No One Left But You

Soho Teen. Nov. 2023. 288p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781641294898.
Gr 9 Up–Told in alternating “before” and “after” chapters, this gripping murder mystery follows Max, a transgender teenage boy, as he’s sucked into the vortex of a toxic, immediately codependent new friendship with Gloss, a new girl in town. Gloss is a spoiled teenage girl with absent rich parents, an expensive, fully staffed home all to herself, and way too much freedom. But she has this magnetism about her that is almost cult leader-esque. She takes Max under her wing immediately, and begins to fulfill his deepest, long unmet needs: for belonging, physical touch and affection, attention, and emotional support. Then, she kills his ex-boyfriend and confesses. Or did she? McAdam’s prose is masterly with perfect, striking phrases for feelings rarely adequately described. It feels euphoric reading such an authentic and natural portrayal of the lived experience of a trans teen.
VERDICT While the mystery’s resolution is a bit lackluster, Max’s captivating journey is one that teen patrons shouldn’t miss. Highly recommended.

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