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Odd One Out by Nic Stone

Odd One Out (edition 2019)

by Nic Stone (Author)

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1484125,444 (3.53)5
High school juniors and best friends Courtney and Jupe, and new sophomore Rae, explore their sexuality and their budding attractions for one another.
Title:Odd One Out
Authors:Nic Stone (Author)
Info:Ember (2019), Edition: Reprint, 336 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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Odd One Out by Nic Stone



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A love triangle in high school, told in turn by each of the three principle characters.

Clearly, I am not the target demographic for this YA novel about kids who are conflicted about their sexuality. Oh, the teen angst over whom to love. I get that these kids are confused and experimenting and unsure and troubled. But I thought the basic premise was totally unrealistic and the dialogue lacked depth. ( )
  BookConcierge | May 3, 2019 |
The first review is written by a student. The second review is mine.

Reviewed By: Sarah W. (12th grade)
Grade Range: 9th grade and Up
Genre: Young Adult
Literary Merit: Mediocre
Characterization: Good

Courtney Cooper is in love with his best friend, Jupiter. He has been for as long as he can remember, and his only solace is dating the numerous cheerleaders and preppy girls drooling after him, ignoring his feelings. Jupiter Charity-Sanchez is a lesbian and a full-time women's rights activist. She spends her time split between her best friend, two fathers, and her numerous community service creations. Rae Chin is the new girl, and she’s confused. When she first comes into this little town she expects to be an outcast, but then Courtney and Jupiter take her under their wing. In the beginning it’s amazing, Jupiter and Courtney make a space for her where she feared she would never truly fit, but then complications occur. Rae starts having feelings. And not just for one of them, but both! Will this awkward love triangle ruin a decades-long friendship? Read and find out.
When I started this book I was very apprehensive. The characters seemed shallow, and honestly, I was worried I was going to be horrendously offended by the relationship dynamic. While there are definitely some problematic plot points in the book, it isn’t all bad. For example, I really enjoyed the ending of the book. For me to actually say I liked the book I knew there would only be two acceptable outcomes: either they all got together or none of them did. I’m not going to tell you which one happens, but I will say that I was pleased. There was tremendous character growth throughout the novel, and while I don’t particularly care for any of the teenage protagonists, I will admit Stone did a good job allowing them to change as the novel progresses. Take Copper for instance. In the beginning of the book, Cooper was very obnoxious. He was constantly disrespecting Jupiter and making inappropriate sexual comments towards her. I would even go as far as to say he was very sexist and objectified her frequently. Near the end of the book, however, Cooper seems to respect Jupiter a little more. There was a dramatic change in Jupiter's character that I’m not sure how much I enjoyed. Jupiter’s sexuality is very set in stone throughout the novel, and that changes very dramatically near the conclusion. I’m all about showing the fluidity of sexuality and how sometimes labels can be harmful to others, but I believe this change in Jupiter suggests a negative stereotype that lesbians “just need to find the right guy” and magically they are transformed into a more acceptable hetero-flexible version of themselves. In conclusion, I believe that the situation could have been handled much better. The novel overall is not something I would recommend, though it isn’t something I would throw into a bonfire cheering while it burned either. As long as you make a mental effort to not allow the novel to reflect onto real life cultures and values it can be a fun read in between better books.

Recommendations: I do not recommend this book.

Grade Range: 10-12
Genre: YA/Realistic
Literary Merit: Mediocre
Characterization: Good

Courtney (“Coop”) and Jupiter (“Jupe”) have been best friends since they were kids. Coop has had more than just friends feelings for Jupiter for some time, but Jupiter likes girls so he knows that he has no shot. When new girl Rae strikes up a friendship with Jupiter, the twosome becomes a threesome, and, inevitably, someone has to be the odd one out.

