are my own.Celi Rivera’s a young girl who wants to keep all the questions she has about life to herself. She is not ready to grow up, yet her Mima insists on celebrating her impending journey into womanhood. As my first novel read in verse, I was surprised by how lovely this book flowed. This book perfectly captured a look at a twelve year old, discovering who she is. It is one every girl needs to read. A beautiful reflection of gender identity and friendships. A celebration of rituals. A celebration of heritage.This book, which releases February 26th, has an extremely bright future, much like the moon. 🌕 ❤️
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    Celi is an 11 year old girl approaching puberty and dealing with the idea of her pending menstruation, liking a boy for the first time and fumbling a bit in her friendship with her best friend who has just revealed her gender fluidity. Her mother is insistent that her first period is something to be celebrated, with a public ritual, and it should be no surprise to any female who has experienced her first period, Celi is embarrassed and doesn't want anyone to know about it. It's a novel in verse, Celi is an 11 year old girl approaching puberty and dealing with the idea of her pending menstruation, liking a boy for the first time and fumbling a bit in her friendship with her best friend who has just revealed her gender fluidity. Her mother is insistent that her first period is something to be celebrated, with a public ritual, and it should be no surprise to any female who has experienced her first period, Celi is embarrassed and doesn't want anyone to know about it. It's a novel in verse, so it reads quickly. There's are a lot of descriptions of cultural elements. Celi is Mexican, Puerto Rican and African and music and dance in particular play big roles in Celi's life. Review from galley.
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  • Mary Sanchez
    January 1, 1970
    Celi does not want a moon ceremony to celebrate her first menstrual period, but her mother insists because she was frighted by her experience and believes all girls should be proud of their womanhood. Besides, Celi's Aztec ancestors celebrated this ceremony and even acknowledged gender-expansive people like Celi's best friend Magda/Marco, who Celi defends from taunts by Ivan, a boy Celi likes. I particularly liked how Celi navigated between the present and her indigenous Aztec roots. Also, Celi' Celi does not want a moon ceremony to celebrate her first menstrual period, but her mother insists because she was frighted by her experience and believes all girls should be proud of their womanhood. Besides, Celi's Aztec ancestors celebrated this ceremony and even acknowledged gender-expansive people like Celi's best friend Magda/Marco, who Celi defends from taunts by Ivan, a boy Celi likes. I particularly liked how Celi navigated between the present and her indigenous Aztec roots. Also, Celi's mother and Magda/Marco's mom are dream mothers that every girl or boy would be blessed to have.
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  • Andrew
    January 1, 1970
    The Moon Within is a beautiful yet no-frills story that focuses on Celi's coming of age-- her first period, her first crush, and the traditions of her Indigenous (Aztec) ancestors that celebrate these changes. Another focus is Celi's best friend, Magda/Marco, who has realized he is transgender, and how that also relates to their heritage. The Moon Within is open and loving, while also not forgetting how embarrassing it is to grow up at times. A must-read regarding puberty and culture.
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  • A.E. Conran
    January 1, 1970
    The Moon Within is a much needed, beautifully and sensitively executed, game changer in children's fiction. This book is a gift. A call to embrace, talk about, learn about and celebrate periods, the growth of sexuality, sexual feelings and the myriad sensations and changes growing girls feel rather than treating these issues as taboo or shameful. Very powerful and much needed. Thank you Aida Salazar.
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    A bit hippy-dippy (even for me), but I appreciated the grappling with a genderqueer character.
  • Lonna Pierce
    January 1, 1970
    My Review to follow in School Library Connection...
  • Maggie Brewer
    January 1, 1970
    Beautiful! I love the writing style. Non-binary character treated with dignity and explained through a cultural lens. Can't wait to share this with my students!!
  • Rachel Parrott
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. Salazar has given readers a beautiful offering in these verses.My copy was a gift through Goodreads First Reads.
  • Bel
    January 1, 1970
    A beautiful coming of age story, written in verse. It feels like a privilege to have been part of Celi’s journey, to have seen how she feels, how she acts and how she loves. A great book.
  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    Please see my review on Amazon. com under C. Wong. Thank you.
  • saskeah
    January 1, 1970
    Full review found here: https://booksbeyondbinaries.blog/2019...
  • Casey Jo
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to love this without reservation. I ended up with 2:(view spoiler)[1) Throughout the book, Celi doesn't want to have a moon ceremony, but her mom "knows better" and they have the ceremony anyway and then Celi is glad they went against her wishes.2) The character Marco reads as a trans guy, not as genderfluid, and inviting him to a moon ceremony because he's xochihuah feels like cramming this boy into someone else's narrative.I'd love to be misreading this, but I'm struggling with some l I wanted to love this without reservation. I ended up with 2:(view spoiler)[1) Throughout the book, Celi doesn't want to have a moon ceremony, but her mom "knows better" and they have the ceremony anyway and then Celi is glad they went against her wishes.2) The character Marco reads as a trans guy, not as genderfluid, and inviting him to a moon ceremony because he's xochihuah feels like cramming this boy into someone else's narrative.I'd love to be misreading this, but I'm struggling with some lack of agency issues here.Note: I read an ARC. Finalized copy may have some changes that resolve these issues. (hide spoiler)]
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