Review copy provided by the publisher.
Sometimes you find a book that falls beautifully into its genre while also being so singular that you marvel that someone thought to do it. This is one of those books for me. It is absolutely, without question, queer YA of the 2020s. It is also a layered story of three generations of men in a Persian-American family, each with his own heartaches and secrets, converging on a present where one of them has become the father and another the grandfather in a family. Their relationships with love, art, and politics shift and change with time and circumstance; their approaches to family and ethnicity are also fluid. Sometimes they’re more easily able to see their differences than their commonalities.
It is so good.
Even just the writing of the first section, the introduction to Moud as a contemporary teenager with a fraught relationship with social media and a boyfriend who has seriously different attitudes than he does, promises to be a really lovely novel of personal growth and exploration, just the sort of thing YA does best at its best. And then the next section–expands, shifts, it’s more book than it might have been, deeper and better and with more perspectives.
In addition to the three protagonists, the minor characters are so well considered and so well drawn. This is a book that’s really thoughtful about everybody having their own stuff to deal with, some of it really large stuff. It keeps beautiful perspective on its own specificity as one example of the way the world can strive to be better, not the only example. I’m so glad I had a chance to read this.