Boys I Know: Book summary and reviews of Boys I Know by Anna Gracia

Boys I Know

by Anna Gracia

Boys I Know by Anna Gracia X
Boys I Know by Anna Gracia
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About this book

Book Summary

A high school senior navigates messy boys and messier relationships in this unflichingly honest and much-needed look into the overlap of Asian American identity and teen sexuality.

June Chu is the "just good enough" girl. Good enough to line the shelves with a slew of third-place trophies and steal secret kisses from her AP Bio partner, Rhys. But not good enough to meet literally any of her Taiwanese mother's unrelenting expectations or to get Rhys to commit to anything beyond a well-timed joke.

While June's mother insists she follow in her (perfect) sister's footsteps and get a (full-ride) violin scholarship to Northwestern (to study pre-med), June doesn't see the point in trying too hard if she's destined to fall short anyway. Instead, she focuses her efforts on making her relationship with Rhys "official." But after her methodically planned, tipsily executed scheme explodes on the level of a nuclear disaster, she flings herself into a new relationship with a guy who's not allergic to the word girlfriend.

But as the line between sex and love blurs, and pressure to map out her entire future threatens to burst, June will have to decide on whose terms she's going to live her life—even if it means fraying her relationship with her mother beyond repair.

A modern Judy Blume meets Jenny Han, Boys I Know is a raw and realistic look into the lives of teen girls. June Chu is an authentic if imperfect protagonist, and her journey of self discovery is as cathartic as it is uncomfortable. While watching June navigate her relationships with her immigrant parents, her Iowa friends, and the many different boys in her life, teens will learn what to expect of others and of themselves.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The panoply of supporting characters in this story that explores sexuality, gender roles, and relationships is finely drawn, and June is a winning protagonist with a lively, appealing voice that renders the repartee between her and her flinty, anxious mother simultaneously infuriating, hilarious, and poignant. A fresh tale about a teen's struggles to define herself." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"[A] refreshingly sex-positive coming-of-age YA...June's cultural backdrop is poignantly prominent...Microaggressions and the questioning of Asian Americans' authenticity (June is told she's not 'Chinese Chinese') are also tactfully incorporated. Throughout, June's drive to pick a college for herself—not for a boy or her parents—serves as an accessible framework around which this bold debut takes place and touts the difficulty and importance of self-reflection." - Shelf Awareness

"Fresh, funny, and fearless—a knockout novel about finding the courage to declare your place in the world." – Sarah Kuhn, From Little Tokyo, with Love

"An honest, humorous story full of candor that explores the pressures of growing up Asian American, teen identity and sexuality, and finding room to forge your own path when you have no life roadmap. Gracia doesn't shy away from the awkwardness, messiness and confusion of adolescence—perfect for fans of Sonia Hartl and David Yoon." – Suzanne Park, Sunny Song Will Never be Famous

"Funny, sex-positive, and poignant. Boys I Know is an honest coming of age story about identity, sexuality, and the often-complicated parts of growing up and finding yourself. A touching exploration of the way teens navigate different relationships in their lives, and what it really means to not settle." – Sonia Hartl, The Lost Girls​

This information about Boys I Know was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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More Information

Anna grew up biracial in the Midwest, spending her formative years repeatedly answering the question, "What are you?" Before finding her way as a YA author, she was a CPA, a public school teacher, a tennis coach, and for one glorious summer, a waitress at a pie shop. She now lives on the West Coast, raising three kids and writing stories about girls navigating a world full of double standards.

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