From the author of Dear Martin comes this 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 read Odd One Out during February, because of a personal TBR of mine in which I wanted to read only black authors for Black History Month. And since I was already familiar with Nic Stone – I actually re-read her debut, Dear Martin, this February too -, it felt like the perfect choice.
Now, I went into this book having already heard mixed reviews for it. My Goodreads feed was pretty polarizing: some gave 4 stars, others gave it 2. My expectations weren’t high, so I wouldn’t call this a disappointing read, but it was for sure an odd one indeed.
- The writing style! I simply adore the way Nic Stone writes. Her contemporary is just my kind of contemporary, so we’re good. There are a lot of dialogues and very short chapters. The characters are hilarious and I for sure laughed out loud when reading this. Despise how entertaining it may be, she’s also able to address very serious topics as well, and it works like magic. This book follows three different narrators, and I feel like despise the perspectives sounding different, they still felt very connected through her writing voice, which I think it’s pretty impressive.
- The overall message. As the author mentions herself in the acknowledgements, this book was written from a very personal place. I think the way Nic Stone explored sexuality in this novel was great: it really is a fluid, ever-changing place. Jupiter’s character goes through a phenomenal development throughout the book and I appreciated that a lot. I feel like for other teenagers who are questioning their sexuality, this book can be truly helpful.
- The narrators for the audiobook were SO GREAT. I’m so glad that I gave this audiobook a chance! The narrator for Cooper, Dion Graham, was the best one. He was able to concieve all emotions and made the reading so entertaining and dynamic. I found out that he’s the narrator for Dear Martin too, and now I regret not having listened to it as well. Nic Stone herself narrates for Jupiter’s perspective, and I also adore her voice. Even if I didn’t like the narrator for Rae as much, this was still a 10/10 audiobook experience.
- The “mystery” was so fun! There’s a mini mystery subplot in this, surrounding Cooper’s childhood idol and it was so well done! I wish it had lasted a bit longer, though, and I certainly wouldn’t have minded at all if we’d spent the whole book trying to figure it out.
- This is kind of a very messy love triangle. All the characters are kind of in love with each other, and I think it was one of the most complicated love-triangles of all time. These characters have no idea how to handle their feelings, and albeit realistic, I still feel like I would’ve liked for the story to provide more “healthy” ways to deal with your confusion. As these characters try to figrue out their miscommunications and lack of honesty with their own feelings, they end up getting each other hurt. I like to believe there’s a better way of figuring things out that do not involve hurting so many others in the process. (Probably some therapy?).
- It’s a Cooper-Jupiter story. I don’t know if it was because I was truly more invested in their narrations, but I feel like both Cooper and Jupiter were much more fleshed out characters, and they felt very real. Rae, in the other hand, was a bit left out. She’s the addition to the friend group, so I understand why maybe she wasn’t given as much attention as a character, but even towards the end, I feel like the story just left Rae in the outside.
- Jupiter. Honestly, Jupiter is one of the most unlikable protagonists I’ve ever read about. She struggles a lot in being honest with herself and just makes some decisions sometimes that had me eye-rolling sooooo bad. She would flirt with Cooper and then pretend it never happened; give him all these wrong signs and then act oblivious to it. I for real felt like punching her sometimes.
Overall, I feel like this was a weird book to rate. At times, I was sure it would be a 5-star read, just to move to the following chapter and hate everyone again. I feel just as confused as these characters are, but I think that was the author’s goal at the end of the day.
This story is not perfect, nor neat and nice, but it for sure gave me a lot to think about. It also solidified my love for Nic Stone and I can not wait to read more from her in the future.
Have you ever read Odd One Out? If so, how did you like it? (Also, there are so many Queen references in this, which was amazinggg!)