The Best at It
From actor Maulik Pancholy comes an incredibly charming, heartfelt middle grade debut about Rahul Kapoor, a gay Indian American boy coming into his own in a small town in the Midwest.Rahul Kapoor is heading into seventh grade in a small town in Indiana. The start of middle school is making him feel increasingly anxious, so his favorite person in the whole world, his grandfather Bhai, gives him some well-meaning advice: Find one thing you’re really good at. And become the BEST at it.Those four little words sear themselves into Rahul’s brain. While he’s not quite sure what that special thing is, he is convinced that once he finds it, bullies like Brent Mason will stop torturing him at school. And he won’t be worried about staring too long at his classmate Justin Emery. With his best friend, Chelsea, by his side, Rahul is ready to crush this challenge. . . . But what if he discovers he isn’t the best at anything?Funny, charming, and incredibly touching, this is a story about friendship, family, and the courage it takes to live your truth.

The Best at It Details

TitleThe Best at It
Author
ReleaseOct 8th, 2019
PublisherBalzer + Bray
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, LGBT, Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, GLBT, Queer, Young Adult, Kids, Cultural

The Best at It Review

  • Maraia
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars
  • Ivy
    January 1, 1970
    Not only is this cover incredible, but tHE PLOT! In 2019 we say YES to teaching kids that it's okay to struggle to find your identity. But, I cannot stress enough, The Cover.
  • Dany
    January 1, 1970
    This is an ownvoice review.Best at it follows Rahul Kapoor who's the first gen American , (his parents moved frm India) . Rahul enters seventh grade and wants to find something he's good at and wanna be best at. He tries a lot of things like football (or soccer , I don't get american sports) , being a model .. pretty much all the stuff a 12 y/o can think of.Best at it might sound like a normal middle grade with the MC figuring out their life , but it encounters a lot of c This is an ownvoice review.Best at it follows Rahul Kapoor who's the first gen American , (his parents moved frm India) . Rahul enters seventh grade and wants to find something he's good at and wanna be best at. He tries a lot of things like football (or soccer , I don't get american sports) , being a model .. pretty much all the stuff a 12 y/o can think of.Best at it might sound like a normal middle grade with the MC figuring out their life , but it encounters a lot of casual racism in all the aspects of Rahul's life.The feeling of not belonging anywhere is pretty common for every pre teen , but the level of Rahul's not belonging is overwhelming. It's even kinda sad how he just rolls with it as a part of life, because it is.Rahul's relationship with his family was so authentic. It was so nice how much the family has in common with actual Indian families in India. It was so amazing I could connect with Rahul . (Trust me , that does not happen often. And the point where I say I feel the most connected with a 12 y/o boy as a 20 y/o girl is the sad fact of representation)To sum it all up , Best at it will be the book I will recommend kids to read and probably get my kids to read. I'm really grateful for Maulik to take an effort to tell his story .I received the E-copy of this book from Edelweiss and Balzer Bray. This has not affected my opinions.
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  • Tova
    January 1, 1970
    This giving me major Kapoor and Sons vibes and I am here for it!!!
  • Sonali Dabade
    January 1, 1970
    I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH! Oh goodness me! It's one of the simplest, easiest books to read but it made me feel things I wasn't prepared for. So much connection happening!Full review to come soon on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpzC...
