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THE BREAKUP LISTS by Adib Khorram Kirkus Star


by Adib Khorram

Pub Date: April 2nd, 2024
ISBN: 9780593616390
Publisher: Dial Books

A stage manager and his sister both develop a crush on the same guy.

Everyone thinks juniors and longtime queer platonic besties Jackson and Bowie should date. But Iranian and white Jackson, who’s deaf, must constantly triage his sister Jasmine’s relationship woes by making breakup lists that extol her exes’ worst qualities. When white, “classically handsome” swimmer Liam auditions for the fall musical, trouble ensues when both Jackson and Jasmine start crushing on him. Jasmine pursues Liam first, making Liam “absolutely, 100 percent off limits.” But Liam keeps tucking in Jackson’s shirt tags. He also starts learning sign language from Bowie, a nonbinary, Black, aromantic, and asexual child of deaf adults. Liam hopes this will help them communicate better, a meaningful action and something Jackson’s family hasn’t put much effort into. What’s a boy to do? This sweet, slow-burn sibling love triangle with an added sprinkling of family drama rivals Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper (2020) in its cuteness and appeal. Countless references show an insider’s knowledge of—and reverence for—high school theater. The strong first-person narration immerses readers in Jackson’s story, and the use of “somethingsomething” effectively conveys times when Jackson, who wears hearing aids and reads lips, misses dialogue. The supporting characters bring additional diversity in race and queer identity.

Love deserves a standing ovation in this multilayered exploration of what it truly means to feel seen.

(Fiction. 14-18)