Ethan woke up his freshman year as a white girl, sophomore year as a black boy, and now junior year as a fat Asian girl named Kim.
Kim's initial self-loathing for her larger self is difficult to take but highlights what can come with being fat: the limp "pretty face" compliments, the unwanted self-presentation advice, acting small to make up for taking up physical space. Kim makes friends with a theater-obsessed white boy—who refers to himself as a “total gay cliché”—who helps her stow her shame and dance freely, which leads to liberation in the rest of her life. When Kim's invited to join an Asian student club, she feels like an imposter because she wasn't raised with traditions that inform the Asian-American kids' lives—a feeling also experienced by children of immigrants whose parents have valued assimilation over identity. The love interest through two books, Audrey, is back, but Kim's relationship with her can't be anything like it had been—or can it? In this third book, it becomes clear that Cooper and Glock-Cooper are writing for the long game, and they've made some revelations that may help answer questions raised by the first two books. The plot is complicated (there’s even a glossary in the back), but Kim's voice and the banter between characters are funny, and they feel real.
The identity and marginalization issues loom large, but instead of being shoehorned into side characters, they're scooped up and taken into a deeper, entertaining, fantastic narrative. (Science fiction. 12-18)