Title: Odd One Out
Author: Nic Stone
Genres: Young adult contemporary
From the New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martincomes this illuminating exploration of old friendships, new crushes, and the path to self-discovery.
Courtney “Coop” Cooper
Dumped. Again. And normally I wouldn’t mind. But right now, my best friend and source of solace, Jupiter Sanchez, is ignoring me to text some girl.
Rae Evelyn Chin
I assumed “new girl” would be synonymous with “pariah,” but Jupiter and Courtney make me feel like I’m right where I belong. I also want to kiss him. And her. Which is . . . perplexing.
The only thing worse than losing the girl you love to a boy is losing her to your boy. That means losing him, too. I have to make a move. . . .
No easy answers.
I was incredibly excited about this book ever since it was announced. The synopsis sounded amazing, plus Nic Stone wrote one of my favorite books of last year (Dear Martin), so I was sure I was going to love this.
This book is incredibly messy, but in a very good way. I’ve never read a book which encapsulates how messy romantic and sexual attraction is and how incredibly confusing labels are as this book. Because, wow. It is confusing, and this made this book incredibly relatable. Not just for me, but for a lot of other people (and especially teens), too. Plus, the fact that this book features two queer people of colour as main characters makes it even more important.
I ended up listening to the audiobook and it was an incredibly enjoyable experience. It was fun, easy to get into, and it worked very well as an audiobook. The audiobook has a different narrator for each of the three perspectives (Coop, Jupes and Rae), which worked very well. And the fact that the author herself was the narrator for one of the perspectives made the book feel extra special.
However, while I liked most of the book, there were two things in the book that bothered me a lot. One of these things is the bi-erasure and the biphobia, which happens multiple times when one of the characters dismisses the fact that another character could be into her because this character “likes dudes”. Now, this could definitely be seen as a form of self-protection of this character, but there was also another instance in which one of the characters says that “I don’t mess with bisexual girls … Enough girls leave you for dudes, and you learn to keep your distance” which just felt like a punch in the gut. Especially because it was never called out.
Then there’s also the problem of the very iffy age gaps (one of the main characters, 16, sleeps with a woman in her twenties) which is made even worse by the fact that the 16-year old basically begs and pleads the 20-something woman to sleep with her until her initial “no” is turned into a “okay then”. I felt incredibly uncomfortable with this.
So, while I overall enjoyed the book and definitely think it’s an important read, I did have a few rather big problems with it. But I definitely will pick up another Nic Stone book in the future, and I can’t wait to see what she’ll write next.