Haley Hancock has been texting Martin Nathaniel Munroe II on the daily…but which Martin is it?
Born just a few days apart, both Martin N. Munroe IIs are named after their famously wealthy grandfather. Haley is confident she knows which Martin is the good one because the other one broke her friend’s heart in the eighth grade. One of the Martins begins texting her outside of the history class all three share, and over time, both are surprised to find their banter enjoyable and comforting. But, believing her negative opinions of one cousin will hinder their friendship, Haley decides to stop messaging him. In response, Martin proposes a solution: start over with a clean slate as if they were strangers who met on the internet. By connecting only via cellphone, Haley and Martin find it easy to be honest and vulnerable about all aspects of their lives, including family and friends. The two open up to each other about questions of sexual orientation, and Haley also confides in Martin about her generalized anxiety disorder. Told entirely in chat conversations, the potentially perplexing narrative will be understood by readers who are accustomed to communicating online and reading deeply into text messages. The format does not make space for physical descriptions, and most characters are assumed white.
Johnson’s clever debut speaks to Generation Z’s cyberculture by validating online friendships. (Fiction. 12-18)