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  • Kathie
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for an eARC of this book.OK, I can't believe I'm not hearing more buzz about this book! It releases on October 8th, and it's a FANTASTIC read. Don't let the fact that an actor wrote it stop you from picking up a copy. It's well written, funny, and an excellent book to add to your collections as it deals with OCD, anxiety, race, sexual orientation, and more.Rahul is convinced he needs to be the BEST at something, he just doesn't kn Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for an eARC of this book.OK, I can't believe I'm not hearing more buzz about this book! It releases on October 8th, and it's a FANTASTIC read. Don't let the fact that an actor wrote it stop you from picking up a copy. It's well written, funny, and an excellent book to add to your collections as it deals with OCD, anxiety, race, sexual orientation, and more.Rahul is convinced he needs to be the BEST at something, he just doesn't know what. Maybe if he tries out for the football team and rocks at it, he won't get teased that he has a crush on Justin, one of the players? Maybe if he tries out for a commercial, his acting career will take off and he'll become so famous that Brent Mason will stop bullying him at school? Nothing that Rahul tries turns out quite the way he planned, and he wonders what will happens to him if he's not the best at anything?I love this story for many different reasons. Rahul is Indian American, and has a large number of uncles and aunties that play a role in his life. I particularly love the relationship he has with his grandfather, Bhai, and the walkie talkies they use to secretly communicate with each other. Rahul is also trying to figure out if he's gay, and he discovers that he has a supportive network of people around him who are waiting for him to figure out what they already suspect. He is developing compulsions, like checking locked doors, and measuring his bed's distance from the wall, and as the story progresses we see his family recognizing this and helping him get therapy for it. He also has a best friend named Chelsea who weathers all of life's storms along with him. There's a lot going on in this story, but it doesn't feel forced, and is based on the author's real life experiences.I highly recommend adding this book to your collections.
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  • Elizabeth Gonda
    January 1, 1970
    Honest. Real. Outstanding. A must read for the middle-level learner!
  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    So so good! I loved it
  • Tory
    January 1, 1970
    An absolutely precious story! Racial, cultural, and sexual identities all handled with perfect poise. I'm typically very hesitant about going too far into sexual orientation in middle-years books, but this was exactly the right level of discussion in an incredibly accessible manner. Humor, heart, and growth. Way to go, Jonathan! 😉
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  • Sam Leckron
    January 1, 1970
    Wonderful middle School book about the things and feelings that issue during those years. Preread for my own kids and I needed to read an own voices LGBT for the read harder challenge.
  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARC provided by Edelweiss PlusRahul lives in Indiana with his parents, younger brother Arun, and grandfather, whom he calls Bhai. He has a best friend, Chelsea, and is trying to navigate middle school. He's not quite sure what his interests are, so tries out for the football team, partly to show his nemesis, Brent, that he's not afraid to, and partly so that he can be near Justin, whom he thinks is nice. He's not particularly good at sports, and his try out ends disastrously. He al E ARC provided by Edelweiss PlusRahul lives in Indiana with his parents, younger brother Arun, and grandfather, whom he calls Bhai. He has a best friend, Chelsea, and is trying to navigate middle school. He's not quite sure what his interests are, so tries out for the football team, partly to show his nemesis, Brent, that he's not afraid to, and partly so that he can be near Justin, whom he thinks is nice. He's not particularly good at sports, and his try out ends disastrously. He also goes on an audition for a bank commercial which also doesn't go well, especially since the director tells him he's not right for the part because the parents in the commercial have already been cast and are not Indian. He finally gets on the Mathletes team, partly at Chelsea's urging because a boy she likes is on the team, and finds that he does very well. The competitions are fun, and Rahul always does well. One of the other members, Jenny, asks him to the school dance, and his parents and aunts (there is a strong community of his parents' friends who often come to the house) are pleased, even though Rahul isn't thrilled with the idea. He's wondered himself if he is gay, and has even heard his parents discussing this matter. His grandfather also has hinted at it and invited discussion, but Rahul is still figuring things out. The big even t of the school year is a multicultural festival, and Rahul's mother is very involved in the setting up of it. Rahul isn't too pleased that it will be held at his school; another Indian American boy, Jai, even thinks that Rahul isn't "very Indian", and parents (especially his father, who is in an Air Supply cum Bollywood cover band) can be so embarassing. Eventually, Rahul figures out more of his own identity and starts to feel more comfortable in middle school. Strengths: This was a very well constructed middle grade novel. The characters were well developed and varied (I especially liked all the Mathletes!), the search for identity framed by a variety of activities (Loved that he tried out for football even though he had no clue about it. See: Me trying out for cheerleading in 6th grade because everyone else was!), and the plot progressed nicely while supporting the character development. Great length, good cover, and pleasantly humorous. Having supportive parents in the picture as well as a grandfather (who is in a wheelchair because of arthritis) and family friends just added another layer of interest. Nicely done romances and friendships. This #ownvoices story is a great one to hand to just about any student-- some will use it as a mirror, some as a window, and all of them will be more understanding because of it. Weaknesses: The television audition went on a bit longer than necessary; I didn't know the author was an actor until after I finished the book, so maybe this was a real life experience.What I really think: Definitely purchasing and can't wait to put into the hands of students!