Do you like novels about teenage love triangles? If so, this is the book for you! The novel is divided into three parts, and each is told from the first person point of view of one of the three main characters. The first part is from Coop’s point of view, and the reader quickly learns that Coop is sexually attracted to his best friend Jupiter. Here’s a quote from page 1, “She’s sitting at her desk, laptop open, in one of those thin-strapped tank tops - nothing underneath mind you, and she got a good bit more going on up there than most girls our age. She’s also wearing really small shorts, and she’s not small down bottom, either. In the words of her papi, ‘All chichis and culo, that girl…’” Why a father would use those words to describe his teenage daughter is a great question, but more to the point Coop’s male gaze on Jupiter is a constant presence in this part of the book. A few pages later after imploring to cover herself he states, “You don’t wanna put clothes on, you’ll have to deal with me sitting here with a tent in my shorts.” Gross. The second section is from Rae’s point of view, and we find out that she is attracted to both Coop and Jupiter. She and Coop bond over dealing with a shared childhood trauma, and she realizes that she is falling for him. She tells Jupiter about it, and Jupiter pretends to be supportive of her asking him out. Jupiter’s actions in response to this threaten to destroy her friendships with both of them, and she will have to reevaluate her feelings and try to make things right.

Pros: This novel could be validating for teens who are struggling to define their sexuality. It will appeal to readers who enjoy teen “drama”. It shines a positive light on a variety of different family situations and it has a multicultural cast of characters.

Cons: None of the characters are particularly likable, and they didn’t seem realistic. Jupiter seems too good to be true with her many causes and volunteer work, offhandedly organizing community service projects that seem like they would take up most of a mere mortal’s time. Jupiter and Coop’s “friendship” was weird from the very beginning...mostly because the reader is privy to all of Coop’s sexual thoughts about her. The writing was clunky at times. I appreciate that the author tried to give each character a distinct voice, but it felt almost overdone. Coop’s voice is filled with slang and referring to himself in the third person (even inside his own head). Rae is so smart that her thoughts are filled with SAT words: “The way Jupiter Charity-Sanchez is now staring at the poster on her closet door...makes me want to absquatulate into a crevasse somewhere and perish” (163). Finally, Jupiter attempts make things right with Coop by giving a big speech in front of the school GSA group, and as usual sounds like she’s giving a TED talk, “What I’m about to say now in no way diminishes what we’ve talked about in the past, nor does it validate that ‘just a phase’ thing I mentioned earlier. Life is a journey without a map, and as such, we’ll all encounter twists and turns that force us to correct our course or change directions entirely” (289). The novel’s conclusion takes the easy way out by removing one of the characters from the situation. Optional purchase for collections where “teen drama” is popular. Recommended for mature teens due to sexual situations. ( )
  SWONroyal | Jan 10, 2019 |
So, a few of you know that Nic Stone is one of my biggest heroes. And it’s ok to have her as one because I’ve already met her, so there isn’t any of that “never meet your heroes” caution going on.

She had my heart with Dear, Martin, but kind of tore my heart to pieces with Odd One Out.

Even by her own admission, the book is one she wishes she’d had when she was younger and figuring out how and who to love. I wholeheartedly agree with her on that.

The story follows three high schoolers over the course of a year as they wind their way through love, loss, heartache, and friendship. It covers every avenue of orientation, mapping out peaks and valleys, answering all of these questions I had as a teenager but also, some of the questions that still rumble around in my head.

The book is told in three distinct parts which was unique to me. Usually, writers try to switch voices every chapter or even sooner. While I’ve enjoyed that device in the past, the three separate sections for Odd One Out made it that much more powerful.

For those who have not yet read Dear, Martin, you may be surprised and delighted by Odd One Out but for me, it was a confirmation and recommitment. Nic never loses her magic, even for a second, weaving perfectly written narrative in with emotional wonderings and a side of Queen lyrics.

I can not say enough good things about this book but I also feel like I’m about to start gushing and spoiling so I’ll just leave you with a plea to pick up Odd One Out and you can thank me, later. ( )
  iwriteinbooks | Dec 3, 2018 |
This, my friends, is how you do a YA love triangle that doesn't make me want to scream. ( )
  BillieBook | Nov 20, 2018 |
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