Murder most fowl? In this sardonic and campy YA thriller, an anxious, introverted nonbinary teen birder somehow finds themself investigating a murder with their neighbor/fellow anime lover, all while falling for a cute girl from their birding group...and trying not to get killed next.
Sixteen-year-old Bianca Torre is an avid birder undergoing a gender identity crisis and grappling with an ever-growing list of fears. Some, like Fear #6: Initiating Conversation, keep them constrained, forcing them to watch birds from the telescope in their bedroom. And, occasionally, their neighbors. When their gaze wanders to one particular window across the street, Bianca witnesses a creepy plague-masked murderer take their neighbor’s life. Worse, the death is ruled a suicide, forcing Bianca to make a choice—succumb to their long list of fears (including #3 Murder and #55 Breaking into a Dead Guy’s Apartment), or investigate what happened.
Bianca enlists the help of their friend Anderson Coleman, but the two have more knowledge of anime than true crime. As Bianca and Anderson dig deeper into the murder with a little help from Bianca’s crush and fellow birding aficionado, Elaine Yee (#13 Beautiful People, #11 Parents Discovering They’re a Raging Lesbian), the trio uncover a conspiracy much larger—and weirder—than imagined. And when the killer catches wind of the investigation, suddenly Bianca’s #1 fear of public speaking doesn’t sound so bad compared to the threat of being silenced for good.
In this absurdist, darkly comical YA thriller that is a deceptively deep exploration of anxiety and identity, perhaps the real murder investigation is the friends we make along the way.
Justine Pucella Winans is a queer and nonbinary writer who resides in Los Angeles with their husband and cats. When not writing, they try their best at Brazilian jiu-jitsu, read an alarming amount of manga, and try to make pasta even a fourth as good as their nonna’s. They are the author of Bianca Torre Is Afraid of Everything, and you can find them at justinepucellawinans.com.
“Smart, witty, and daring, this debut is a fast-paced whodunit-conspiracy story with a strong subplot following Bianca’s journey to better understand where they fit on the gender spectrum.” — Booklist (starred review)
“[With] humor both whip-smart and absurdly campy, Winans portrays Bianca’s gender exploration and timid steps toward bravery… [an] exuberant read.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
A Pop Rocks thriller that fizzles on your tongue and delivers enough cults, birdwatching, and nonbinary crimefighting to make an afternoon disappear in a flash. — Grady Hendrix, New York Times Bestselling author of My Best Friend's Exorcism
Hilarious and heartfelt, Bianca Torre Is Afraid of Everything is an absolute flocking delight of a book. — Marieke Nijkamp, New York Times bestselling author
Winans has created a pulse-pounding mystery full of intrigue, creepy scares, and adorably awkward queer bird enthusiasts. The trifecta! The only thing you should be afraid of is not picking up this book. — Jason June, New York Times best-selling author of Out of the Blue
The cutest, most endearing book with gruesome murder you'll ever read. This book has everything: cults, murder, jiu jitsu, anime, anxiety, gender feels, lesbian sheep, and like, a lot of birds. Come for the stabbing, stay for the gay. — Maggie Tokuda-Hall, author of The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea and Squad
Fans of Only Murders in the Building will delight in this queer mystery that's equal parts twisty and cozy. An affirming exploration of gender, sexuality, and friendship, Bianca's story is laugh-out-loud funny and brimming with charm! — Rosiee Thor, author of Tarnished are the Stars
The perfect blend of a love for birds and a search of self-identity, plus a murder mystery that'll leave you breathless, until you get to the satisfying conclusion. — Naz Kutub, author of The Loophole
“Sardonic and witty.. The true golden moments come from Bianca’s down-to-earth experiences—[such as] their journey through their acceptance of the nonbinary label.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“A suspenseful and satisfying thriller with plenty of heart and humor.” — School Library Journal