cover image All the Yellow Suns

All the Yellow Suns

Malavika Kannan. Little, Brown, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-316-44732-4

Queer Indian American 16-year-old Maya Krishnan, a talented artist, attends a conservative high school in a central Florida suburb that often feels like “it has two sides.” Maya’s mother jokes that their neighborhood, populated by people of Cuban, Ethiopian, Korean, and Puerto Rican descent, is like the United Nations. The block where Maya’s enigmatic white classmate Juneau Zale lives, meanwhile, has “realtor dads railing in their booming voices about the Immigrants and Newcomers Raising Their Taxes.” As relations between school administration and BIPOC students become strained, Juneau asks Maya to join the Pugilists, a secret society of Banksy-esque artists and mischief-makers who use art to fight against their school’s bigoted policies. But with Maya engaging in increasingly risky behavior with the Pugilists—and falling for Juneau—she begins neglecting her family and friends. When an incident jeopardizes Maya’s future, she realizes that her work with the society has her in way over her head—and that Juneau might not be who she presents to the world. If occasionally polemic prose sometimes halts narrative pacing, debut author Kannan’s critiques of law enforcement, misogyny, and racism are astute, and Maya’s perceptive first-person narration is both polished and emotionally raw, making for a socially conscious self-love story about identity, family, and belonging. Ages 14–up. (July)