cover image The 99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers

The 99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers

Adam Sass, illus. by Anne Pomel. Viking, $18.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-593-46478-6

Seventeen-year-old white Micah Summers has always been too nervous to ask out any of his crushes in Sass’s (Surrender Your Sons) wistful rom-com with a “Cinderella” twist. Instead, Micah runs an anonymous Instagram art account, Instaloves in Chicago, where he draws and posts fairy tale illustrations of every boy he’s failed to ask out, accompanied by captions detailing their imagined first dates. Instaloves is both a secret outlet for Micah’s creative passions and a pseudo-digital diary, until he runs into his own fairy tale prince on an L train. The meet-cute prompts him to enlist his friends Hannah, who is straight and Black, and Elliot, who is queer and white, and Instaloves’ followers to help track down this missed connection following the clues in the pumpkin-embroidered jacket that the mystery boy left behind. But even after he’s reunited with his prince, Micah struggles to balance his idealized interpretations of romance with the realities of cultivating and maintaining an actual relationship. Sass capably portrays complicated teenage interpersonal dynamics through realistic dialogue, and fills this sincere romance with teen pining, madcap shenanigans, and earnest first love. French illustrator Pomel’s b&w line spot illustrations, depicting various Instaloves posts, feature throughout. Ages 14–up. Agent: Eric Smith, P.S. Literary. (Sept.)