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  • Tasha
    January 1, 1970
    Rahul just wants to be the best at something, anything. But he’s skinny and the target of Brent, one of the biggest bullies at school. He’s also carrying the secret that he’s gay. Brent taunts Rahul into trying out for the football team, which ends up with Rahul not making the team and nursing a hurt ankle. Meanwhile, Brent has figured out Rahul’s secret when Rahul looks a bit too long at Justine in class. Rahul’s best friend Chelsea tries to get Rahul to understand how amazing he is, even if he Rahul just wants to be the best at something, anything. But he’s skinny and the target of Brent, one of the biggest bullies at school. He’s also carrying the secret that he’s gay. Brent taunts Rahul into trying out for the football team, which ends up with Rahul not making the team and nursing a hurt ankle. Meanwhile, Brent has figured out Rahul’s secret when Rahul looks a bit too long at Justine in class. Rahul’s best friend Chelsea tries to get Rahul to understand how amazing he is, even if he’s not the best at something. As Rahul searches for his niche, he finds himself getting more anxious and his nightly rituals are less soothing. Whatever Rahul discovers about himself he also realizes that his Indian-American family and his friends will be there to cheer him on, no matter who he is.Pancholy, an Indian-American actor, has written a compelling and heart-wrenching middle grade novel that deserves applause. He captures the angst of a kid who is different from the straight white kids in his school and who is trying desperately to fit in with them. Pancholy grapples in this book with many large themes, all of which fit with Rahul’s story. There is the bullying of LGBTQIA+ children at school. He addresses racism in casting and racism towards anyone brown-skinned or non-white. He takes these issues on directly, showing how standing up to bullies and racism is the best course of action.Rahul is a great protagonist. He has support from an extended family as well as a best friend. It is a joy to see a middle grade book with a gay protagonist who is supported and loved by his family and friends. In fact, the book shows that sometimes it is the child who is torn up about coming out while their family and friends may have known for some time.A great read from a multi-talented debut middle-grade author. Appropriate for ages 9-12.
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  • Dai Guerra
    January 1, 1970
    Rahul is struggling because he wants to find something that he is great at but he falls short in everything that he tries. But in trying all of these things so many more issues are showing up that he doesn't know how to deal with, such as his OCD, his sexuality, bullying, and racism. Much of the bullying that Rahul is facing at school is due to his perceived sexuality by one student, and because Rahul is Indian. Throughout the story, Rahul learns to embrace who he is despite what others may say Rahul is struggling because he wants to find something that he is great at but he falls short in everything that he tries. But in trying all of these things so many more issues are showing up that he doesn't know how to deal with, such as his OCD, his sexuality, bullying, and racism. Much of the bullying that Rahul is facing at school is due to his perceived sexuality by one student, and because Rahul is Indian. Throughout the story, Rahul learns to embrace who he is despite what others may say and come to terms with all of the differences. I loved the way that this story dealt with so many topics without it being overwhelming for the age group that it was intended for. I loved how each of the topics was addressed by Rahul's friends and family and how intertwined his race was with these discussions. I really liked the characters that were included and how they each made Rahul's differences stand out more than he liked. I thought that was a great way to show the reality of situations like Rahul's for people his age.I thought it was so great to read about how Rahul's Indian background informed his thinking and the things that he did. This is the first book that I've read in which the main character is Indian and it was great that this was an #ownvoices book because it read really authentically. I enjoyed the relationship that Rahul had with his family, especially his grandfather, Bhai, and really appreciated that the relationships he had with his family's friends were included. While the book was written for ages 8-12 I think that up to ages 14 would enjoy this book as well as educators who would read with their classes. I think it is also a book that adults who read middle grade would enjoy because of the topics that it covers, it really opens up those discussions with younger audiences.
