Friday, October 16, 2020
Navigating identity can be a thorny journey, especially when you’re a teenager surrounded by folks who you suspect won’t understand or maybe even welcome you. The authors whose novels we’ll learn about in this session offer road maps in the form of characters bravely speaking the truth about identity—even when it’s scary or dangerous to do so. In How It All Blew Up, Arvin Ahmadi introduces readers to Amir Azadi, a queer Muslim Iranian American teen who hesitates to come out to his family—until a joyous journey of discovering gay culture and community abruptly collides with his old life back home. In her debut novel, The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones, Daven McQueen follows a biracial teen, Ethan Harper, as he spends the summer of 1955 with relatives in Alabama—and is compelled to address racism, and define his own Black identity, for the first time. And in debut novelist (and past 1C1S author) Jennifer De Leon’s Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From, Liliana Cruz, the daughter of Central American immigrants, feels pressure to mask her Latina identity when she accepts a spot at a predominantly white suburban Boston high school, compounded when her family faces an immigration crisis. Our host for this session is Rupa Shenoy, a reporter for The World from PRX and host of the PRI podcast Otherhood. GBH is the media sponsor for this session.