cover image Boys I Know

Boys I Know

Anna Gracia. Peachtree Teen, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-6826-3371-7

Taiwanese American high schooler June Chu, a Midwesterner, searches for love and autonomy in Gracia’s emotionally raw debut. June just wants to be “good enough” for her mother—who is never short on Chinese proverbs and constantly compares June to her valedictorian older sister. But third-place wins at violin competitions won’t get her into a top-ranked school (“They going to be looking for first-place winner, not third,” June’s mother reminds her). Even worse, her lab-partner/maybe-boyfriend, Rhys, refuses to kiss her in public and keeps her at arm’s length. Eager to live a life separate from everyone else’s expectations, June institutes “Mission: Boyfriend” and pursues Brad, the first boy to ever openly adore her. June’s quest for autonomy forces her to reevaluate her relationships with her family and confront the fear that she may never be enough. Gracia employs a whirlwind pace that complements June’s myriad triumphs and failures; a large, vibrant cast; and a true-to-life teen voice to explore societal gender roles, racism, and sexuality while artfully depicting one teenager’s search for herself amid cultural and familial pressures. Supporting characters are predominantly white. Ages 14–up. Agent: Kiana Nguyen, Donald Maass Literary. (July)