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    More reviews and book-ish content @ Club Book Mobile & Andrea RBKThe Best at It by Maulik Pancholy is an upcoming #ownvoices release. I so loved the way Rahul's story gave voice to a story around intersecting identities that aren't often told. Rahul is a gay teen who is working through mental health issues while growing up in rural Indiana who is navigating all that middle school brings. He's trying to figure out where he fits in, as he tries to manage his own feelings and reactions to life. More reviews and book-ish content @ Club Book Mobile & Andrea RBKThe Best at It by Maulik Pancholy is an upcoming #ownvoices release. I so loved the way Rahul's story gave voice to a story around intersecting identities that aren't often told. Rahul is a gay teen who is working through mental health issues while growing up in rural Indiana who is navigating all that middle school brings. He's trying to figure out where he fits in, as he tries to manage his own feelings and reactions to life. Y'all, this was a real trek through middle school. The social dynamics of middle school are a lot, and Rahul definitely has to navigate quite a bit of them. I appreciated that these dynamics (while always a hard read because it can be rough stuff) were used to show how Rahul was trying to figure out his fit to feel fulfilled, but also so he wouldn't be ridiculued. Y'all, it's such a true conflict that kids go through! This book for me is a conversation starter. I finished wanting to know more about Rahul's story. What's next? Where does he go? How is he doing? I think that was a note of how I connected, as well as how it gave voice to a story I haven't heard often enough. The stories of #ownvoices are so important. Thanks to Balzer & Bray for the early look at this one!
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  • Alexa Hamilton
    January 1, 1970
    Rahul is your typical middle school boy--sort of. He is wrestling with his identity, and he wants to be the best at something but he doesn't know what. He enlists his best friend Chelsea to help him, and his family is really supportive, so they jump in to help, too. The book meanders around a bit as Rahul tries to figure out what he can do. We get to meet everyone at school, and watch Rahul ignore the Mathletes team even though he is amazing at math. Luckily, Justin gives him a math related comp Rahul is your typical middle school boy--sort of. He is wrestling with his identity, and he wants to be the best at something but he doesn't know what. He enlists his best friend Chelsea to help him, and his family is really supportive, so they jump in to help, too. The book meanders around a bit as Rahul tries to figure out what he can do. We get to meet everyone at school, and watch Rahul ignore the Mathletes team even though he is amazing at math. Luckily, Justin gives him a math related compliment and since Rahul really likes Justin, he gives it a try.Rahul's relationships are really well developed. How could you not love his relationship with Bhai, his grandfather, with their walkie talkies? Or him muddling through with Chelsea, when his aunties are making fun of him that he has a girlfriend? It's a really nice slice of Rahul's life. The beginning is a bit overwhelming and not as directed but once you get to know Rahul, it's easy to be invested in his life. There's a bit of a storyline about obsessive behaviors but it doesn't take over the story either. Very balanced and true to life--some things take precedence at different times.
