A coming-of-age story about a queer Indian American girl exploring activism and identity through art, perfect for fans of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.
Sixteen-year-old Maya Krishnan is fiercely protective of her friends, immigrant community, and single mother, but she knows better than to rock the boat in her conservative Florida suburb. Her classmate Juneau Zale is the polar opposite: she’s a wealthy white heartbreaker who won’t think twice before capsizing that boat.
When Juneau invites Maya to join the Pugilists—a secret society of artists, vandals, and mischief-makers who fight for justice at their school—Maya descends into the world of change-making and resistance. Soon, she and Juneau forge a friendship that inspires Maya to confront the challenges in her own life.
But as their relationship grows romantic, painful, and twisted, Maya begins to suspect that there’s a whole different person beneath Juneau’s painted-on facade. Now Maya must learn to speak her truth in this mysterious, mixed-up world—even if it results in heartbreak.
About the Author
Malavika Kannan writes about Gen Z and identity for Teen Vogue, Washington Post, and Refinery29, Electric Literature, and elsewhere. She grew up in Central Florida and currently attends Stanford University. Malavika invites you to visit her online at malavikakannan.com or @malavika.kannan on Instagram.
“The protagonist’s passion, outrage, and longing are vividly expressed through ruminative first-person prose and sharp dialogue ... A turbulent and cathartic account of self-discovery, activism, and first love.”—Kirkus
"Emotionally raw … a socially conscious self-love story about identity, family, and belonging."—Publishers Weekly
“A whirlwind of a book—messy, invigorating, and unflinchingly honest. Highly recommended.” —SLJ
"The breakneck plot will grab readers, while Maya's personality will carry them to the end."—Booklist
"Amidst intensely intimate moments both emotionally and physically, Maya’s struggle toward equilibrium and forgiveness is hard-won and satisfying.” —BCCB