I considered myself to be a very inclusive reader, someone who reads books by BIPOC authors, but one glance at my Goodreads tells me that I can do better. So I decided to begin June reading Odd One Out by Nic Stone. Not only is Odd One Out an Own Voices novel, literature written by someone who identifies as a part of the same marginalized book as their character(s), but it’s also YA, which makes it accessible to many. Is it just me, or does anyone else have trouble comprehending some of the older literature with its superfluous vocabulary? I studied English in college, and during my first years, reading Shakespeare was a struggle!
- Courtney “Coop” Cooper has been in love with his best friend Jupiter Sanchez since they became neighbors at an early age. The two are so close they often sleepover in each other’s bedrooms. Coop’s crush is largely one-sided as Jupiter identifies as a lesbian.
- Coop and Jupe’s friendship is tested when Rae Chin moves into town and sandwiches herself between Coop and Jupe. Rae always considered herself straight, but she finds herself attracted to both of them. Naturally, Rae flirts with both of them.
- Cooper and Rae discover they share a childhood traumatic experience that draws them closer to each other.
- However, Rae is still flirtatious towards Jupiter which makes Cooper jealous and fearful about losing his best friend.
- But when Rae confesses to Jupiter that she’s going to ask Cooper out, Jupiter is shocked and hurt.
- Although Jupiter has always considered herself to be strictly attracted to girls, she finds herself finally admitting that she might have always had feelings for Cooper.
This book is really good! Nic Stone splits this story into three parts, and each part is a different POV, so the readers get to see exactly how these characters lie to themselves. Additionally, there is a lot of great music mentioned here, such as the iconic Freddie Mercury and Queen.
Five Stars for handling the POVs so well and making each one so interesting.
Odd One Out is messy! A lot of the time in this book I was frustrated with the characters. Rae was attracted to Jupiter, but when she finally confesses her feelings Jupe turns her down, which leads Rae to stop pursuing her. In turn, Jupe feels hurt that Rae is ready to jump into a relationship with Coop. This all could have been avoided if they were all honest with each other but let’s remember for a second our own youth. Teenagers act exactly like this indecisive and fearing rejection.
And Nic Stone penned that well.
Additionally, this book is overall all about accepting yourself and your sexuality. Reading about Jupiter struggling with herself to put a name to her own sexuality was heartbreaking. Jupiter put so much pressure on herself contemplating what others would think about her rather than her own happiness. Plus, the fact that these scenes took place in a closet was super clever!
Rae – like Jupiter- has trouble accepting her attraction to women, and as a result, leads Jupiter on. That was so wrong of Rae to do, but it was also a little confusing that Jupiter turned Rae down when she confessed her feelings for her. I assumed Jupe was in denial of her feelings for Coop, but now I think Jupe might have just wanted a sober confession.
Cooper is also a mess in this book. Coop is in love with Jupe, and despite only having failed relationships because of his feelings for Jupe, he still decides to date Rae anyways. He’s wrong for that too because he only begins to date Rae out of spite when Jupiter rejects him.
All in all, Odd One Out is a messy story told in three parts, but it’s told well, and for that reason, I’m giving it five stars. If you’re looking to read more books by Black or LBBTQ+ authors, check out Nic Stone’s books.
Currently, I’m deciding whether to read The Sun is Also a Star and Dear Martin, also by Nic Stone. But since I can’t decide, I’ll just have to read both at the same time.
Until next time continue living in libros,