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  • Kyra Nay
    January 1, 1970
    At the start of 7th grade, Rahul Kapoor lives in small-town Indiana with his parents, a pesky little brother, his beloved grandfather, and a huge assortment of uncles and aunties. But Rahul is struggling – waking up at all hours, worried about doors left unlocked or stoves left burning, feeling the need to check things, 3,4,5 times. And strange feelings for cute football player Justin aren’t helping matters. His grandfather Bhai notices and advises him to find something he’s good at and become, At the start of 7th grade, Rahul Kapoor lives in small-town Indiana with his parents, a pesky little brother, his beloved grandfather, and a huge assortment of uncles and aunties. But Rahul is struggling – waking up at all hours, worried about doors left unlocked or stoves left burning, feeling the need to check things, 3,4,5 times. And strange feelings for cute football player Justin aren’t helping matters. His grandfather Bhai notices and advises him to find something he’s good at and become, well, the best. Hesitant to play into stereotypes of “Indian-American kids are all good at math” and fearful of giving bully Brent additional ammunition, Rahul tries to do anything other than the Mathletes. When he finally joins the team, will he finally be the best? Or will his stress and anxiety get the better of him? Debut author, actor Maulik Pancholy is so tender with Rahul, drawing from his own experiences dealing with anxiety and figuring out his sexual identity. The final few chapters had me in tears – this is an important book for a lot of kids.
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  • Kend
    January 1, 1970
    This sweet little book for middle grade and young adult readers is everything. It follows the (mis)adventures of a young Midwestern seventh grader, Rahul, whose Indian American family is a constant source of both loving joy and embarrassment for him as he seeks acceptance at school. Neither his family nor his best friend know that he's also gay, and as Rahul sets out to discover that one thing he can be "the best at" he finds himself having to confront the reality of his own complex identity, an This sweet little book for middle grade and young adult readers is everything. It follows the (mis)adventures of a young Midwestern seventh grader, Rahul, whose Indian American family is a constant source of both loving joy and embarrassment for him as he seeks acceptance at school. Neither his family nor his best friend know that he's also gay, and as Rahul sets out to discover that one thing he can be "the best at" he finds himself having to confront the reality of his own complex identity, and reckon with the potential fallout of embracing it in a world where acceptance of difference is not guaranteed.There are many ways this book could have gone wrong, but it didn't. Pancholy handles the intersection of race, family, friendship, LGBTQIA+ identity, and youth with sensitivity and nuance. And while I'm loathe to spoil any details, I found myself moved by the way everything is knit together by the end. I wish this book had been around when *I* was in the seventh grade, but I'm oh-so-delighted that it is out there in the world now.
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  • Madeline
    January 1, 1970
    I am so bummed. I’d been looking forward to this book for months--a middle grade book about a gay, Indian-American boy! Yes! So needed!--but I was mostly disappointed by it.Rahul is starting 7th grade. He’s bullied a lot by white football jock Brent, who begins to tease him for having a crush on their classmate, Justin. (Rahul isn’t sure if he actually does have a crush on Justin, or if he just wishes he were athletic, popular, and white like him.) So Rahul decides that life would be I am so bummed. I’d been looking forward to this book for months--a middle grade book about a gay, Indian-American boy! Yes! So needed!--but I was mostly disappointed by it.Rahul is starting 7th grade. He’s bullied a lot by white football jock Brent, who begins to tease him for having a crush on their classmate, Justin. (Rahul isn’t sure if he actually does have a crush on Justin, or if he just wishes he were athletic, popular, and white like him.) So Rahul decides that life would be better if he could be the best at something. He tries out for football (a total disaster), then auditions for a commercial (even more of a disaster) before stumbling into his talent on the Mathletes team. I appreciated a lot about this, including Rahul’s struggle to not only come to terms with but also be proud of both his Indian heritage and his sexual orientation. I loved that Rahul's gayness was no big deal to his best friend or to Justin. And I loved Rahul himself; he's sweet and funny and smart.Unfortunately, though, the writing isn't very strong, and the plot--Rahul needing to be the best at something--just felt weak to me. I was also deeply disappointed when (view spoiler)[it began to look like Brent, the bully, may actually be gay himself. That device is just so overdone, and although it may be true that some closeted kids dealing with internalized homophobia lash out at other gay kids, it's not exactly a flattering portrayal. (hide spoiler)]
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  • Danielle
    January 1, 1970
    This tackled a bunch of different issues, which I thought was admirable. It's super important to make sure that the activism we're doing is intersectional and I thought that was pretty well-represented here with the gay Indian protagonist, who is also hinted to have OCD.While it touched on a few different things, it didn't go super deep. There are some important notes, like not everyone who is homophobic is secretly gay, but otherwise it's fairly surface level.This is def This tackled a bunch of different issues, which I thought was admirable. It's super important to make sure that the activism we're doing is intersectional and I thought that was pretty well-represented here with the gay Indian protagonist, who is also hinted to have OCD.While it touched on a few different things, it didn't go super deep. There are some important notes, like not everyone who is homophobic is secretly gay, but otherwise it's fairly surface level.This is definitely a light read that seems geared more exclusively towards younger readers. I got kind of tired of the narration at points, but I think that's because I'm not the target audience. I know I would have loved representation like this when I was younger, and this shows that you can have a marginalized protagonist whose story isn't all about their identity.
