From New York Times bestselling author Eliot Schrefer comes an exuberant YA historical coming-of-age novel about a rising star French pianist, navigating his way into high society as he explores his sexuality. Perfect for fans of Last Night at the Telegraph Club and The Gentleman’s Gide to Vice and Virtue.
They say Léon Delafosse will be France’s next great pianist. But despite his being the youngest student ever accepted into the prestigious Paris Conservatory, there’s no way an impoverished musician can make his way in 1890s Paris without an outside patron.
Young gossip columnist Marcel Proust takes Léon under his wing, and the boys game their way through an extravagant new world. When the larger-than-life Count Robert de Montesquiou-Fézensac offers his patronage, Léon’s dreams are made real. But the closer he gets to becoming France’s next great thing, the further he strays from his old country life he shared with his family and his best friend Félix . . . a boy he might love.
With each choice Léon makes, he must navigate a fine line between two worlds—or risk losing them both.
Eliot Schrefer is a New York Times bestselling author and has twice been a finalist for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature. His other awards include a Printz Honor, a Stonewall Honor, and the Green Earth Book Award. He is also the author of Charming Young Man, The Darkness Outside Us, Endangered, Threatened, and Queer Ducks (and Other Animals): The Natural World of Animal Sexuality. He lives with his husband in New York City, is on the faculty of the Hamline University and Fairleigh Dickinson University MFA in creative writing programs, and reviews books for USA Today. Visit him online at eliotschrefer.com.
“Charming Young Man is a gorgeous exploration of artistic talent and envy, wealth and power, art and desire wrapped up in a delicious, page-turner of a plot. I absolutely loved it.”
— Nina LaCour, author of Michael L. Printz Award–winner We Are Okay
“The author creates an intimate, sensitive, gay coming-of-age story. Beautifully realized and a pleasure to read.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Schrefer masterfully portrays Léon’s inner world, full of self-doubt and desperation (alongside dreamy moments at the piano), within a suspenseful story of high personal stakes.” — Booklist (starred review)
“Schrefer immerses readers in the beautiful worlds of Belle Epoque Paris and rural France with detail that enhances the narrative. Teens will be seduced and captivated by the depictions of Paris high society, while also connecting with the heart of the plot: Leon finding his place in the world where he feels like an outsider. An enjoyable and easy-to-read coming-of-age story set in the past but relevant to the present.” — School Library Journal (starred review)
“Schrefer’s Léon Delafosse, who is based on the real French pianist of the same name, is not only likable, but sensitive and resilient, and his perseverance amid dramatic ups and downs on his path toward happiness is engaging.” — Publishers Weekly
PRAISE FOR DARKNESS OUTSIDE US: "Schrefer masterfully evokes and maintains suspense that keeps the pages turning briskly while still taking the time to limn the two boys’ touching, moving relationship. If all of this is space opera, readers will want an encore. Bravo." — Booklist (starred review)
"3, 2, 1…blastoff for mystery, adventure, and queer intergalactic bodice-ripping." — Kirkus Reviews
"[A] sexy space odyssey. Schrefer’s immersive novel combines the build of mysteries and the tension of romance, slowly unfurling an iterative story about love and attraction, destiny, and connection. " — Publishers Weekly
"Schrefer does an excellent job of developing and humanizing his characters before throwing them into the swift waters of a sci-fi plot with its truly shocking and satisfying twist. Readers are sure to root for these lovable characters’ survival." — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
"This deep-space survival story, with a strong gay romance and notes of horror, will appeal to fans of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s Illuminae." — School Library Journal
"Yes, The Darkness Outside Us is utterly inventive and relentlessly page-turning. And yes, Ambrose and Kodiak are seriously the hottest couple in space. But even more, this is an insightful, tender, and profound story, about the weight of history, and the power of transformation and true love." — Deb Caletti, National Book Award finalist and author of A Heart in a Body in the World
“Fiercely imaginative and desperately real, The Darkness Outside Us explores the wild expanses of the human heart. This book is a triumph.” — Elana K. Arnold, author of Damsel, a Printz Honor Book
"The Darkness Outside Us is equal parts terrifying, tender, and thrilling. I loved every word of this sharp, thoughtful look at the world we live in and the ones beyond." — Brandy Colbert, award-winning author of Little & Lion
Absolutely brilliant. The Darkness Outside Us is a pulse-pounding thriller, engrossing science fiction epic, and heartfelt meditation on love all at once.” — Malinda Lo, Author of Ash