No One Left But You
November 7, 2023
About No One Left But You
A trans teen is swept up in a whirlwind friendship with lethal consequences in this taut YA thriller, for fans of Sadie, K. Ancrum and HBO’s Euphoria.
Newly out trans guy Max is having a hard time in school. Things have been tough since his summer romance, Danny, turned into his bully. This year, his plan is to keep his head down and graduate. All that changes when new It-girl Gloss moves to town. No one understands why perfect, polished Gloss is so interested in an introverted skater kid, but Max blooms in the hothouse of her attention. Caught between romance and obsession, he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her on his side.
Haircuts, makeovers, drugs, parties. It’s all fun and games until someone gets killed at a rager gone terribly wrong. Max refuses to believe that Gloss did it. But if not Gloss, who? Desperate to figure out truth in the wake of tragedy, Max veers dangerously close to being implicated—and his own memories of that awful night are fuzzy.
Both sharp-edged thriller and moving coming-of-age, this gorgeously wrought novel is perfect for readers who want stories with trans characters front-and-center.
I’m going to go ahead and admit that I laughed at some things in this book that I don’t think were meant to be funny. For example, at one point, the main character is making a point that he’s noticing some recovery from previous depression. He says something like, “I’m finally asking myself normal questions, like ‘do I want to do mushrooms in the woods with a girl I might like.” And I don’t want to minimize the shift in his mental state or the joy of noticing a new distance from depressed thoughts.
But also, I couldn’t help laughing at how differently I defined “normal questions” in my own high school experience. It struck me funny.
Interesting comparisons aside, though, Max’s emotional journey through the book really packs a punch. The story travels from him peeling apart his feelings about an ex he’s not over to exploring new feelings for a girl who might be too cool for him to reeling from grief over a sudden loss. Every emotion felt real and raw, drawing me deep into Max’s story.
The cover copy hints that Max grapples with hazy memories of the time of the murder, but the story doesn’t really focus on that much. It’s much more about Max trying desperately to understand why this person died and what the relationship meant to him. Those threads are so well-spun that I rocketed through the book from start to finish.
I think readers who enjoy Caleb Roehrig’s mystery books will love this one.
Recommended for Ages 16 up.
Max is a transgender boy. A minor character is Black. Another character is gay but closeted.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used somewhat frequently.
Kissing between two boys. In one scene, two boys go into a tent to have sex. We know they undress and that one asks the other permission to have sex, and the scene fades to black. In another scene, a group of teens decides to skinny dip at the beach. Some people choose to keep their shirts on.
Kids at school (often boys) bully Max after he comes out as transgender. They misgender him on purpose and shoulder-check him as he walks by. A boy shoves Max against a wall and kisses him hard enough to bruise and split his lip.
References to Max’s mom using his deadname. She misgenders him repeatedly in the couple of scenes where she appears.
Someone dies of a cut throat. One scene shows them dying.
Max smokes pot and drinks alcohol with his friends in multiple scenes. In one scene, he and a girl drink mushroom tea. In another, a girl pushes a pill from her mouth into his.
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