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  • Kelly (UnshelvedEdition)
    January 1, 1970
    Do your kids like to read? We have two boys, one is at the age in his life where it isn’t “cool” to read (we haven’t given up hope yet). Our seventh grader recently started to really enjoy reading, as long as I am reading with him, so i absolutely adore middle grade booksThe Best At It is the perfect read for any middle school child. The book tackles important themes and issues in the world at such an influential age in a kid’s life. Bullying, racial discrimination, gender stereotype Do your kids like to read? We have two boys, one is at the age in his life where it isn’t “cool” to read (we haven’t given up hope yet). Our seventh grader recently started to really enjoy reading, as long as I am reading with him, so i absolutely adore middle grade booksThe Best At It is the perfect read for any middle school child. The book tackles important themes and issues in the world at such an influential age in a kid’s life. Bullying, racial discrimination, gender stereotypes, LGBT and identity concerns are some of the MANY topics this story discusses with the reader. While the story covers so many topics, the main character’s journey stays clear and focused as he tries to find his place in the worldThank you to the author for bringing forth a novel that will encourage our children to be true to themselves no matter what the cost. This book is absolutely beautiful and something that I would recommend not only for your young readers, but for their parents as wellSee more reviews on Instagram @Unshelvededition
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    This is a middle grade book about a 7th grade Indian boy who is coming to terms with his sexuality and also trying to figure out something he’s the best at to make one of his school bullies leave him alone. The book tackles bullying, racism and homophobia and yet is a sweet story of figuring out who you are and finding a place in the world.I related to a lot of the themes in this book and I think most middle grade readers will too regardless of whether they have the same story as Rah This is a middle grade book about a 7th grade Indian boy who is coming to terms with his sexuality and also trying to figure out something he’s the best at to make one of his school bullies leave him alone. The book tackles bullying, racism and homophobia and yet is a sweet story of figuring out who you are and finding a place in the world.I related to a lot of the themes in this book and I think most middle grade readers will too regardless of whether they have the same story as Rahul. This book was super sweet and a great addition to the stories of LGBT+ kids with supportive families. And it’s an own voices story which is rad.I loved this book and it makes me happy to see more books like this around- I sure wish they had been there when I was this age.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    I wish I could go back in time and read this as a 12-year-old. I love Rahul and his quest to find something to be the best at, I love his family and the relationships they have with each other, I love Rahul and Chelsea's silly and supportive friendship, and I especially love the representation. I might not be gay or Indian like Rahul, but it still would have been so important to 12-year-old me to see a queer Asian kid struggling with his cultural identity, with his sexuality, and with the onset I wish I could go back in time and read this as a 12-year-old. I love Rahul and his quest to find something to be the best at, I love his family and the relationships they have with each other, I love Rahul and Chelsea's silly and supportive friendship, and I especially love the representation. I might not be gay or Indian like Rahul, but it still would have been so important to 12-year-old me to see a queer Asian kid struggling with his cultural identity, with his sexuality, and with the onset of OCD right at the same time that I was a queer Asian kid struggling with those exact same things.
