cover image Kings of B’More

Kings of B’More

R. Eric Thomas. Kokila, $18.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-593-32618-3

Sixteen-year-old best friends Linus and Harrison spend an epic last day together pending imminent separation in Thomas’s (Here for It, for adults) fresh YA debut. When Harrison’s best friend Linus admits that he’s moving away from their Baltimore hometown to South Carolina, Harrison concocts a “foolproof plan for lasting friendship” in time for their final day together. Despite laid-back Linus’s desire for a “clean break,” prone-to-theatrics Harrison, inspired by a viewing of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, surprises Linus with a day full of memorable experiences across Baltimore, all while avoiding their protective parents’ watchful eyes. Their adventure hits many snags, including chases on public transportation, almost-sightings from family members, and unanticipated run-ins with new friends. But as their adventure draws to a close, bringing respective familial turmoil and complicated interpersonal feelings to the surface, the boys must confront their fears for the future, even if it means saying goodbye. Employing a charismatic cast, expert comedic timing, and moving prose, Thomas artfully composes a raucous and tenderhearted story of two queer Black boys discovering new truths about themselves in this loving commemoration of identity and friendship. Ages 12–up. Agent: Anna Sproul-Latimer, Neon Literary. (May)