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  • Brandi
    January 1, 1970
    This is a sweet middle-grade story that LGBT+, nonwhite kids will probably really relate to and really benefit from reading. It’s always nice to see yourself in characters. But the characters are relatable and likable for anyone - the family at the center of this is warm and loving, the friendships feel authentic, and Rahul’s story of discovering who he is (and wants to be) is universal. I really enjoyed living in this world, and Maulik Pancholy has the perfect writing style for this age group. This is a sweet middle-grade story that LGBT+, nonwhite kids will probably really relate to and really benefit from reading. It’s always nice to see yourself in characters. But the characters are relatable and likable for anyone - the family at the center of this is warm and loving, the friendships feel authentic, and Rahul’s story of discovering who he is (and wants to be) is universal. I really enjoyed living in this world, and Maulik Pancholy has the perfect writing style for this age group. I hope it’s a huge success!
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  • Anna
    January 1, 1970
    4 1/2 stars. This touching and layered coming-out-story by Maulik Pancholy was well written and provided a few laugh-out-loud and subway stop missing reading sessions. (High-praise) The only thing that took away a 1/2 star was the cookie-cutter bully but the rest of the nuanced cast of characters made up for it. I was totally on-board with Rahul's journey and deeply felt his failures and challenges. This is truly a windows and mirrors book, and I felt honored to get a peek into Rahul's experienc 4 1/2 stars. This touching and layered coming-out-story by Maulik Pancholy was well written and provided a few laugh-out-loud and subway stop missing reading sessions. (High-praise) The only thing that took away a 1/2 star was the cookie-cutter bully but the rest of the nuanced cast of characters made up for it. I was totally on-board with Rahul's journey and deeply felt his failures and challenges. This is truly a windows and mirrors book, and I felt honored to get a peek into Rahul's experiences dealing with coming-out and OCD in a midwest America.
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  • Maddie
    January 1, 1970
    Completely charming - I loved how real and refreshing this story felt. The one criticism I had was it felt a little grandiose in it's middle school setting - maybe there are some schools where you have Sadie Hawkins and homecoming football games in middle school but I'm not sure where those schools are - definitely not in my circle in Michigan. But I loved Ra and Chelsea's friendship, his extended family of aunties and uncles, and how supportive everyone in his family is even when Ra doesn't see Completely charming - I loved how real and refreshing this story felt. The one criticism I had was it felt a little grandiose in it's middle school setting - maybe there are some schools where you have Sadie Hawkins and homecoming football games in middle school but I'm not sure where those schools are - definitely not in my circle in Michigan. But I loved Ra and Chelsea's friendship, his extended family of aunties and uncles, and how supportive everyone in his family is even when Ra doesn't see it.
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  • Chad Lucas
    January 1, 1970
    I listened to the audiobook, and I loved so much about this book and rooted so hard for Rahul. The story captures the complicated, messy process of figuring out who you are in junior high, especially as someone who's on the outside in more ways than one. It's funny and awkward, occasionally heartbreaking, and one of my favourite MG books of the year so far.
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  • Katrina
    January 1, 1970
    Rahul is a very relatable character. Middle school is a weird time for everyone, and going through changes and learning about who you are is a huge part of it. Rahul has a wonderfully supportive family, including his awesomely cool grandpa, and they’re all-in while he navigates the perils of trying to be cool in seventh grade.
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  • Cromaine Library
    January 1, 1970
    This book was super touching, and it did a magnificent job of showing coming into one's sexuality in an age-appropriate way. It also managed to cover microaggressions and casual racism, identity, mental health, and so much more.Recommended by librarian Damon
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  • Margaret Desjardins
    January 1, 1970
    What a story! The author provides an engaging story of a gay Indian boy growing up in a challenging environment. The story is engaging from the first to the last page without pause. I could feel the pain of the boy. This author can tell a story. A must read.
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  • Ms. Stephens
    January 1, 1970
    I was hoping to *LOVE* this book because there's an author visit soon, but I only liked it. I mean, I liked it enough to highly recommend it to all my students and be glad I paid pre-order price for it. But it wasn't anything special from a literary standpoint.
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